hand

the god who isn’t

We were in the garden when she began to cry, fat tears mixing with raindrops that paint the skin at her knuckles as she wiped them away.

I’m sorry, darling, I said.

I whisper the words softly, brush them lightly against her ear in hopes that they might stick this time.

The wind picks up and I ask her to dance, take her hand in mine and it’s Summer somewhere, I know it is but the air here is frigid. It’s darker in the shadows and we’re struggling against the constant push and pull.

Paint me a happier ending, she says as we sway.

I string together a chain of daisies and place them on her head, count every freckle as the wind tangles her hair.

Close your eyes, I tell her. Don’t open them until I say go.

It’s in these moments that I feel most at ease. I swirl pinks and oranges along the sky and sneak glances as I paint the sun in the same shade as her hair.

And go. Open.

It’s in her eyes; the starlight I’ve always wanted to transfer to canvas or tree trunk – yes rich brown like the stories it tells when we’re not listening. It is a fair weather visitor and hardly brings happiness alongside it.

Better?

Yes.

It’s a lie, we both know it.

You cannot hide it all from me, she says with hands clasping together tightly until the knuckles turn white.

The sky darkens and a peal of thunder pierces the air. 

Chestnut brown eyes fill with tears and this time she lets them fall.

You could save them. You call them yours yet you stand here and paint murals but ignore the color red. You watch as it spills onto floors and reflects in blood red roses that they’ll never live to see. You see them and you do nothing. What kind of god are you?

The words sink in but I do not feel them, not fully.

What would you have me do?, I question.

Tell me.

I should not have to tell you, she cries as she curls her arms about herself and sobs.

Muffled words spill out, one after the other. Do you not see them? I hear them night and day. They’re dying. These flawed but beautiful beings that you shaped like clay, that you speak of so highly – they’re killing one another. They’re turning hate into this, she continued as she gestured toward the sky.

It had grown pitch black around us by then and if not for the sliver of a moon I wouldn’t be able to see even the slightest hint of her.

This is what you have created; what your book has written. Hate. Can you not feel it in the air?, she began once more with voice hoarse.

You call yourself benevolent as you watch them suffer. You teach them the meaning of fear but you do not even know how to define love yet despite this they have learned. Even still, love and hate are two sides of the same coin and they know this. They use both against one another. Can you not save them?

I cannot listen to her when she’s hysterical like this.

I leave her waiting and hollow as the darkness overtakes us both.

I am not the deity that they needed, I am not what my own creations praise me as. I am the sin that was born of willful ignorance and an ancient book.

I cannot save them if I do not exist.

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