Archive | December, 2010

God's Teeth

3 Dec

Miriam had always believed in God. His presence in her life had been a fact since she was a small child barely able to speak. She remembered looking up from her crib – she could not have been more than a year old – and seeing his face shimmering in front of her as he looked down and smiled, showing his magnificent teeth. She’d made the mistake of telling a friend about it once in high school, and the girl had laughed at her, saying it was her dad or her uncle or her big brother. She said No, it was God, and her friend asked how she would know the difference when she was only a baby.

“I just knew,” she said. “I knew my father’s face, and my uncle’s face and my brother’s face, and this was not it. This was bright and . . . what’s the word? . . . luminous, self-luminous, luminescent, illuminating. It made its own light, his face, and the smile was so big I was part of it, like it covered me, and I reached up –”

“This is pretty detailed for a baby’s dream,” the friend said.

They had been sitting on the steps outside school during lunch. Miriam was wearing a summer dress with roses on it, and her friend Emily was wearing blue jeans and a pink blouse. Miriam’s memories always included what people were wearing. It was a visual cue, like a smell or a sound that came attached.

“It wasn’t a dream, I told you. It was late at night, like the middle of the night, and it was just the two of us in the little room where my crib was. Me and God.”

“There’s Joe,” Emily said, dropping the subject when the school’s star quarterback walked by with his group of friends. All very popular, all beyond the grasp of girls like Miriam and Emily.

Miriam sighed, grabbed her books and headed down the steps. Emily was clearly not interested in her personal encounter with God. It was the last time she ever told anyone about it.

Now Miriam was a grown woman with a husband, Hal (not Henry, just Hal), and two sons, Bobby and Hal Jr. Thirty-six years had passed by like a breeze, here and gone, but she still remembered that moment in her crib, that ecstasy of looking up and knowing she was not alone in the universe. It may seem self-evident that we are not alone, what with several billion humans shuffling around the planet, but there is a distance between people that can never be fully bridged. Making love could come close, as could having a baby wriggle its way out of a mother’s womb. Holding a son when he’d hurt himself falling from a bicycle, or sitting beside a mother’s bed as she took in her last few breaths. But always there is some small distance. Not so when Miriam had seen God. There was no distance at all. She was part of him, like one of his thoughts, and she knew he had never forgotten her.

Until now.

Continue reading

God’s Teeth

3 Dec

Miriam had always believed in God. His presence in her life had been a fact since she was a small child barely able to speak. She remembered looking up from her crib – she could not have been more than a year old – and seeing his face shimmering in front of her as he looked down and smiled, showing his magnificent teeth. She’d made the mistake of telling a friend about it once in high school, and the girl had laughed at her, saying it was her dad or her uncle or her big brother. She said No, it was God, and her friend asked how she would know the difference when she was only a baby.

“I just knew,” she said. “I knew my father’s face, and my uncle’s face and my brother’s face, and this was not it. This was bright and . . . what’s the word? . . . luminous, self-luminous, luminescent, illuminating. It made its own light, his face, and the smile was so big I was part of it, like it covered me, and I reached up –”

“This is pretty detailed for a baby’s dream,” the friend said.

They had been sitting on the steps outside school during lunch. Miriam was wearing a summer dress with roses on it, and her friend Emily was wearing blue jeans and a pink blouse. Miriam’s memories always included what people were wearing. It was a visual cue, like a smell or a sound that came attached.

“It wasn’t a dream, I told you. It was late at night, like the middle of the night, and it was just the two of us in the little room where my crib was. Me and God.”

“There’s Joe,” Emily said, dropping the subject when the school’s star quarterback walked by with his group of friends. All very popular, all beyond the grasp of girls like Miriam and Emily.

Miriam sighed, grabbed her books and headed down the steps. Emily was clearly not interested in her personal encounter with God. It was the last time she ever told anyone about it.

Now Miriam was a grown woman with a husband, Hal (not Henry, just Hal), and two sons, Bobby and Hal Jr. Thirty-six years had passed by like a breeze, here and gone, but she still remembered that moment in her crib, that ecstasy of looking up and knowing she was not alone in the universe. It may seem self-evident that we are not alone, what with several billion humans shuffling around the planet, but there is a distance between people that can never be fully bridged. Making love could come close, as could having a baby wriggle its way out of a mother’s womb. Holding a son when he’d hurt himself falling from a bicycle, or sitting beside a mother’s bed as she took in her last few breaths. But always there is some small distance. Not so when Miriam had seen God. There was no distance at all. She was part of him, like one of his thoughts, and she knew he had never forgotten her.

Until now.

Continue reading

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