I hesitated in front of the Study door. My roving eyes studied forms carved in the dark wood, of wings and trees, of hooves and ferns, figures carved there for which I have no name.
They had shown me to the door and left me. Did they intend for me to wait patiently for admittance? Or was I supposed to announce my presence, dare to knock upon the royal wood? I waited with my nerves for several moments longer, then tried the latter.
“It’s unlocked!” came a surprisingly cavalier voice from within. I smoothed my hair and opened the door.
Inside, the study was much as I might have designed, only more than I could have dreamed. Like the door, the dark wood of bookshelves and tables was carved in mystic shapes. There were no walls, just rows of books reaching to the domed glass ceiling, out of which helices of galaxies turned slowly past each other, lumbering, glittering beasts floating in the black. The bookshelves were stuffed to over flowing and with every kind of book imaginable. Velumy old texts served as bookends for rows of zines and religious pamphlets. Scuzy paperbacks with the covers ripped off filled the space above beautiful leather bound tomes with gold writing blazing on the side. With some shock I even saw my own tatty copies of The Lord of the Rings shoved in a top corner. The Man Himself, for I supposed it must be He, sat at a wide, elegant writing desk, most of which could not be seen under stacks of books, piles of paper, one clunky typewriter, and dozens of half empty bottles of white-out. It was the typewriter that surprised me the most. Here sat a Man with all of time and space to choose from and He used a typewriter to record His work. It was while considering this that I stumbled upon a momentous truth. God is a hipster. He had His back to me, so all I saw as I entered was a lanky form in gray squeezed into an uncomfortable little chair.
“Mind waiting a second?” He said, not in a booming tone one might expect, but in that of the assistant librarian at my college. “I want to finish this quick edit on the garter snake.”
I turned to one of the towering shelves. The names on most of the spines were unreadable, strange twisted shapes of letters, some like runes, some not like letters at all, but overlapping circles and graceful figures dancing on the glistening leather.
“You like it?” He said from behind me. I turned and saw He had stood from His work and now faced me. He was rather more plain than I had anticipated (I had assumed there would be something marking Him as God). His gray suit was neither fine nor cheap; the same could be said for his shoes, which were a little old and scuffed. He was thin, of average height, with ashen blond hair and pale skin. His face was rather young, save for dark circles and lines around his eyes. It was a nondescript face, one I felt sure I had seen in crowds everywhere. His eyes had that far away look I knew so well, for it is the look of a writer when separated from their work. Not kind, not angry, just detached. And I thought to myself, as I stood there, ‘Well, that explains a lot.’
“It took me an eternity to build this library.” He pursed his lips in a smile, so I suppose that is what passes for humor to God. He smiled vaguely at the books, then returned His gaze to me.
“Now you,” He said, “must be the Author.”
I nodded. “I am.”
“I understand,” He said, laying a hand on a stack of books which to my chagrin bore then names of my works, “I understand you have some questions for me.”
In my embarrassment and nervousness I could only blurt out “You actually read those?”
He smiled. “But of course! I always take interest when my creation creates! That, my friend, is the mark of a good artist, when the art takes on a life of its own. I never could have guessed you would do such incredible things.” He noted my nervousness. “Come now, you are a god in your own right. We meet here as equals. Would you like to sit?”
And somehow, with that, all my nervousness melted. We were two old colleagues, sitting in comfy armchairs in a calm and quiet library.
“Now, I’ve read your work, have seen your doubts and questions, where would you like to begin?”
There were so many things I had wanted to ask Him over the years that I hardly knew what now to say. “How do you choose?” I asked.
“Choose… what?” He said.
“How do you choose which prayer to answer, what path to put each soul on? It seems highly unfair.”
He laughed. “Oh I know it does.” He took up a sheaf of papers, transcripts of things I had posted on the internet. “Here you accuse me of picking favorites.”
“Well, do you?”
“Of course, how could I not? Some of you are rather splendid. But I do not let that cloud my judgment. Well not often.”
“So how do you judge?”
He leaned forward. “The story. I put all my characters where they need to be to achieve the story I want. Do not deny you have done the same. You, my friend, have thrown innocent girls off of rooftops, have given all the powers of hell to an impulsive teenager, have stabbed brave men in the heart. Their are orphans and wars and widowers and barren plains. I can’t tell if your hands are stained with ink or blood.”
“But they were just characters!” I protested, “You do this to living people!”
“Just characters? Look me in the eye and tell me truly, have we not had this conversation with roles reversed, where you were God and I man, one of your ‘characters’ asking why?”
I glanced down at my hands, for I could not look him in the eye.*
*The Author does not agree with anything she has written.