What Ezra couldn’t wrap his wits around was how they could all be so certain that God existed when no one had ever seen him; and not only that, how they could all be so certain that he had not seen Him?
Well, at first Ezra had not believed what he saw either, of course. More
On April 13, 1996, going on 2:30 in the afternoon, in a sunny clearing by a marsh not half a mile from the small red house where he lived with, and took care of, his aging mother, Ezra Wildmark, precisely fifty-one years and fourteen days old that day, met God—and God, as it happened, was Eskimo.
That is, God was shortish, couldn’t have been an inch over five feet. He was slim and relaxed. His face was red leathery skin where dark eyes sat deeply among creases in the permanent sort of squint you get from smiling a lot or from bad eyesight (or from too much sun on snow). His hair was jet black, grown long and weaved into a braid that fell from the back across His right shoulder.
Very white teeth. Very Eskimo. And very smiling.
The way Ezra could tell that this, indeed, was God, and not some apparition or other—or just plain illusion—was that He appeared out of thin air the very moment Ezra said, or shouted rather, while fisting the sky, “If you want me to believe in you, then you had fucking better show yourself.”
Which is what He then promptly did.
At first Ezra did not believe what he saw, of course, which led to a pregnant moment of mind racing to piece together the impossible. Logically.
But there was no tree or rock or brush or other hiding place from behind which He could have suddenly stepped, for the log He now sat down on and from where He now regarded Ezra with steady, thoughtful, if a little playful eyes, was a long fallen spruce, alone in the clearing and at quite a distance from anything hiding-behind-able. And there was no hole nearby from which He could have jumped. There was no overhanging branch from which He could have dropped. There was nowhere He could have hid and then suddenly appeared from. There was nowhere He could have been first. He just appeared.
So, then, Logic went, he must be dreaming.
But concurrent with that comforting conclusion the mosquito on his left forearm—on unsteady legs by now, so full was he of Ezra blood—began to pull his sting back out, and this stung much worse than going the other way—unnoticed, as it happened—a moment ago, when Ezra was busy demanding God’s presence. So now—as with part smack, part squash, the mosquito exploded from blood already sucked and the weight of a crushing hand—this stinging sensation jumped about a million nerve endings to reach his brain in no time at all where it said (shouted, to be precise, and unequivocally at that): Awake.
And then, when Ezra finally knew that he wasn’t dreaming, that it was in fact The Creator sitting there on the fallen spruce, just like the Cheshire cat, God began to fade. All of Him, bit by bit, except the smile.
Fainter and fainter the face and arms and legs evaporated into greater and greater transparency, leaving lips and white teeth to reflect sunlight. Nothing else. A smile. And then with a sort of plopping sound, as if they were dentures dropped into still water from not very high, they too were gone.
That’s when Ezra did a number one in his pants.
Then he set out for home, walking very fast, hoping very much he wouldn’t meet anyone on the way.