Jane received an early morning phone call from God the day after she arrived. She was still jetlagged and barely knew where she was, but she recognized God's voice right away. A jolt went through her and she was transported back into a distant past, a long forgotten time in her life when she was still naïve and full of expectations. Why call her now, after all these years? Was he trying to correct the rotten way he had broken up with her? Not only did he break up, he gave her no warning of any kind. One day he was there, holding her hand, making her feel accepted and safe, the next day he had disappeared, leaving her to wonder if he had just left or dumped her for someone else?
A while ago he had sent her old photographs of them together, one in a café, another one on the beach and some of them rock climbing together in the Dordogne, when God had sprained his ankle. Jane had told him to wear hiking boots instead of his leather sandals, but God was stubborn. They had to go back to the valley, God on a mule because he couldn’t walk, Jane walking beside him, hopping from rock to rock like a mountain goat because she wanted to impress him. She knew that that was the end of their vacation.
They were inseparable, you see. Jane was simply unable to function without him. Friends called them 'the Siamese twins', although she was definitely the lesser part of the entity. How was it possible to want someone so much? To need someone so badly that all she wanted was to merge with him, disappear and let go of her own separateness. When they were together, she felt like she had returned to the womb, a wall had been erected around them, keeping them protected from harm, from life itself.
She remembered the way he walked, with such confidence, knowing that people would make way for him wherever he went. After all, he was so tall and good looking. He took all the limelight, but some of it rubbed off on her and she took pleasure in the thought that everyone envied her, his girlfriend, walking beside him. There was enough bliss in that to fill the rest of her life. Or so she thought.
Seeing those old photographs and the small note in the familiar handwriting, only made her want to forget that she remembered so much. It wasn't that she was still stuck on him, although she often dreamt that they were back together. In her dreams he would play the flute, Bach's sonata in C major with the same heavenly style as Jean Pierre Rampal on the records they used to listen to in her small Chelsea apartment. Jane loved to watch him play. The concentration on his face, him and his music transported to a place that she could only admire from afar. She never listened to Bach any more, it brought back too many memories.
God said it might be fun to visit some of the old places together. Jane tried to sound self-confident, as if he was one of the many people she had to fit into her busy schedule on this brief visit, but her legs felt like marshmallow and she had to sit down as she listened to his voice. It had not lost any of its power. At that moment, the decades she had lived without him disappeared, as if they had never existed. She was at his mercy once again. Jane agreed to meet him the next day near Knightsbridge, in a pub where they frequently hung out together.
She spotted him right away, sitting at a table, drinking a glass of Guinness. His long beard had turned grey but his eyes had the same over-confident, entitled look. A young girl, pretending to be absorbed in a book, was casting sideways glances at him, stirring in Jane old feelings of jealousy and insecurity that she thought she had lost a long time ago.
As she approached him, his sandaled foot reached out from under his long robe and pushed the chair next to his in her direction. 'Have a seat, girl', he said, in his typical cockney accent. Jane kept silent, guarded. 'How was your trip?'
'You cannot fool me any more' she said. 'You are a fake. I only agreed to meet with you out of respect for the past. It's all forgiven and forgotten, so lay off on the charm, ok?'
'A bit snappy, are we? What about that girl over there?' he said. 'I could make her come over and lick my sandals, just to prove a point.'
'She is young, impressionable. It wouldn't prove a thing. Give her some time and she will let you slip through her fingers like sand.’
He laughed, bent down to reach for his briefcase and pulled out a notebook. Jane couldn’t believe it, he was still keeping tabs on her?! Checking off her bad behavior? How many times had she heard him say: 'That one goes in the 'hell' column, that one goes in the 'purgatory' column…' Rarely did Jane do anything that deserved to go in the 'you will go to heaven' column.
'Do you ever keep tabs on your own actions?' she asked sarcastically. 'You are not exactly the model of good behavior. All the times that I called you when I needed you. You never even bothered to call me back.'
'I told you many times, I turn off my cell when I am in a board meeting. It's a security hazard. Look at what happened to Jesus when Judas called him and snitched on him. '
'You could have called back….' Jane muttered feebly.
God adroitly changed the subject. 'How's life in the fast American lane?'
'I wouldn't know, I am retired.'
'Oh, how human time flies, I cannot keep track of it. Does that mean you are preparing for your entrance exam to my kingdom?'
'I am not taking any bloody entrance exam. I don't believe in heaven, you, or hell any more. I know all about your Ponzi scheme. One of these days people are going to be on to you, it’s only a matter of time.'
Jane could see God flinch. She had punctured his thick self-confidence. 'Well, here is my card, just in case you change your mind. I have a new phone number.' God said.
Jane empathized with him. She knew how it felt when disappointment makes someone want to deny your very existence. Marissa, her 16 year old daughter was living proof of that. But this was different. Here was a man who had abused his power over her. He had been deceiving, manipulative, seductive, narcissistic.. There weren't enough negative words in her vocabulary to describe him.
'I have to beat traffic' God said as he stood up. His tall frame was still impressive and as Jane looked up at him she felt a tinge of regret. Regret for a time in her life when she was still certain of everything. When she did not question who she was because she was God's girlfriend. That made her perfect. But she knew now that perfection doesn’t exist, that God had invented the concept to lure her into his web.
This was the last time God would see Jane. Did she imagine it, or were his eyes getting misty? That would be a first. He said: 'Well, girl, have a nice life. Give me a call when you are in town again. You know where to find me.’
As he walked by the young girl’s table, he winked at her and smiled. Jane knew she had done the right thing. She was free.
Madeleine Kando's Blog
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