The air was still with silence as we muttered hellos and slipped off our shoes. The TV was paused in the middle of a Star Trek episode, Data frozen in mid-sentence, a look of mild surprise on his face. The house smelled of cat shit and kibbles.
I followed them past walls decorated with Arabic quotes into a messy bedroom. Crushed cans of Tiger and Guinness littered the floor, someone’s half-eaten plate of dinner on the bed. I settled at the dining table when there was no where else to look.
After dinner she poured sparkling grape juice into ceramic and glass cups. There were big ones and small ones. One said “Best Father in the World”. I wasn’t sure which glass to take without appearing obnoxious though it was only juice but the thing I remember most clearly in the aftermath was the cup I eventually carried to the room. It was black with a comfortable handle. I held it in my hand for the most of the night.
I like springy mattresses. They remind me of dingy motels, the thin walls and screaming sex from next door. I test the bed a few times to make sure it lived up to my cheap-mindedness. The room smells of old books and carefully documented religion. Someone tosses me Dostoevsky. I pronounce it Doss-tov-sky. Who is he? I am halfway through the summary, en route to the first page when I have a talk with myself.
Me: This book is huge.
Me: How can anyone find so many things to say?
Me: Am I supposed to say something intelligent about this guy?
I: Imagine you’re having a conversation with God.
He rolls his own cigarettes stuffed neatly with store-bought tobacco and lights it himself. This is probably what they meant in religion class when they told us about being hardworking and self-sufficient. About being God-like. He cracks a joke about X-rated comic books. This explains a few things, cigarettes and all:
1. God is capable of sin.
2. God has a sense of humour.
3. Religion is a fantasy.
4. This is a simulated reality.
“Imaginal, that’s the word. It’s not imaginary. It’s a simulated reality that means something,” he says.
God rolls another cigarette.
I am interviewed although I don’t remember half the answers I give. They come as quick like vodka shots and I am drunk on a simple “What is” question. She writes fast, her letters are circular and they float off the lines in her book. She writes in cursive. As a child I used to think the most intelligent people write in cursive because only the truly intelligent are capable of beauty. I bounce on the bed and steal a few looks off the dirty comic.
God passes cigarettes around.
We are talking about meditation. About thinking about thinking about thinking, counting steps and breaths, chanting vowels. We’re talking about purpose and reason and the reasons for. Funny how ever since that was asked it’s been deemed unnecessary to justify any given action. If you take people out of space and time, the universe will collapse upon itself. If you take people out of space, time and religion, God will collapse upon himself.
No Buddha, no Jesus, no nihilism, no rules, no moralities, no obligations. It’s really quite simple. You pop a pill and you’re in heaven.