applying for heaven

Mon, 03/28/2016 - 10:11 -- mxiao

applying for heaven

purgatory

is cold and bright

and smells like metal.

 

g-d’s butler will have you sit down at a crappy plastic desk

and hand you a scantron

and a number two pencil.

there will be at least a thousand other people in that same room

but nobody can talk.

(grounds for dismissal!)

 

the pencil will break at least three times

and three times the butler is going to hand you a new one.

there is no sharpener here.

there is just infinity.

(who ate the last fucking sandwich?)

 

and just like back in school

as soon as the first person gets up to hand in their test

you will begin to panic.

 

your test is not be like the biology tests you failed in college

or the driver’s test you had to do twice.

(or even the pregnancy test your girlfriend took senior year.)

 

g-d will have you answer questions about what you have done

and a notice on the blackboard says that only mary has passed.

 

you would sweat

but the ac’s on too high.

 

question six is about how many hangovers you’ve had

and you’re going to want to scream

after you finish counting off on your fingers.

the essay is about the time your grandmother choked on rice

and you did nothing to help her,

while the text analysis is on your doctoral dissertation.

(you only proofread it once.)

 

finally

the butler tells you your time is up.

you’ll protest

but he’ll take the papers anyway

and walk you to the door.

 

(it’s warmer outside,

i promise.)

 

someone else

will come with your results

a few minutes

(or hours? or days?)

later.

 

she will look like your mother.

 

you have passed the test with a solid 80

scratched in red pen in the top corner

with a line slashed out under it

(is it a good or bad line?)

and the lady escorts you into another room

where a sign hangs

saying

WE ARE ALL EQUAL BEFORE GOD.

 

it’s much brighter in there,

so bright

that you have to squint until your eyes adjust.

(it’s all-white too.

what the hell?)

 

the room is massive

ceiling soaring high into the heavens

(unless that’s where you are now)

and hundreds of people fill the space

voices low and high echoing like the unironic cherubs

painted on the ceiling.

 

(except their wings are actually moving.)

 

the lady will guide you by the arm to the end of the room

where g-d is sitting

hands on the armrests like abe lincoln

and a face like zac efron.

 

(you always thought g-d had a beard

didn’t you?)

 

g-d’s voice is like a clementine

sweet and alluring

but there’s a sharpness to it that makes you afraid to speak.

 

‘your scores are impressive,’

he will say.

(he says that to everyone who passes.)

‘but of course,

the interview is just as important

and i wouldn’t say you did so well on that.’

 

of course

you won’t remember when you did the interview

and you will say so

but that does not change anything.

 

g-d waves you away

and you are left to wander among the others in the room.

 

in the minutes

(or hours? or days?)

that pass

you will hear stories from at least a dozen people

as well as several complaints about how they deserved to move on.

mark only threw salt over his shoulder once

rebecca prayed daily

and ariel didn’t think it was that bad to change

after being born an asher.

 

no one will tell you what it means to move on.

(you are expected to know this information.)

 

finally

g-d will get up and wish everyone a good night.

and when the lights go out

and the voices start to stop

you think back to that sign outside the door.

 

(we are all equal before g-d.)

 

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