Faded into Paper / by Karie Luidens

It was about this time that I sat Jesus down on a couch in the study lounge and told him that really, after all, he needed to go back to his century, and die.  

Our relationship had gone on longer than it needed to, I explained.  It was okay while it lasted; I thought I had felt him there when I prayed for love and forgiveness on the carpet of my room in high school.  At the youth conferences with the concert-style music and the flashing magenta lights, I had tried to get hopped up on the energy of the crowds around me to feel his blessing.  I always believed he was there.  But, in the end, was that Jesus, really?  Or just my own feelings of yearning, guilt?  Need?  When had Jesus ever stroked my face and told me I was alright?  

And honestly, the relationship had gone on longer than it should have.  It was based on the Bible.  Jesus loved me, this I thought, for the Bible told me to think so; but my Bible, the one I had been presented by the church at the age of nine, had somehow changed over the years.  The more I read it, the more the gold gilding rubbed off the pages; its tissue-y paper grew creased and greasy, its words were heavy and strange.  Later, the more I read about it, the more estranged I was.  

So Jesus, how could I have worn through that book and pushed it further and further down my desk behind the textbooks, and still let you sit on the desk chair with me in my mind?  How could I not see that our relationship was growing worn and creased too?  

You faded into paper, Jesus, and then you dried up into paper-dust and blew away with the wind.  I wrapped myself up in a coat and scarf and set out into the late afternoon, and all your bits of white got mixed up with the falling snow and were gone.  I was surprised to find that I didn’t miss him; I just walked along with my hands in my pockets on my way to another class with my book-bag over my shoulder.