It is here in that moment that my Atheism is finally put to the test. Put on trial. I’m staring at the light, directly above the ambulance. Here and now, if there ever was a moment to have a spiritual revelation or reevaluation of religion, this was the time. I was ready to cast my nonbelief aside. I was desperate for it. I wanted to see a hint, a sign, a glimmer.. a glimpse – anything. I really wanted to be wrong in that moment. I was ready to grab onto anything, but i needed to see it. In this, my darkest hour.. i was looking for a miracle and proof that this wasn’t the end. I was looking for hope to atone.
A few hours earlier, April 10, 2008
I look up the staircase and see my bother sitting beside his computer and yell up to him “I’ll be back before 9.. we’ll get in a couple rounds of Hold’m when i get back. You know how much i love taking your funny money!”
Hrah hrah hrah, he snarked. My brother was great at Texas Holdem. I sucked. He knew it and i knew it. I was full of false bravado and not much else. He had been looking forward to this since i had been kept busy during the week working overtime for the struggling company i was working for. The 2008 economic collapse had not yet kicked in.. but i was already a victim of it’s red flags. And friends rarely dropped by to see him, tho i think it was at his request. He didn’t want people to see him as a cancer patient, he wanted people to see him when he was cured and all big bad and sexy.
With my pledge set, i took my fiance’s hand and we left for the dinner party she had booked us for.
As far as dinner parties go, this one wasn’t bad. I knew the hosts as friends, not simply acquaintances of my fiance. That being said, i’m not a fan of dinner parties at all. Call it a vestige of my introversion. I can suffer them with a smile, but i suffer nonetheless. I dull the pain with booze. Suffice it to say, i really didn’t want to be here tonight, i really wanted to be playing poker with my brother. But i had already promised my fiance that we would go do this, even tho it was brought up last minute. You know.. me being a nice guy and all, wanted to make sure i carried a good record of ‘Happy wife, happy life” into the marriage before it started.
We arrived at the destination. I finish parking my car in the school parking lot across the street from my friends place. Just before i get out of the car, my fiance brings up my brother. Specifically the very likely chance or possibility that he might end up either to sick to attend, or even die before the wedding. I simply look down at my feet and acknowledge that reality, tho it’s not something i wanted to dwell. He’d make it.
We enter the place, shoot the shit, chat it up while our host grabbed dinner. We ate. The women talked and me and my friend ended up looking over his computer. He always managed to get virus’s or issues on his laptop and me being the resident geek squad meant every dinner invite always carried the ulterior motive of tech support. A quick download of Malware Bytes later, he was on his way to recovery.
Evening was upon us and i gazed at my watch. “HOLY SHIT” i said in my head.. the time was 8:30. The highway wouldn’t be busy at this time but it was still a good 20 minutes from my mothers. My fiance was actively talking about something or other with my friends wife.
“10 minutes” i said in my head. I sat on the couch and looked at my watch again. “10 minutes and you’ll be off”.