Alone with my thoughts. Alone with the wind rushing by my windshield. Alone with the grinding of rubber on the pavement. Alone with the hum of the engine of my rental car. Alone.
I needed to be alone. I needed the solitude. I needed the time to myself. I needed to show the world that I wasn’t going to be taken apart by my circumstances.
I know that a lot of people were going to be asking about me. Asking “what happened to Ethan?” You know what, let ‘em. I don’t give a damn.
I couldn’t help but think that God was allowing my life to fall apart. From that pit of inhumanity in the desert, to allowing my baby sister to get sideswiped by that...that...
Dammit, this isn’t right. I’m a good guy. I’m a good person who deserves better than what I have. I’m better than my results and the world’s just going to have to accept that.
As I pull up to a red light, I look across at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. For the area, the church was quite ornate. A single spire and steeple extended toward the heavens. Remarkable stained glass windows dot the outside of the church facade.
St. Luke’s will be the site of the fun tomorrow. I know I can’t wait to hear Dr. Duncan say the words “Gina Whitehead was...”
As I notice the sun start to peek behind the horizon, I can’t remember how long I’ve been driving. It’s irrelevant at this point because I’ve spent the better part of the last week inside transportation of some sort.
But something grabbed me. Something in my soul grabbed me.
I look over at my right and I see the lake. George Palmer Lake, all 45 thousand acres of her. The setting sun is beaming off the water.
I make a right turn and go down to the water’s edge. I then get out and sit down on the bank. The water laps at my feet and I feel a surge of something I couldn’t explain.
“You really are an asshole, you know that?” I said out loud. I was pretty sure I was alone so that I could have an abrupt conversation with God...or at least what I thought He still was. Hell, I was probably about to just talk out loud and look like a total fool doing so. But I’m so far past the point of giving a flying damn that I’m just going to go with it.
“I’m serious, you’re an asshole. You’re an asshole who’s trying to get me to stop believing. Well you know what asshole, it’s working. What kind of loving God would leave me to die in the middle of the desert? To say nothing of what you did to Amir! You’re just a thug! I’m doing my best down here and you’re trying to kill everything and everyone I love!”
My blood was boiling. My heart was pounding. This was a long time coming.
“What the hell was Gina? You’re killing me! Hell, I wish you would! I feel like I’m being used as a pawn in your sick little game. What’s this loving God I was told about all during my childhood - Jesus loves me and all this bullshit! Gina was getting her life together! Yeah she made mistakes - we all do you smartass! But you cut her down just when she’s getting her shit together? Seriously, man! You’re just a bully. You’re that kid in the playground who grabs your wrist and makes you smack yourself in the face. ‘Why are you hitting yourself?’”
I must’ve gone on for 15-20 minutes. I don’t even remember half of what I said because it all became a blur. But I was so worked up that I couldn’t see straight. I had to close strong though.
“Go fuck yourself. I’m done with you.”
Man I felt such a relief getting through with that. None of it was planned but it all came from the heart.
The strangest thing just happened. Through my anger, my rage, and my tears I look on the ground and see something that totally took my breath away.
It was a tiny brown and black bunny rabbit. He wasn’t bothering me. He was just sitting on his back legs surveying his territory. Not minding anyone.
I made eye contact with him and that spooked him away.
And that wasn’t the most breathtaking thing that happened here.
A frog started to croak. Of course I’m by a body of water where frogs like to live so I didn’t think anything of it.
But another one started up.
And so forth until there must’ve been 50-100 frogs all going at once. The damndest thing about that was...it felt like they were applauding me.
Why? What did I do? I just cursed God so hard and fast that I’m sure I secured my spot in eternal damnation. But the way it felt, I don’t think it was a bad thing what I did.
It was remarkably freeing and liberating. I should curse Him out more often. I’m sure He’s cutting me some slack because of circumstances.
“There you are!”
I look behind me and see Jill and dad making time over to where I am.
“God, son. We’ve been worried sick about you!” Dad said.
“Are you alright?” Jill asks.
All I could do was pull both of them into a big hug.
“C’mon, let’s take you home,” Dad said.
“What about my...”
Jill dutifully holds her hand out. Instinctively I knew to hand her the keys to my rental car.