September 1, 2014
God Is Dead
Posted on Jan 11, 2012
By Mr. Fish
“Because he’s not Batman,” I said, cupping my hands in front of the heating vents, thankful for all the hot air. “Besides, I don’t even think he knew that I fell in. He was practically on this side of the river by the time I stepped onto the ice.” We were on the Belmont Hills side of the river and her window was rolled down and she was calling God every half block or so but nobody was answering her.
“Why weren’t you holding his fucking leash, Dwayne?” she wanted to know, suddenly outraged.
“I told you!” I said. “He pulled the fucking thing out of my hand when he went after the geese!” My nose started to bleed again and I wiped it with the back of my hand. “I’m not worried,” I said, thinking about the moment when I jumped into the jagged inky hole that God disappeared into maybe 10 feet from the raised riverbank without making a splash. I thought about how the temperature cut me wide open with a pain as true as fire and how the frozen current immediately tried to push me sideways and drag me under the ice and carry me into deeper water. “Our address is on his collar,” I said. “Somebody will find him.” Sawyer didn’t say anything. “He’ll be back,” I said, “you’ll see.”
“God!” she hollered out the window.
I thought about how long I stood at the water’s edge on the Manayunk side of the river unable to breath with something like a bell going off inside my nervous system. I thought about God’s dead body being carried silently along under the ice and I wondered if his heart was broken when he drowned and if he knew what was happening to him. I wondered if the water burned into his lungs and he knew that his life was over, if anybody ever knows for sure. I wondered if he was sad to go without me letting him smell my shirt for the very last time or having me rub his head while his brain exploded into seizures. I wondered if he yelped in the dark under the water for me to know where he was. I knew where he was.
“And you’re sure he made it all the way to the other side?” asked Sawyer.
“The other side?” I said.
“Into Belmont Hills,” she said. “You said you think he made it into Belmont Hills.”
“Oh, yeah,” I said. “I doubt that he tried to double back across the ice. I stood there long enough to see the snow turn to rain and no animal is dumb enough to walk across a frozen river in the rain, especially a dog. Oh, look,” I said, pointing at the sky above the trees. “Canadian geese.”
We didn’t even have enough time to skid. The cat was orange and wore a sparkly collar and we felt it get crushed under our tires, the vibration of the slaughter shuttering up through the floorboards and into the soles of our shoes like voodoo. Sawyer pulled over and let her forehead fall against the steering wheel. She wanted to get out of the car and walk back to see if the cat was dead. I told her that it was dead. I told her that she shouldn’t feel bad, saying that she couldn’t have done anything about stopping. I told her that it was an accident. I told her that we should go home now. She said that she wanted to go clear the cat off the road. I asked her why.
“What if the cat’s family finds her body splattered across the road?” she asked.
“Then they should be thankful that they will never have to wonder what happened to her,” I said. Sawyer turned and looked at me with tears running down her cheeks. “They will be thankful,” I told her. She rolled up her window and we went home, feeling strangely like saviors, having delivered the agony of truth to the family of a cat. Both Gods were dead now, which they’d be forever and ever, and with so much sadness rushing through my chest all at once I felt the wishbone inside my breast finally snap in half, reminding me of how lucky I was. After all, besides getting to keep both pieces, I got to feel the pain.
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