(another short story about god) by Lily Nobel
Day broke late and was put back together early and the inner walls of the eggshell are white— no, pearlescent— no, gray. Doesn’t matter: the girl driving the car can barely see the sky through the mist, barely see the mist through the rain. She’s squinting hard, nose bunched up far enough that the top of her wire glasses frames rub against her eyebrows and annoy her. Her socks are wet and her hair is brown, her nails fresh bitten so each edge is pulpy. In her shoes, her toes curl all the way up. She bares her teeth. Her knuckles grip white on the wheel.
The car crashes through another puddle, water flaring up in twin angel wings alongside the vehicle, like it’s preparing for take off. The girl closes her eyes for just a moment. As she opens them, a woman leaps in front of her car. All in white, her delicate body arcs. She rips the steering wheel to the side like one side of the Red Sea washing away from Moses. Her vision goes black even before she hits the tree.
Day broke late and was put back together early and the inner walls of the eggshell are white— no, pearlescent— no, gray. Kathy is taking the elevator down from the bank building for what her boss has decided will be the last time. She bought new shoes for this job, and she looks down at them now. The elevator stutters and the plant from her desk trips off of the stack of folders she carries. It plummets and the terracotta shatters on contact with the scuffed tile. She leaves it there when she leaves the elevator. A woman she doesn’t recognize steps on to the platform and around the dirt. She smiles, polite and guarded, at Kathy.
“Going up?” The elevator asks in its automated voice.
The girl with the brown hair just bought a new car. She just got a new girlfriend, too, and bought from a shop online a knit dress with sleeves that will now never fall past her wrists, but would’ve. She has a little brother named Michael, a cousin named Kev, a cat named Elsa after the princess. In the hospital, the doctors will stand over her broken body. One will think she looks a little bit like Natalie Portman.
On the street, firefighters will dig through the crumpled shell of her car to find her phone, her wallet, her emergency contacts. The rain has started to turn to snow, which smothers away the young roar of the fire from the engine. The firefighters never even need to unroll their hose. The road is too empty to warrant a blockade, and besides— by this time of night, most everyone is home in houses and apartments, windows glowing sure and endless against the dark.
Day broke late and was put back together early and the inner walls of the eggshell are white— no, pearlescent— no, gray. A woman leaps in front of a car and for her millisecond of decision, then milliseconds of flight, she becomes God. She pinches the flame of the candle. She turns the light.
The day is quiet. It’s raining. God jumps in front of a car. This is probably the only universe where she does. But here, the record player trips in its grooves. God does it again, and again, and again. No one is going up.