Not On Talking Terms

God and I aren’t on talking terms; we haven’t been for decades. When I was little, I think I bothered him too much. On special occasions, I would tag along with my mum to the temple in Pitt Street. There I copied her and relished the act of holding the joss sticks, and prayed. Even then I knew praying for favours would be bothersome for god. Imagine, hundreds of millions of urghhlings praying and asking for good luck, for the rain to stop, for the rain to start, for a good harvest, for good test results, for baby boys, for a good life with a good wife, etc, etc , etc! This would be happening every minute of every day, at every corner of the globe. And I knew God realises this would go on and on for eternity. There would be no day of rest, no holiday. For when is there ever enough for urghhlings? Yet, I was happy to pray and did not hesitate to whisper into God’s ears.

In school, I got to learn very early in my first year that there is another god. He is wrathful yet loving. And he loved us more than he loved his son. I was taught that he sent his son down to Earth and eventually to his downfall. I grew afraid of this god, he sacrificed his son knowingly in order to save urghhlings. My dad would never do that, I was sure of that! And when I learned how his son died, at the cross, I was quite cross with him. He was all powerful yet he did nothing to save his own son. He didn’t resile from his decision to sacrifice his son. At that point in the catechism class, I told the teacher I wouldn’t be attending any more classes.

In my early teens, some of my Christian friends were infectious with their “superior” religion. My personal mantra was leave god alone. Let him have a little respite. But my friends, bless their beautiful hearts, wanted to save me from damnation. Open your heart to god. Open your doors and windows wide so he can come into your life. And so, I started talking to their god again.

In the school chapel, I sat next to this gorgeous girl with long hair and watched her pray. She invited me in. I guess in means before that, I was out. We didn’t speak many words to each other, it wasn’t possible since she was busy talking to god. I didn’t think to interrupt their private conversation, eventhough I wanted to invite her to a movie or a kopi peng at least. She was too busy talking to god. I stared at Jesus’s face from afar. He didn’t look overly uncomfortable, as if he’d got accustomed to the torture. I wondered why I bolted from this room the only other time I stepped into this chapel ten years earlier. Then, I could hear the unbearable screams from Jesus and could witness the unbearable sorrow on the virgin’s face, helpless in her grief to help her son bear the crucifix.

She’s still talking to god! So many favours to ask, I assumed. Ask a good one for me, say yes to a movie with the boy next to you. So, I started praying too. Talking to him again. Asking for favours. I shan’t reveal what a young boy sitting next to a beautiful young girl would ask god for.

I opened all the doors and windows to my heart to god for the next two years. In the dead of night, I would invite him to come into my life. I hoped for any sign, any sound. I searched for any clues that he may have given me even though I thought a strong decisive god wouldn’t drop hints and leave signs; he would be clear and precise, right? I talked to god every free moment I had and every moment before I went to my dreams. For about two years, there was incessant chatter with god. But it was always a one way conversation, I was doing all the talking. There was no reply from god, no retort, no question, no yelling, no nodding of head. Just silence. My prayers about the girl with long hair went unanswered. Then one day I woke up. He’s not talking to me!

From then on, we are not on talking terms. In truth, he was never on talking terms with me. And I gave up. Urghhling, I imagine he would say about me but I never heard it.


At a temple in Pitt Street, Penang
Not on talking terms

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