55. Sent by God

I was not sent by God to help you.

It was like this: The first time we met, you became convinced that I was sent by God to help you. This was your idea, and not my fault. I just happened to accidentally say the exact things you needed to hear, at a time when you were quite receptive to earnestness. What can I say? I’m a relatively nice person with a handy repertoire of earnestness. Our numbers just came up that night.

We parted. Inspired, you wrote me a letter explaining how much our chance meeting meant to you. You explained your theory that I was sent by God to help you. I was not prepared for such a letter, and I fled like a pheasant from the jaws of the hound. This came as no surprise to God. I don’t really know how to describe what you went through as a result of my actions, but the phrase “high and dry” does suggest itself. Forget your own humiliation for a moment and savor the rotting-meat flavor of mine.

Where was your knight in shining earnestness? You sent me a post-card asking, and received no response save for the beating of wings and a speck disappearing behind some trees. I can’t really apologize with any expectation of forgiveness. I can’t really apologize because it doesn’t seem fair to make the gesture.

In his cloud, God chuckles.

We met a year later, in the same place. You were still heart-pressingly beautiful, and sad like a concrete goose. We got a chance to talk, and I said the most horrible things imaginable. What can I say? I’m a relatively nice person with a handy repertoire of earnestness. It just happened to be the exactly wrong kind of earnestness that night. I could smell your let-down like ozone, and the laughter of God buzzed around us like the mosquitoes.

Make no mistake: The mosquitoes were fucking annoying.

We disappeared to our respective haunts, never to cross paths again. I sometimes wonder what became of you, with your mass of curly, dark-brown hair and liquid midnight eyes. I did not save you. Were you ever saved? Or did you retreat and disappear? Or did you simply cease to be a teenager, and things got better as a natural consequence? God knows. As for me, the squishy aspects of my life turned into a sort of train wreck, and my failures in your case are something I’ve only recently started to get over.

Recovery began with the realization that God was never there.

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