When The Rapture Comes

People used to elicit promises from me to “be on time,” but I’ve stopped making promises like that, because I don’t want to be on time.  I want to be free.

So I was following this pickup truck, since it left the gas station.  That’s why I missed my turn to go home, and why I was driving back out towards I-285 on Church Street, Christian in the back, my seven year old; we were going for a little ride.

“When the Rapture comes, this truck is yours,”  the bumper sticker said.

I had to follow it.  I needed to ask her about that, that woman driving that pickup, who was leaving me her car.  In any event we would have a little adventure, exploring, detouring and tailing.

Gotta have your fun.  I stayed far enough back but stayed close enough to read the bumper sticker.  At some point I was going to talk to her.  I didn’t care how far she lived, I was just driving and thinking about this bumper sticker.

Is that what happens?  They all leave, and we have the earth to ourselves?  If that were true, I couldn’t wait till the Rapture came.  How wonderful it would be then, I thought.

I would just have to ask her for a copy of her keys, or find out where she lived at least, so I could get the truck when the time came.  If she’d just stop I could ask her.  I did want to make sure no one else got it.

We drove off Church onto Scott, and continued towards 285, like I thought she would.  I eased behind her as she eased onto the highway.  Immediately she got in the lane to get off the exit to take 78 towards Athens.  I couldn’t go to Athens.  I wasn’t going that far.  I was hoping she’d get off at Clarkston, or Snellville at worst.

I was sure the truck was a gas guzzler, but I imagine there should be less demand for gas after the rapture, so hopefully prices would come down.

“Momma, what does ‘rapture’ mean?” Christian said.  He’d been staring at this bumper sticker almost as long as I had.

“It’s, uh, judgment day,” I said, absent-mindedly.

We passed Clarkston.  The further out we got towards Stone Mountain and Snellville the more I got the feeling that when the rapture came, there were going to be a lot of cars out this way.  You could tell by the fish emblems so many had on them, but no one else was offering theirs up.  Maybe they thought they would take their vehicles with them.

“What’s judgment?”

“It’s the end of the world.”  I glanced back.  “I mean…” I had to think about how to frame this, “…it’s when the believers go to heaven.  The people who believe in Jesus.”

“Do we believe in Jesus?”

I don’t know why, but it struck me as surreal that my seven year old was asking me what he believed, weird that the parents decide what the whole family believed, but true, I guessed.

“Do you?” I asked.

“Do you?” he replied.

“Define believe,” I asked him.

“What?”

“I believe he existed, but I don’t believe he was God or anything.”

78 became a local road, and she kept driving.  If she would just stop…, why wouldn’t she stop?  Surely I got better gas mileage.  How far did I want to drive?  Then I remembered that when I first spotted her she was pulling out of a gas station

“We won’t go to heaven?”

“I don’t know.”

“Why not?”

“Because I’m not a Christian.”

“I’m a Christian.” I could hear him smiling.

“I don’t know why we named you that,” I said.

I was pretty far from home now.  This lady turned left onto another big road, 124 or something and kept going.  I was actually getting low on gas.

“Where are we going?” Christian asked.

We’re going home,” I said and pulled over into a strip center to turn around.  I stopped for a minute and rested my head on the steering wheel.  I looked back at Christian and smiled.

“Dammit,” I said, “I wanted that truck.”

I turned on the radio, turned the car around and Christian and I started singing.

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