Author: crysblaz PM
After Trial and Error, Joan gets comforted by God.Rated: Fiction K - English - Words: 5,243 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 12 - Follows: 2 - Published: 07-12-06 - Status: Complete - id: 3041622
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Note: God/Joan. Story starts in last scene of Trial and Error, but it is not the old lady God that shows up to comfort Joan. Starts with transcripts and then goes from there. Things enclosed in italics are thoughts and 's with italics are flashbacks, memories or dreams.
Joan slowly climbed onboard the bus that she normally took to get home. As she showed the driver her bus pass, and started walking down the isle to find a seat she glanced up and saw a very familiar person wearing a tan Corduroy Jacket.
Joan scoffed. She really didn't want to see Him right now. But knowing she would get nowhere by ignoring him, she dejectedly plopped down beside him in the seat.
When He immediately didn't speak she knew this was going to be a conversation she didn't want to hear. Of course, she reflected what else could go wrong today? After the silence stretched for a few minutes, Joan knew that He was waiting for her to start speaking.
"You knew and you didn't tell me. That's your idea of justice?" She asked softly.
"I don't interfere. You know that." He answered quietly.
Joan snorted in disgust. "Yeah, well maybe free will wasn't such a great idea. I believed in him."
"I know. That's what makes it hurt so much."
"What did I do to deserve this?" She asked mournfully.
"Nothing. This isn't punishment, Joan. It's simply part of being alive, of being involved, of loving." God explained gently.
"Yeah. I'm not doing that anymore. I'm never doing that again." Joan sniffled.
"I know how painful this is. But what you and Adam had was beautiful, too. And that was every bit as real as the pain that you're feeling now. You experienced how deeply two people can be connected."
"So what do I learn when someone I trust destroys all that, huh? Maybe it was never real. Maybe you're not even real, you know? This whole morality thing, right and wrong, it's all just junk. We're all just animals, taking what we want. "Joan contested.
"Do you know what innocence is, Joan?" God asked patiently.
Joan sighed, "You know, I don't want mock trial right now."
"Well, it's more than an absence of guilt. It's having faith that there's goodness in the face of cruelty and pain. Someplace, you still feel that way. And that's me. And I'll always be there." God clarified in his soft, soothing voice.
Joan started to cry and put her head on God's shoulder. He gently wrapped his arm around her and directed her head to rest on his chest. For a few minutes neither spoke. But then the stillness was broken when God reached into the pocket of his coat and pulled out a handkerchief. He raised Joan's face and tenderly wiped away the tears. After her face was void of the tears she had just shed, he handed the handkerchief to her.
"Come on." He urged Joan to her feet just as the bus slowed to a stop. He stood up next to her and prodded her forward towards the front of the bus. As they disembarked he once again wrapped his arm around her and led her down the street toward her house. They walked in somber silence the block to her house and God guided Joan up the path to the front porch and lightly pushed her down onto the front steps and took a seat next to her down.
"Joan," God sighed and looked down at his folded hands. "I'm sorry this had to happen to you."
"Why does it hurt so much?" she asked as fresh tears coursed down her face.
"Unfortunately, this is a part of growing up. If I could take away this pain, I would." He consoled softly.
He opened his mouth to continue speaking, when the door opened and Joan's mother, Helen Girardi, looked out of the house. When she saw her daughter sitting on the front porch with a slightly familiar young man Helen paused. Then she looked closer and saw her daughter's red, tear ravaged eyes and became concerned.
"Joan? Are you alright? What happened?" she asked her daughter anxiously. When Joan shook her head as more tears traveled down her face followed by a heart wrenching sob, Helen left the doorway and knelt next to her daughter and shot a questioning glance at the boy next to Joan. She watched as the young man swiftly took a wadded up handkerchief out of Joan's hands and then proceeded to gently wipe away her tears. Once that was done he then wrapped his arms around her and hugged her tightly to him.
"Shhh. It's going to be okay, Joan. I promise." God whispered in Joan's ear as he soothingly rubbed her back.
"Joan, what's going on?" Helen asked more anxiously than before.
Joan slowly raised her head from God's shoulder and looked at her mother. "Adam. He… he…" She choked out brokenly. When she couldn't get the words out she shook her head at her mother and looked imploringly at God.
He nodded to Joan and then looked at Helen. "Joan found out that Adam has been cheating on her with Bonnie." He explained simply.
"What?" Helen exclaimed shocked.
"She found out at the mock trial today." God continued as Joan continued to cry quietly.
"Oh honey." Helen breathed out as she placed her hand on Joan's cheek. "I'm so sorry."
Joan just nodded and turned back to place her head on God's chest as silent tears continued to leak out of her eyes. After a few minutes, God felt Joan start to shake and pulled back far enough to look at her face. Her face had turned a pale greenish color. "Joan?" He asked worriedly. When he saw that she had her mouth clamped shut he swiftly raised to his feet and lifted Joan into his arms. He looked at Helen and said "Where is your bathroom?" He asked quickly.
Helen saw the worried look on the boy's face and quickly led him into the house to the downstairs bathroom. When she showed it to him, he easily pushed past her and gently set Joan on the carpet in front of the toilet. He promptly raised the lid just in time for Joan to empty her stomach. Helen watched as the boy smoothed Joan's hair away from her face and held it back while her daughter vomited into the commode.
Helen quickly opened the cupboard, pulled out two washcloths, and wet them. One she gently placed one on Joan's neck and the other she set on the edge of the sink. Then she grabbed a cup and filled it with water. When Joan had finally raised her head, Helen handed her daughter the water and the second washcloth.
Joan wiped her mouth and face and sipped the water. When the cup was empty she handed it back to her mother. Then she slumped dejectedly against the bathtub and raised her eyes to her mother.
When Helen saw the despondent and fatigued look in her daughter's eyes she knew that Joan wouldn't be moving anywhere on her own. Helen looked to the other teen in the room. "Would you mind helping me get to her bedroom?" She asked quietly. The young man didn't answer but gently picked up Joan and followed Helen to Joan's bedroom. Helen watched as the boy delicately placed Joan on her bed, pulled the covers up over her, sat down on the edge of the bed and then began to tenderly stroke Joan's hair.
"Joan." God said softly. When Joan turned her head to look at him, he continued. "I'm going to go so you can get some rest. If you need anything, call me and I'll be here. Okay?" When Joan nodded, God leaned down and kissed her forehead. "Have faith, Joan." He whispered and then he rose to his feet.
"I'll walk you out." Helen offered and led God to the front door. But before he could leave she stopped him. "Thank you. For everything." She said simply, unable to find more words to express herself.
God nodded. "If it's okay with you, I may come visit Joan tomorrow to see how she is doing." He said and then stepped out the door. Helen quietly closed the door behind the boy. Looking in the direction of her daughter's bedroom, she recalled the broken look that had been on Joan's face and headed back to tend to her daughter. But when she reached Joan's bedroom and saw that Joan had fallen asleep, Helen quietly slipped back out of the room and closed the door. Sighing with the pain that came whenever a mother's child was hurt, Helen went back downstairs to start making dinner.
Joan didn't awake until late the next morning. Good thing today is Saturday Joan thought, for she didn't want to have to face Adam at school right now. After she showered and dressed, Joan trudged downstairs. As she entered the kitchen, she saw that it was only occupied by her mother, who was sitting at the table grading papers. Joan silently went to the cupboard, grabbed a cup and filled it with juice from the refrigerator. Then she sat down next to her mother at the table.
"Where's everyone else?" Joan asked.
"Your father had to go into work for a little today, Kevin is at the gym with Bear and Luke is upstairs." Helen set her paperwork aside and looked at her daughter. "Do you want to talk about it?" she asked.
"I guess." Joan replied but made no effort to begin.
"Start at the beginning." Helen prompted.
"We were at mock trial. There was a recess and Grace, Adam and I were getting a drink. Bonnie came up and wanted to talk to Adam but he refused. I asked him what it was about and he gave me this lame excuse about losing some of her art supplies. He called her a freak. I don't know how, but then I knew something had been going on between them. Before I could confront him, the mock trial started up again and it was my turn to cross-examine Adam on the stand. I was so upset and mad. I didn't think it could get any worse, but after the trial was over he said that he had been sleeping with Bonnie. Because I wouldn't have sex with him, he slept with her." Joan explained hurtfully.
"Oh, honey." Helen said as she patted Joan's hand reassuringly.
"The last few weeks, when he was supposed to be working late, while he was 'special projecting', he was sleeping with Bonnie. I loved him. I loved him so much and he betrayed me in the worse way. I though I knew him better than anyone. How can I trust any relationship after something like this?" Joan asked her mother hopelessly.
"Not everyone will hurt you like this. You have to have faith in the good in people." Helen replied optimistically.
"Innocence." Joan whispered to herself in realization.
"Innocence is more than the absence of guilt. It is the ability to have faith in the face of cruelty and pain." Joan quoted smiling slightly, "That's what He said."
"Who?" Helen asked confused.
"The guy that was with me last night." Joan told her mother. "He's my friend."
"He seemed like a very good friend to take care of you like he did." Helen said to her daughter.
"He is." Joan said simply while standing up away from the table. "I'll be in my room." She said as she left the kitchen leaving her mother to finish her grading.
Not more than 30 minutes later, the doorbell rang. Helen rose from the kitchen table and went to answer the door. Once opening the door, Helen saw that it was her daughter's handsome young friend from the previous night.
"Hi, Mrs. Girardi, is Joan here?" God asked politely.
Helen smiled and held the door open further for him. "Yeah. Come on in. I'll get Joan." She said and headed halfway up the stairs. "Joan! You have company!" She yelled.
Upstairs, lying on her bed Joan heard her mother call her. Great Joan thought grumpily, it's probably Adam or Grace. Although she didn't want to see either of them she knew it would be better to get the confrontation over with so she got up and headed downstairs. As she came down the stairs and saw that it was God, she smiled. "Hey. What are you doing here?" She asked.
"I came to see how you were doing." God explained.
"I never did get your name yesterday." Helen said to God.
"You can call me Michael." God replied.
Joan walked to God and asked, "Do you want to go outside?"
"Yeah." He said simply and then opened the door behind him and held it for Joan. As they exited the house, God motioned Joan toward the porch swing to their left. They sat down and God gently set the swing moving with his foot. "So how are you doing? Did you sleep well?" He asked.
"Yes. Thanks for asking. And thanks for being there yesterday. It would have been a lot worse without you there. I know you probably had a million things that were more important that you could have been doing, but it really meant a lot that you stayed." Joan said quietly.
God took Joan's hand in his and smiled at her. "Joan, trust me when I say there was nothing more important to me than being here for you when you needed me. I would have never forgiven myself if I had just left you while you were hurting so badly."
Joan smiled back at him. "You're the only person that I know I can trust completely. You've always been there for me, even when I didn't want you to."
"And I always will be. I really like spending time with you, even when you're mad at me. Which lets face it, seems to be a large portion of the time." God said ruefully.
"Maybe in the beginning I was mad at you a lot. I though you were ruining my life. But everything works out better when you're around. At least when I pay attention." Joan said shrugging lightly.
"You're getting better at that." God reassured with a smile and they both fell silent and enjoyed the beautiful day.
They had been sitting on the porch for about an hour simply being comfortable in each other's presence when Joan saw Adam walking down the sidewalk that ran in front of her house. He was nearly 5 houses down but was definitely headed in her direction.
"I really don't want to see him today" she said to her companion.
"I know." God said in response.
"But I need to, don't I?" She continued looking back at God with a questioning look.
"It's up to you."
"Yeah." Joan said with a grimace. She sighed and looked back down the road to Adam who was now only a house away from hers. "It still hurts to think about it." She explained.
"I know. Do you want me to leave to give you some privacy?" He asked softly.
"Can you stay? I don't want to do this alone." Joan replied with a quiver in her voice.
God reached out and brushed her hair away from her face. "You're never alone, Joan. I'm always here." He said tenderly.
"I know. But can you stay?" She asked.
"Of course." He instantly replied.
Joan nodded and then stood up when Adam was near her driveway. She walked over to him. "What are you doing here?" She asked stonily.
Adam looked up at her and then at her house. When he saw God he looked back at Joan. "What's he doing here?" He asked jealously.
"That really is none of your business, now is it?" Joan asked coldly. "What are you doing here?" She repeated.
"I don't know. I just wanted to see you." Adam said mournfully.
"It's all about what you want, isn't it? Well for once, you get to do something I want. I want you to go away. Leave me alone." Joan said forcefully.
"For how long?" Adam asked sadly.
"I don't know. Until I can look at you without thinking about how badly you hurt me. I loved you with everything I had, Adam. And you deceived and betrayed me. You knew how hurt I would be if I found out and yet you still did it."
"I'm sorry, Jane." Adam said softly.
"Don't call me that. My name is Joan." Joan said firmly, turned around and walked back to the porch swing. By the time she got her emotions under control enough to look up, Adam was gone.
"Can we go for a walk?" She asked as she took a deep yet shaky breath and then looked at God. He just nodded and ushered her down the sidewalk, in the opposite direction Adam had headed. They started walking down a path that would eventually lead them back to Joan's house.
"That was hard." She said swallowing noisily after a few minutes.
"I know. A betrayal of this magnitude takes time to overcome. But I have faith in you. I know that you're hurting but I also know how strong you are. And just remember that everything happens for a reason. You may not understand at the moment, but you have to trust that I know what's best." He said comfortingly.
"I do." Joan said.
"Can I ask you something?" She asked a few minutes later. "I'll understand if you don't want to answer or don't think I should know." She waited until he nodded before continuing. "Why do you choose this form whenever I'm upset? Or mad at you?"
God smiled. "You've known me longest in this form. It's easier to be upset with someone you've known longer than someone you have only seen once or twice. You're more comfortable around some of my forms than others. I try to make it easier on you."
"Is that why you choose this one today? Because you knew I'd be upset? Because you knew Adam would come by?" Joan asked.
"Joan, I don't like to see anyone suffer needlessly, you especially more than others. You may think I only come around because I want you to do things for me, because you're an instrument, but that's not true. I enjoy being with you. You're the best friend I've ever had, Joan."
"Really?" She asked amazed.
"When I allow others to see me, to know me for who I really am, I get an entirely different reaction that I get from you. Some become frightened, some treat me with reverent awe. Anger is another common reaction. You treat me differently. Before you, no one who knew who I was ever joked with me. Or snipped. I look forward to you being snippy with me. I like seeing your reactions and hearing your responses. Many times it's the highlight of my day." God said with a smile.
"Wow." Joan breathed with a smile. "That's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me. But I really didn't mean to be snippy. At first I didn't believe you and then when I did, it was just a continued reaction."
"That's the best thing about it, Joan. You continued to be yourself. No one else has ever done that. Ever. The other reactions I get are honest but they aren't true. Many people try to hide their true personalities when they meet me. It's something I've become accustomed to but I've never liked it." God explained.
They lapsed into silence as Joan thought that over. After a few minutes another thought popped into her head and she turned to look at him. "Why did you tell my mom your name was Michael?"
"I figured it would be less shocking than some of the other names I've been called." He answered with a shrug.
"Do you want me to call you that?" Joan asked.
"You can if you want to. I didn't want you to have to lie to your parents because of me. Not when it's an easily resolved issue." He reasoned as they neared Joan's house.
Joan saw that both her father's and brother's cars were in the driveway. Glancing at her watch, Joan noticed that it was almost dinnertime. She hesitantly looked at God. "Do you want to stay for dinner?"
"Okay." He agreed and they entered the house.
"I'm back." Joan called. She headed toward the kitchen and motioned God to follow. "Mom? Is it okay if Michael stays for dinner?" she asked.
Helen turned from the sink and answered. "Of course. We're having spaghetti." She said as she turned back to the sink, picked up the vegetables she had been washing and set them on the cutting board. "Joan, would you stir the sauce?" she asked.
As Joan went to the stove, God looked at Helen. "Would you like some help, Mrs. Girardi?" He offered.
"If you want to cut these up for the salad that would be great!" Helen said motioning towards the vegetables. After handing him a knife, she turned to start setting the table.
As soon as Joan had finished stirring the spaghetti sauce she got out another knife and headed towards God to help chop. In an aside whisper she asked, "God cooks?"
"Chopping vegetables isn't exactly cooking, but yes." He answered with a smile. After they had finished chopping, they mixed all the ingredients together and went into the dining room. The food was placed on the table and God and Joan joined the rest of the Girardi family that was seated.
"Who's this?" Will Girardi asked his daughter.
"This is my friend Michael. Michael, this is my dad Will Girardi." Joan introduced. Then she pointed at her two brothers. "These are my brothers Luke and Kevin."
God nodded politely and said "It's a pleasure to meet you all."
"Where did you two meet?" Will asked in his cop voice.
"On the bus on the way to school." Joan said simply.
"You go to Arcadia High?" Helen asked God. "I thought you looked familiar."
"I've seen you there as well." Luke said.
Conversation drifted away from that subject and resumed to what passed as normal at the Girardi house. Soon dinner was over and Joan was walking God to the door.
"Come to the park tomorrow." God told Joan.
"What time?" Joan asked.
"Whenever. I'll meet you there." God said and then left.
That night Joan was in bed and was thinking about everything that God had said today. She was still shocked that he considered her to be his best friend but as she continued to think about it, she realized there had been clues along the way. One of those major clues jumped into her head.
Joan closed the bookstore door and locked it. She was ignoring Him.
"Want me to walk you home?" He asked.
"Nope." She said and turned away.
"Why not?" He asked following her.
"Because you're not real?" Joan asked sarcastically
God smiled "Then why are you talking to me?" He continued to keep pace with Joan as she tried to walk away. "You know I'm real, Joan. You've always known you're not crazy, and then you got a chance to see what it really looks like. Crazy is destructive. It tears down. I'm all about building up."
"Then I suggest you take up carpentry." Joan snarked.
"What do you think this is all about?" He said with a gesture that encompassed everything around them.
"Uh, you, I suppose."
"It's a creation, Joan. It's not a destruction. And that's what I want you to do. I want you to be creative. I want you to build things." He said encouragingly.
"I build lamps!" She defended.
"Relationships, possibilities, connections." He explained patiently and then took a book out of his inside coat pocket. "Look, have you read this?"
Shocked, Joan sputtered, "You stole that!"
Shrugging, He said, "Well, technically, everything's mine. It's about a house called Howard's end. The house is symbolic."
Joan sighed, "Yes, I know. I read it in lit class. All these English people running around misunderstanding each other because of their manners. Everything goes horribly wrong, just like in every English novel."
Patiently, He handed her the book that was open to a page near the front. "You know, I like what's written at the beginning here. Would you read it for me?"
"Only connect." Joan read tearing up. She looked back at him, "You hurt me. Really bad. Why should I trust you again?"
"Why did you ever?" He replied softly.
She sighed again. "Look, we had some good times. And I'm fine with you being, you know, the divine "it." But I don't want to see you anymore." Joan looked down, trying to ignore the hurt look on God's face. "It's not you. It's me. I…I'm just…I'm not the girl for you. I…I had... a taste of normal, and...I really liked it, you know? I really enjoyed being optimistic and...making my lamps." She ended trying to justify herself to… herself.
God looked away and sighed. When he looked back there were tears in His eyes. "Don't you miss me a little?" He asked hopefully.
"No." She replied hastily, knowing that both of them knew she was lying. She sniffled, "Please go."
"Do you miss yourself? Because I do." He replied softly. He waited a few seconds to see if she would respond and when she didn't, looking a little dejected, he walks across the street. Even his wave was a pathetic attempt.
Joan stood on the street corner and tried not to cry, suddenly feeling like she lost her best friend.
Joan sniffled as she thought about that incident and then how over the next few days she saw him many times with that sad yet hopeful look on his face, asking if she had changed her mind about seeing him. And then the sad and dejected look when she told him to leave. She remembered what God had said today about liking Joan being herself and then recalled how after crazy camp he asked if she missed herself. "Because I do" He had said.
Wow, she thought how bad did I hurt him with the ignoring and mean words? I need to apologize for that. Tomorrow Joan thought as she fell asleep.
The next day found Joan headed toward the park. When she arrived she quickly scanned the area for any familiar forms. When she didn't see anyone she knew she decided to head toward a large oak tree and sat down, leaning up against the trunk.
"Hello, Joan." She heard and looked up to find God in his Goth look.
"Hey." She replied as he sat down next to her.
"How are you doing today?" He asked.
"Don't you already know the answer to that?" Joan asked.
"Yes, but asking gives you a chance to think about the answer and that is something that helps." He explained.
"Better." She replied in response to his previous question.
"You know, I was thinking last night and I never apologized to you. After I got back from crazy camp, that night you came to the bookstore, I was really hurtful towards you. I'm sorry." She apologized.
"Your reaction was honest, Joan." He reasoned.
"Yes, but I didn't have to be so mean to you." Joan reasoned.
"It's in the past." He said, shrugging.
Joan nodded. "So why did you want me to meet you here?"
"Why, Joan?" He said with a smirk.
"Yeah, yeah. I know. You don't answer the 'whys'."
"It's a beautiful day. I wanted to spend time with you. I wanted to come to the park with my friend. Take your pick."
"But aren't you busy today? I mean more than other days? It's Sunday, after all"
"I can do more than one thing at a time, be more than once place at a time. Being omniscient helps." He explained with a smile. For the remainder of the day they spent time, just being with each other. They talked about everyday things and walked around the park. At the times Joan thought about Adam, God would simply hug her or hold her hand to show that he understood and was there for her.
The next day, Joan awoke with a grimace. Today was Monday and she knew she would have to see Adam at school. They had several classes together and Joan knew it would not be easy to avoid him. Getting ready for the day, Joan thought back to yesterday and the time spent with God. She had had a great time. He had made her day fly by without too much time spent moping and thinking about Adam's betrayal.
Looking at the clock, Joan exclaimed at the time. She grabbed her backpack, ran down the stairs and out of the house. Walking to school, Joan thought about how she should deal with Adam today. She still hadn't decided on a plan of action when she reached the school. Her first class was AP Physics, where she would have to sit next to Adam. Great she though with a sigh.
But upon entering the Physics classroom, Joan discovered that Adam had moved to a different table. Joan approached her normal seat and plopped down next to Grace.
"Hey." Grace greeted.
Joan would have said more but the physics teacher, Ms. Lischak rapped her wand against a table. "Lets begin."
The rest of the day went by fairly quickly. Adam didn't try to initiate any conversation with Joan and she found that made things easier. When the final bell rang for the day, Joan headed toward her locker and stopped. There leaning against the wall was none other than God in his cute boy form. Joan smiled and walked up to him. While putting her books in her locker she greeted him.
"Hello Joan. Want me to walk you home?" He asked
"Are you real?" She retorted and was pleased to see a smile form on his face. "Let's go." She continued closing her locker and they left the school building heading toward Joan' house.