Monday, April 29, 2013

Thanks for Noticing Me.

 In Scotland I lived with a very nice girl who had rosy cheeks and wore Eeyore sweatshirts. She always made me a cup of tea and she'd boiled the kettle and up until that year, she'd never left the country. The only thing I asked my parents to send from America was peanut butter but both she and our other roommate always declined to try it. She wasn't fond of foreign food, she apologetically explained.

We were eating dinner. I had a copy of Chaucer by my plate, and I was wrangling keeping my page and something called "pasta bake" when she said, "Ach, Liz. It's so sad."

When I asked her to explain, she sighed and said, "That you're going to hell."

We'd discussed her strong evangelicalism and my atheism, and I could tell it troubled her, as if I'd confessed that I hadn't been to see a doctor in a long time, or that I had no savings account. She asked me if I was scared to die, and I said, yes, I supposed so, but not because of hell. Why not, she asked. Because, I explained, I don't believe in that either.

"Just because you don't believe in it doesn't mean you're not going there," she said, and stood up from the table because it was my turn to clean the dishes, even though I didn't believe in them.