The Secret Of DivinityA Story by Lina Rivera
It can be told in 1,000 words.
The retreat was Chris’s idea and Ethan and I just tagged along because that’s how things went with us. We never questioned Chris’s ideas nor his intentions even though we both usually had nagging feelings that neither were good nor necessarily humble. Of course, when we got off the jet in some nameless island and saw the battered jeep waiting for us, both Ethan and I just looked at each other and shrugged. There was no point in guessing what Chris was up to so we followed blindly and watched the scenery blur rapidly by us as we were taken to wherever it was that Chris wanted us taken to.
“How are things?” Ethan asked as the Jeep struggled across the bumpy road and I looked at him with a smile remembering that the only thing I loved about Chris’s ideas was that I got to spend time with Ethan.
“Good. How about you?”
“Not so bad. Still alive.”
I nodded at him and then let out a laugh, realizing the absurdity that was the entire situation. He looked at me amused, but part of him knew exactly why I was laughing and soon he joined me, two tourists in an old Jeep on a bumpy road dying of laughter.
“We’re here,” the driver said after some time and he pulled up to a wooden shack, enshrouded with palm trees with big leaves that covered the windows as they swayed in the island wind. I got out first, throwing my backpack over one shoulder and waiting for Ethan to join me by my side before going up the three steps to the door. The Jeep was gone almost immediately and Ethan made a joke about a haunted shack which made me laugh.
“And the name of the ghost is Chris,” I said and we laughed a little more before the door opened and Chris stood before us with a remote control in hand and a wicked smile on his face.
“Excellent, my victims are here,” and we followed him into the shack which smelled of pork and incense and trapped moisture.
“Are you sacrificing us to the island gods?” Ethan asked as he looked around with his hands stuffed deep into the pockets of his olive cargo pants and Chris motioned for us to sit on the torn couch with floral print that faced an old black and white TV.
“Even better, I’m going to make you guys the island gods.”
I sat beside Ethan on the couch, falling into the soft fabric and looked at Chris wondering why he had never been put on any medication.
“I see,” Ethan said playing along. “And how are you going to do that?”
“There will be a ceremony tonight. I’ve invited the entire town.”
“And how exactly did you go about explaining this to them?” I asked as I leaned forward, elbows on knees and clasping my hands.
“Well they were looking for gods,” Chris explained, “And I volunteered the two of you. It’ll be fun.”
“What kind of benefits are we talking here?” Ethan asked in a serious tone, “Medical? Dental? Is there a 401K plan?”
“There’s a catch,” Chris said sitting on a box before us and ignoring Ethan’s inquiries knowing that he was mocking the situation, “You have to live here for the rest of your lives.”
“Oh is that all?” I asked with a roll of my eyes knowing that even Chris could not consider that a realistic possibility.
“Yep, that’s it,” he said with a smile and got to his feet going over to us and hugging us at the same time. “It’s so good to see the both of you. I’m glad you guys came.”
I wasn’t so sure if I should be as glad as him, and once he had finished hugging us he settled in between us on the couch and used the remote to turn on the TV which flickered awake and broadcasted nothing but static. We sat for a few moments watching the loud snow and then I looked over Chris’s head at Ethan, observing how he just looked at the television getting lost in thought. He sensed my look soon enough and looked at me allowing an amused expression to curve his lips into a smile. He was thinking the same thing I was – Chris had finally lost it.
“This is my favorite part,” Chris said and Ethan and I both turned our attentions back to the TV thinking that something would happen, but nothing actually did.
“Oh yeah, that was quite profound,” Ethan said and I giggled a little and put my arm around Chris playing with his dark brown hair.
“I just love the way it skips like that,” Chris said. “Did you hear the change in tone?”
“Sure did,” Ethan said, and he looked at me with tired eyes as the flight began to catch up to him.
“Where are we sleeping, Chris?” I decided to ask, since a nap would be nice before our adventure continued, but Chris just laughed and shook his head.
“Silly, gods don’t sleep. Like duh.”
“But we’re not gods yet,” Ethan pointed out.
“Says you,” Chris replied and turned off the TV, standing up and stretching.
“Just the same, if I wasn’t a God, where would I sleep?” I asked him and Chris shook his head and pointed his finger at me with a smirk.
“Nice try,” he stated before pointing to the back door. “Come on, let’s get this ceremony over with.” He led the way and Ethan and I looked at each other and shrugged before following him out. We crossed a path of palm trees and coconut littered sand before emerging onto a pristinely white beach with an ocean lapping at its mouth—blue and expansive and a clear canvas of endless possibilities.
Chris stopped a moment to smile back at us then led us forward onto a small bridge. We followed him without question until he stepped off the bridge and continued to walk, seemingly on the water.
“Holy s**t,” Ethan said with eyes as wide open as mine and I blinked once or twice wondering if Chris had figured out the secrets of divinity.
Chris turned around and waved at them, “Come on!”
I walked to the edge of the bridge and found myself laugh involuntarily as I pointed out to Ethan the small piece of land that extended out from under the bridge and into the water. Ethan laughed too when he saw it and we both looked out at Chris as he continued to make his way further and further into the ocean, and then I was overcome with a different sensation, a sensation of disappointment.
“You know,” I said to Ethan as I stepped onto the land, “For a minute there, I kinda wished that Chris had really figured out how to be a god.”
Ethan stepped onto the land and looked at me with eyes of sincerity, “Yeah. Me too.”
We looked at each other a moment before following the narrow path into sea and when we met up with Chris, he was facing the ocean, one arm in the air, leaning to the side as if he was stretching. I was about to ask him what he was doing, but deep inside I already knew the answer, so I joined him, and Ethan did as well and the soft hum of the lapping water welcomed us home.
© 2008 Lina Rivera
Added on May 20, 2008
Last Updated on June 25, 2008