The park had never been this cold before. The fog was dense. Funny because fog was never seen in this part of town before. I laid down on the pink bench. “You know what’s missing?” I said, speaking to the air, “A serial killer with a mask appearing through the fAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!”
A dark figure was approaching. The figure became more and more bold till I was ready to accept my death. But then I saw who it was, and death seemed less likely a prospect. It was an old man.
The old man was dressed in white. His clothes were loose and a bit tattered. It seemed like he had undertaken a long journey to get here. He came and sat right next to me. I sat up to provide him more space. “It’s alright,” he said. I’m fine.”
“What does he want?” I thought. “I want to know what you think about God.” he spoke, as if he had been able to read my mind. Great. Another one of those self righteous, delusional, flag waving missionaries destined to shun me to hell by the time we’re done talking. “And don’t worry,” said the old man. I won’t judge you.” Something wasn’t right.
A little startled, I thought it best to reply to his questions and get it over with. “I don’t know, honestly.” I said to the old man. After a moments pause, he replied,” Hmmm…But then what could be the purpose of life?”
What puzzled me is that these were questions that philosophers had been pondering over for centuries. Why did this old man want me to answer them in the middle of the night? “Well, just because we don’t know all the answers certainly does not mean that we fill in the blanks with ‘God.'”
Once again, the old man took his time to reply: “True. But then your idea of God is very, how shall I put it, limited. You think of God as an entity, a ‘form.’ Don’t you think that’s idolatrous in nature?”
Pantheist, huh. “Then what are we supposed to do?” I asked, a little annoyed. “Worship a trans-dimensional being that has no relation to this planet and completely escapes our understanding? And yet this very God’s greatest wish is to believe in him! I mean, He claims to be beyond our thinking and then asks us to believe in him. Absurd, really!”
The old man started smiling. He hummed a tune: Für Elise by Beethoven. I knew it was Für Elise because it was my favourite composition of all time. Was it purely coincidental? “Son,” he said politely, “have you read the sheet music of Für Elise?” I did. And so I told him. He started laughing more frankly.
He started speaking:”It wouldn’t move you if you only read it off a piece of paper, now would it? But it does, and its unexplainable. The love for God does not make sense on a piece of paper. God is the most powerful of human emotions. Now, whether that emotion is actually tangible and exists out there or not, only God knows. But it’s what drives people to get up in the middle of the night and face a dry wall and just start praying. Praying to the ceiling. ‘I keep my knees black and blue, because the often hit they hard wood floor. I believe so I’m not praying to the ceiling anymore.’ Funny how the oldest of Gods understood it. But our God doesn’t. Because…”
“God is a human emotion. But possibly the purest of them all. And so, it must hold greater importance than other emotions, because the love for God is selfless. And like all emotions, it can drive you insane. Or to do terrible things. So you have to keep a check on God, and in effect yourself.” I said all of these, startled at this new found understanding, or at least I thought so.
The old man looked at me. And I looked back. This was not an old man at all. This was not a human. It was simply my conscience. The way it took this form is because it’s been worn out. I never did learn to be numb or stop thinking. It was painful. The man knew so much about me, because it was me. “I think I’m going mad,” I said to my conscience. “Possible,” he said. “One last question.” “What?”
“Who would want to paint a bench pink?”