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The International Writers Magazine: The Spanish Viewpoint

In God We Trust
James Skinner

‘When I am ranting and raving over the state of the universe, usually directing my verbal abuse during conversations with my wife, she never says a word. She continues to devour yet another of Noah Gordon’s novels without bating an eyelid. That is until yesterday. ‘Mother Nature is warning us all!’ She said. Wow! My mental soundtrack came to a halt. Within seconds my images of Bush bashing Obama whilst Hillary looked on were erased in a flash. In old fashion British Raj style I answered, ‘I beg your pardon? ’

‘I said, Mother Nature is warning us. Just add it all up. Nothing is working. Something supreme is happening!’ She went back to her novel.

Puzzled, flabbergasted, speechless, I began to recap. My wife is a staunch Roman Catholic but when we got married I found out that I had originally been baptised as a Scottish Presbyterian although, by mistake, I took first communion at the age of 12 as an Anglican. I was real confused! The marrying priest took it all in good faith; pardon the pun, despite the bureaucratic rigmarole that I had to go through to prove that I was not hitched before, lest I commit bigamy in Franco’s catholic dominated Spain. Since then and to this day, she regularly goes to Mass and I only attend weddings or funerals. Drop the laughter! I’m not Hugh Grant. We never discuss religion nor disagree on the basics of Christianity. She believes in the Vatican’s God and I believe in some kind of Almighty that somehow is responsible for the havoc we’re in today. That is until now.

Maybe she’s right! What’s the difference between Mother Nature and God? Don’t they belong to the same football league? Aren’t they one of the same? The world is in a mess, right? Humanity has somehow gone berserk. No need to go into details as the world media, Internet, governments, and my wife’s parish priest is constantly on about it, right? Shrinks, philosophers, economic gurus and my next door neighbour have all got their own theories as to what has gone wrong, right? So let’s forget about the daily claptrap of info on the so called crisis and concentrate on the depth of my wife’s statement and her sudden outburst. ‘Something supreme is happening!’

I’ve got it! She’s received a message from the Divine! All these faithful years of eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ has had its effect. For once I’m beginning to react rather than ignore the ‘message’ she receives promptly every Sunday at the local parish. But how do I tackle the situation? Do I ask her for an explanation or consult her local faith healer? Should I beat around the bush and nonchalantly comment on her statement like, ‘I suppose you’re right, God is angry,’ and sit back and await the response. Or how about a kneejerk, ‘don’t talk codswallop!’ And run for cover.
I’ve got to think this one out, ‘going out for a minute, dear! Be back in a tick.’ Not a murmur. I put on my jacket; it’s cold outside. My wife’s Mother Nature is blowing hell through the town. I’m about to shut the door behind me when she suddenly returns to earth and reminds me to buy some milk. ‘One or two cartons?’ I reply. No answer. She’s back with Noah.

First things first; I drop into my local coffee shop for a hot cup. ‘Do you believe in God?’ I ask my friend the barman. He smiles as he fiddles with the espresso machine. ‘Pure or decaf?’
‘Make it a double of the real McCoy with milk,’ I answer. No response to my original question. A guy walks in and sits beside me. I recognise him as someone who lives in my building. He picks up one of the bar’s free newspapers whilst he orders his own brew. I peek over his shoulder. Headlines full of Mumbai terrorist attack. He flips the pages until he hits the sports section. Real Madrid has just won one of the Champions’ League rounds in Belarus. His eyes are now glued to the print. ‘Typical,’ I think. ‘No use asking him if he believes in God. Probably thinks Raul is a disciple.’ The barman brings me my coffee; still no response to my original question. I pay my lot and leave.

It’s still hurricane weather. I button up to my neck and brave the storm. Next stop is the supermarket; it’s nice and warm inside. Better buy two cartons just in case. As I stand in the queue waiting to pay I overhear a conversation between two middle aged housewives.
‘My husband has just been laid off! After 30 years! Isn’t it horrible?’ says one almost in tears.
‘O yes. I know!’ Says the other in typical Sybil Fawlty style, ‘I know!’
I butt in, ‘It’s an act of Providence.’
They look at me in dismay. ‘Twenty two Euros and 30 cents,’ bellows the cashier.
‘A message from above; the Lord is angry at all of us! Can’t you see your husband as a victim of Mother Nature?’ I was actually talking to myself with their demise in mind staring blindly into space as the words flowed across the till. I paid and left in a hurry as I realised what a bloody fool I’d made of myself.
‘I must get this off my chest and there’s only one way to find out.’ I went back home.

After placing the cartons in the fridge I walked into the living room where my wife was at least four chapters further into Noah’s novel. ‘OK then, what do you mean by ‘something supreme is happening’?’
Dear soul; she picked up the page marker and placed it between two pages. Shut the book and put it down, very slowly. Looked up at me and said, ‘I have no idea about economics or politics or why the world is in such a mess but it’s not the end of everything. History somehow is repeating itself as it always does and will eventually sort itself out.’
My wife is an avid boffin on the subject. ‘Those of us that believe in God see it as a warning. Those that don’t…well; that’s their problem.’
She went back to her book.

© James G Skinner December 2008
james skinner <

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