Sunlight stabbed through Bob’s eyelids. Apparently it was Sunday again, and Rita had opened the curtains to tell him that it was time to get up. To get ready for church. Again.
“Good morning Robert, dear. Are you almost ready?”
Well no he wasn’t ready. He was never ready, but Sunday after Sunday, year after year, he quietly rolled out of bed when the light stabbed into his sleep, assuring his wife that Bob was going to follow her into the great hereafter. She clapped around in her white church pumps. Clap clap clap to the drawer to pull on the white church gloves. Clap clap clap to pick up that tiny white church purse, too small to hold much of anything except her lipstick and a piece of chewing gum. Clap clap clap to stand back in front of him.
“Taking a little longer than usual today dear, is everything all right?” said Rita.
Didn’t the Lord believe in sleeping in once in a while? Couldn’t he see that Bob was too tired for this shit anymore? Bob had long ago memorized the three sermons that Pastor Rodriguez rotated through. Surely Bob had earned a spot on the couch with a cold beer in his mitt this Sunday.
“Dear, it’s getting-”
“Oh hell Rita!”
Rita staggered back “Robert! And on the Lord’s day!” Her eyes welled up with tears. What had come over Bob this morning?
Finally Bob could take it no more. He threw the covers aside, revealing a body that was ever thinning, clad in his tighty whities, and the man sat up. “What the hell is wrong with using the word “hell” anyway. It was okay for Jesus to use!” Rita’s eyes hung open, unable to blink. Her purse strap slipped from her gloved fingers and the useless thing bounced to the floor. “Well, wasn’t it?”
“Robert...” Said Rita, barely audible.
“And I wanna know something else, why do we eat the communion in the morning, when the Lord’s supper was in the evening? God must think we’re morons, eating those moon cookies for breakfast! If I was God, I’d think the whole thing was damn ridiculous, a bunch of pomp and silly ceremony. So you tell me Rita, what is the use of going to church THIS Sunday?”
Rita threw her shoulders back and took a deep breath. “Okay Robert, I’ll tell you.”
“The name is Bob!”
“Bob!” she yelled at the bed. “I don’t want to go to church either. I hate going to this church, and I always have.”
“The only reason I go is because you met Pastor Rodriguez twenty three years ago when you remodeled his house, and I thought you were friends. I go because I thought that you needed the assurance.... you know, that you would go to heaven.”
Bob sat astounded. "Well I only went because I thought it was giving you the assurance that I would go to heaven with you.” Bob now stood up. “Wait a damn minute” And Rita did not flinch at the “damn”. “Wait just a damn minute, aren’t you going to church ‘'cuz you want to go to heaven Rita?” Tears sprang to Bob’s eyes this time, probably for the first time in a decade, save for seasonal allergies.
“Oh hell Bob,”said Rita with a slow smile. “Going to church doesn’t make a person go to heaven. Either we’re going or we aint.”
The couple, married since Rita got knocked up thirty years ago, looked at each other with a new understanding. They stared at each other for a good two minutes before Rita said, “Well, are you ready to go?”
“What the... where are we going now?” said Bob. Rita’s body began to shimmer in front of Bob. Bob had to rub his eyes like a cartoon character, but it didn’t help. Hell, he felt like he was in a cartoon now. “Rita, I think I’m...... feeling a little pekish.” The more Rita shimmered, the more beautiful she seemed to become. Wait, was she getting more beautiful, or had she been like this all along? Bob could scarcely tell the difference between the Rita that stood before him and the Rita that he had fallen in love with thirty-one years ago, before she even got knocked up. No, this couldn’t be, because Rita was freakin' gorgeous! The thirty-one-years-ago-Rita couldn’t hold a candle to this stunning woman before him. What a morning!
“Bob, look at yourself.” said Rita. Her voice was unbelievably calm, like chocolate mousse. Bob looked down at his body to see that it too was shimmering like Rita’s. The thinning body of an old man had filled out again, the sagging skin had retained its elasticity, and his tighty whities were indeed tight!
“We’re ascending Bob.”
“Shit, like Jesus?”
“But how? I’m only a man. I’m... I’m only Bob.”
“My dear, all we’ve been waiting for is the Lord’s second coming.” said Rita, “Well he done came.”
Bob had to give his body a second look. “You mean in us! That’s insane! They always made out like he was going to come riding out of the sky with thunder and lightning and, and, and a brass band behind him, and angels singing-”
“Yes Bob, I guess it’s time to get started.”
They were two blazing balls of beauty now, looking like runway models for Versace and Calvin Klein. Bob looked at his wife and smiled, probably for the first time in a decade.