Friday Night Story


The pastor at the church where I grew up called me a heretic. The local diocese had me ex-communicated, which seems a bit much, since I was never Catholic. One of the Baptists from across the river sat outside my work with a rifle, but his congregation's prayers weren't answered, because his bullet only lodged in my lung, rather than "exploding the bile pumping in my black heart through my back“ (excerpted directly from their pastor’s sermon the previous Sunday).

On the day I went to the airport my lawn was filled with protestors waving signs that declared no authority for non-Biblical revelations, while others babbled at me in unearthly tongues. Pastor Smith broke through the crowd and laid a hand on my shoulder. “There are no answers to your questions here, and it is folly to ask them.” I tightened the strap on my back, and answered. “I wasn’t built for blind obedience.” “Faith,” he said, soft, but stern, “it’s faith.”

The mountain was at the edge of the desert. It wasn’t like climbing Everest or K2, and I decided against hiring a guide. The trip up the face was slow going, but as the air got thinner my water reserves got lighter. I was feeling faint when I reached the summit, and laid on the cooling rock. The stars had come out and the sky line was painted royal blue.

The wind licked my salty face and the sand scratched my neck. I closed my eyes and slept. When I woke the sky was turning pink, and the moisture in the air settled in my lungs, and I felt refreshed. I rose to my feet, and drank. It seemed like the wind spoke to me, and I felt compelled to ask the question I’d traveled so far for: why.

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