There are times when, upon waking, you realize that your life is worth nothing. The realization can dawn on you as you’re waking up, the first thought in your mind that still holds remnants of last night’s dream. The thought can take you by surprise as you inspect a fruit or vegetable at the supermarket or grocery store. It can capture you in a state of despair as you miss your bus and sink in as an unexpected rainfall drenches your clothes and as you think about your umbrella left in the rack at home.
This thought has hit Serah Basil in every one of these instances. It has been the third time this week. It was only Tuesday.
He thought of these times as he wrung his tie out, knowing that it would get soaked again. His attention shifted and gazed at the water fall from his tie as he wrung, and watched as the cloth darkened with the newly coming rainfall. He smiled and thought of the fact that every time he would wring out his tie, the liquid would still be replaced by more. When he would get to work, the liquid would dry and evaporate, being replaced by dry, stale office air and possibly today’s lunch. That the food gathered on the tie would be scrubbed off by a wet paper towel, thus making the tie wet yet again. A never ending cycle, he thought to himself.
He thought of circles. Do circles ever have ends? Circles have beginnings, so surely they also have ends, right?
This led him to the topic that has filled his mind ever since he was a boy: God. Does God have an end? If he has a beginning, then surely he must have an end.
Serah sat up and adjusted his glasses, pushing them higher on his face so that water would not get into his eyes as he looked to the sky. He thought of his father, about how devoted he was to God.
“We cannot see God, but we know that he is there,” his father would say. “He is all around us: omnipotent.”
Serah remembered asking how God was omnipotent. How can God be everywhere?
“In spirit,” his father had answered. “Spirit creatures are not held by the bounds of physical bodies like people can. He is everywhere, and that is how He knows what is going on everywhere. He helps the people that are faithful to Him.”
Serah remembered asking his father what happened to the other people who weren’t faithful to God.
“They suffer intensely,” his father blatantly replied. “And if they are not suffering right now, they will suffer in Hell.”
Serah had then asked, “Is that why mom is in the hospital right now? Is she not faithful?”
He remembered how angry his father had gotten.
“Your mother has faith,” his father said. “Don’t you ever question your mother’s faith again!”
Serah had nodded. His father sighed.
“The Lord works in mysterious ways,” his father had said, and he left the subject at that.
The bus slowed to a stop in front of Serah. He got on, paid his fare, and took small breaths as he passed by an older man who smelled of body sweat and cigarettes. The man was sleeping. Small, sharp snores heard when the man inhaled, and then forcefully pushed out of his lungs and mouth when he exhaled. Serah wondered at what the man had experienced before boarding the bus and sleeping so soundly. What stop could he have possibly been waiting at? Did he get on the bus before the rain started? He dismissed that question as another whiff of the older man’s odor passed by his nose. He thought about if the man had any family. Was he going to them now? Is he traveling away from them? Is he married? Does his spouse worry when the man gets on the bus and sleeps and possibly misses the stop he was supposed to get off on? Has he already missed his stop?
He came from his thoughts as a woman got on the bus and visibly pinched her nose as she walked down the aisle. She spotted Serah, and made a disgusted face while pointing in the old man’s direction. Serah shrugged and offered a small smile. As she sat down, he thought about her as well. Where was she coming from? Did she have any children? How did she act in front of them? Would she make a face and wave the stink away if her children were present? How would her children respond?
His thoughts wandered like so until he got off the bus. He watched as it drove past his stop, and as the bus pulled away, he saw the woman move to the seat he had sat in, farther away from the smelling old man.