My mother believes in signs. A bird that alights on a branch near her kitchen window possesses the spirit of my dead grandfather, listening to us, guiding us forward. Pennies found on the street are good luck. God is here among us, she says, blessing us with His presence, dropping small miracles at our feet.
I want to believe in these signs, but something stops me — the fact that I can never feel God no matter how hard I try. Staring at the ceiling from my bed at night, my prayers are all yearnings, wishes, poured out like coins into a cosmic slot machine. I always make the same request: to find love.
You show up at the tiny breakfast place on the corner. I look up from my eggs and watch you take the only seat left, next to mine. Your smile is coy. Eyes like sea glass. We talk about the superiority of scrambled eggs over poached, and I try not to stare at your arms, lean, dark-haired. We finish eating. When you ask if I want to take a walk, I feel like I’ve won a prize.
Weeks pass. We snatch away whole nights at the diner. You tell me about God — “my religion,“ you say, as if it is only yours, a one-man cult.
“In my religion,” you say, “science doesn’t necessarily have to exist outside faith.”
I tell you about love. “To have a healthy relationship, you must have validation from within.”
“Not just from yourself,” you say, and quote Galatians 2:20: “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”
I look down so you don’t see me cry. There is something here, growing, and I do not know if it is God or love for you.
I start going to your church.
One Sunday you arrive in a crisp white shirt. New jeans.
“Hot date later?” I tease.
“Yes. Actually. I do.”
I wait for signs. For birds or pennies. For God.
And still for you.