There's a low hum in the back of my mind, that insistent electrical droning you feel when you've spent entirely too much time watching TV, or sitting on the computer. The silence always amplifies it, emphasizes the artificial nature of the company you keep.
Only this time, no one's left the TV set on, or forgotten to power down their system. I stand before the empty pews, wiping a film of rust red dust from the pulpit and wonder exactly what it is that I can say. I wonder if I'm the only one who ever gave a eulogy for everything that ever lived, and the only answer that makes sense is no. Everyone who ever stood here before me had the same reason for doing so, and for so very many of them it must have seemed the end of the world.
It is the end of the world.
That vacuum, that gnawing, aching reminder that something is no longer where it should be. And still, nothing adequate comes to mind. Those who came before me, their loss is something I will never understand, just as mine is something they would not understand. How can you possible explain something that defies explanation?
The hand of God made manifest?
Yes Lisa, there is a God. And he is a wrathful, vengeful one.
Maybe the combined sins of Middle America's trailer parks proved just a little too much for the big guy. Maybe it just happened because it needed to happen. I could spend the rest of my life, whatever that might be worth, trying to fathom the reasons for what took place, and the only thing I will ever really understand is that I will never understand.
So here I am. What do I say?
That I should have spent less time watching Springer and more time appreciating what was around me? That I should have known what I had, and spent less time wishing for what I hadn't? That I should have worn more sunscreen for the apocalypse?
A person like me could go mad contemplating everything that wasn't. I could probably spend the rest of my life wondering why I forgot to watch the last episode of the Simpsons that anyone would ever have the chance to see. I could easily spend as much time wondering why I never said hello to the woman who sat next to me on the bus who wore the faint scent of lilac and so very much black.
I look over my shoulder, and Jesus is crying. Rot runs under his eyes, twin little rivers. I run my finger beneath the lids.
It's not that red.
So here I am, I stand before the empty pews, the son of God's tears between my thumb and forefinger. You would think I would have a captive audience, but when the missiles landed, there were few who sought the solace of the Church. Maybe it was the Rapture, and I was simply left behind. You would think if that were the case, I would have a little more company. Or maybe it is a hell on earth. Maybe the rest of the world is waiting for me to join them.
Maybe I am just not supposed to know.
What do I say, now that I am here? Why did I come here to begin with?
Perhaps I simply do not want to forget. Perhaps I do not wish to get over it. And perhaps I just wish to remind the empty world of what exactly it has lost.