Part Three – Questions
The Fathers - In Heaven
"We did it!"
The three sat at a small boulevard table, its white marble top held up by spiraling wire legs. The chairs, with small round seats and smaller, round backs, were also supported by wire legs.
They raised their glasses high, looked each other in the eye, triumphantly, then clinked the glasses together over the ta- ble. Small drops of wine fell to the marble and beaded on its surface.
The three looked surprisingly dissimilar. Yahweh in his white robe, sandalled feet and full, white beard cascading onto his chest. Adam, barefooted, with a loincloth, frizzled, graying hair, a blacker, wilder beard and sun-darkened skin. Nicholas in his breeches, knee stockings, embroidered waistcoat, linen shirt, collarless coat, buckled shoes and clean shaven.
Each took a sip, then another, then all three glasses were placed on the table. The three looked at each other, then away, across the white cloudiness of Heaven.
Yahweh broke the silence first.
"If we've won, how come I'm not happier?"
Adam and Nicholas looked at him, peeved for bringing up the sensitive subject, then they looked at each other.
"Nice day, eh Adam?"
"Why, yes, Nicholas, very nice indeed. Of course, they're always nice up here. Every day's a holiday."
"And nice down there, too, I suppose?" asked Nicholas, looking at Yahweh.
"They are reaping what they’ve sown." he replied testily.
Adam began tapping the marble with an index finger.
"Must you?" asked Nicholas.
Adam stopped, looked at him petulantly, then stared away again.
Yahweh began tapping a foot.
"Please!" cried Adam and Nicholas together.
"Sorry," replied Yahweh sheepishly. "I forgot."
Each looked away again. A long pause.
"Nice day," said Nicholas.
Disgruntled, Yahweh and Adam both glared at him.
"All right, all right," replied Nicholas. "Let's admit it. We're in the doghouse even it it's a heavenly one. Everything went according to plan. So what went wrong? Why is no one speaking to us?"
"More to the point," said Adam, "Why are our wives not speaking to us?"
"Women," spat Yahweh.
"Well, you made them!" said Nicholas.
"That doesn't mean I understand them," replied Yahweh. "Besides," he added in a lower tone of voice, "I never wanted to say this, but no one made Gaia. She was just there."
"You never told us that," said Adam.
"I just said it," snapped Yahweh. "She was already there. So what are you going to do? You can't ignore her. She came with the territory. And now she blames me for mucking everything up. I told her I went right by the Book which, I reminded her, I wrote. She just looked at me in disgust."
"Tell me about it," said Nicholas. "Erdmuthe cursed me on her deathbed. Our son was already dead. Still, Benigna had children so there were others to follow after us. But I can't forget Christian, and I can't forget Erdmuthe. She said I killed them both. Well, I lived with them and I watched them die. And part of me went with them."
"Let me tell you my story," said Adam. "Eve acts like I'm a lump of clay, and a dumb lump at that. 'They're your kids,' she says. 'We all came from you.' Don't blame me, I reply. Talk to the big boy."
Nicholas and Adam both stare at Yahweh.
"Another drink?" he asked quickly, raising his glass. Under their withering stares the glass slowly descended, hitting the table with a clink.
"All right, all right," he said. "Something went wrong. I admit it. Something is wrong. But what can be done about it? How could we snatch defeat from the jaws of triumph?"
"Who knows?" asked Nicholas and Adam together.
"On the other hand," admitted Yahweh, "Gaia thinks I don't feel for Satan, that I don't love him, that I punished him coldly, cruelly, without remorse, without love or care."
The other two looked at him.
"How could I tell her," he said, "How could I tell her that, even now, even here, I hear his screams, his cries, and how they tear me apart? Gentlemen, I cannot rest, yet I acted correctly, properly . . ."
"Here, here!" agreed Adam and Nicholas.
"But his punishment is a wound that just won't heal. I loved him . . . I love him . . . so much. I gave him every opportunity. I wanted him to follow me, to take over from me, to lead with Jesus.”
"Here, here!" agreed Adam and Nicholas.
"But nothing I said or did made any difference. 'I want it all and I want it now!' That was his response. 'Not yet and not all,' I replied. 'You must prove yourself. Act responsibly.' 'No!' he shouted. 'I'll destroy you first!'
"And what could I do?" asked Yahweh. "Could I let him destroy all we'd created? No, I told myself, that is not right. So I punished him. He didn't learn so I punished him again. And it just went on and on as though it'd never end. Whatever I offered, he rejected and wanted more. He was not like Jesus, complacent, accepting. He always questioned me, like an adversary, testing me, his father!
"No, I'd had enough. It could not be allowed to continue. The very foundations were cracking. I gave him a final choice. There would not be another. And once again he flew into battle, to destroy the Holy City. I could not allow that to happen. So he is where he is. But I am also there with him, in that burning lake I created, and we burn together. And I have no answer for why it happened or for what could have been and isn't. Everything was done the way it had to be done and yet, here we are. Half of me in pain, half of me at peace. Gentlemen," he said, "Tell me what to do."
The three of them looked at each other.
"Kids," said Adam, and their lips smiled but not their eyes.