This little piece came about following a picture prompt in my writing group. I can’t find a source for the modified picture, sadly, so had to settle for a photo of the original from Wikipedia (here’s hoping nowhere blocks it for the dingly-danglies). The modifed version showed both God and Man with their hands on their chins, both wearing face masks. I went off on a bit of a weird tangent (for me) and wasn’t sure if anyone would like it. They did, though, and it prompted some interesting responses – so I thought I’d post it up here.
I cannot say at what point we stopped reaching our hands out to touch the face of God and withdrew to examine his face. There came a turning point in our journey as a species. We became the wrong kind of curious – introspective, suspicious of the world beyond – rather than clinging to the childlike curiosity that had seen us strive for so long. And so our outstretched hand drew back to rest upon our chin, and we pondered, and perhaps God pondered too.
I have not heard from God. He does not speak to me. I don’t believe he ever has, no matter how much of my past I built upon it.
Ironically, I did not doubt the divine until the end of days.
It began with a whisper. As was the way of those times, we were apart, the pillars of humanity standing lonely on individual islands, supporting the roof of our crumbling achievements. We each heard of the others, from time to time. Long ago, we had spoken across the gulfs between us, but developments in technology reduced the need for such interaction and soon we were a silent people. We plugged our souls into the purposes of our existence, believing them to further some part of a wider plan, and we listened to those tales that came to us. And then the whisper, the last tale came, a dull report on a dreary day, and there was nothing.
We breathed into that silence, and it became all that we were. We became I. I became a meaningless shred of sound in a universe bordered by four cold walls and the invisible beyond. Day by dreadful, unmeasurable day, the silence filled with mind-made screams, the hours slipped and warped and all semblance of reality faded.
In that void, I searched for God, and I found nothing, because I could not find myself.
So it was that when our work became meaningless and broken, when our brains became filled almost to the brim with madness, we broke the rule that had cast us apart. We each removed ourselves from our purpose and stood on legs unfit to stand. We reached our hands out, not for the face of God, but for the doors to our own realities. And we stepped out, and we saw that there were no islands. We were not apart. We were not alone.
I remember that day when we stood blinking in the light of a star we could not remember. We knew not our own faces, nor the faces of the others, and there were so few of us left, so many closed doors, so much decay and inhuman growth creeping over the surface of the world we forgot that we wept. We wept, and we crossed the forbidden boundary between souls to weep in each other’s arms.
I remember that I turned my face to the sky to seek out His face, and was blinded. I did not doubt that there may be a God up there, but he was not reaching down to take our hand in his, He had withdrawn his own, and it rested upon his chin, and he was watching what his surviving children would make of the last of their days.
I cannot say at what point we stopped reaching, but I remember the moment the world was naught but sand slipping between our fingers.