The evening had followed the usual pattern. A pleasant if minimalistic meal, a few glasses of wine, a recount of the day so far and then, as the alcohol and tiredness kicked in. “You have to grow out of it sooner or later, you can't spend the rest of your life taking offence if somebody passes a thoughtless remark or looks at you the wrong way, not everything in life is there to be taken on board. The world is not stacked up against you alone, not every day, just take it, walk away, suck it up.” Denise never took Henry's response to her problems very well. She was now a little more upset, firstly at recalling this afternoon’s incident and trotting it out and then, as ever, at Henry's reply.
“You never, ever see my side! Do you think I'm unable to take a mature view of things? You think
I'm an emotional retard? Her voice had risen an octave and she was wagging her finger. The pointed red nail on her index finger seemed to add inches to the digit and confirm the ferocity of her comeback. Henry had heard it all before and recognised the proximity of the tipping point. Denise saw the same thing and rather than mount a rescue mission pushed further across the line. A series of familiar, emotional and insulting terms left both of their lips, their bodies arched and held poses like cats strutting and battling for territory. They closed up, circled one another, scored imaginary hits and points, then moved back.
The temperature in the room seemed to rise, Henry loosened his collar, Denise removed her cardigan and angrily tossed it across the couch. Both were equally animated to the point that a mushroom cloud of pouting, hissing steam was almost discernible between them. As a critical mass was reached the pair paused and each slugged a glass of wine as if it was both ammunition and lubrication. Each took a few moments to process the liquid and then the action resumed, roughly in the same place they'd left it. Of course it was beyond any structured or rational argument and as if to underline the stupidity of the situation.It was a routine bust up over something neither one was quite clear about.
DRRIINGG! The doorbell's shrill tone interrupted. Without a word Henry broken off from the proceedings and headed for the door, Denise was in his wake acting as if she didn't quite trust him to answer the door properly. Ready for just about anything Henry unlocked the door and opened it up in a rather dramatic fashion and lunged out towards the door bell ringer. There on the doorstep stood a bearded man in a grey tunic, he had a serious look on his face. The look stopped Henry and Denise in their tracks, mouths open they said nothing and held a frozen pose awaiting the stranger's words.
“Henry, Denise.” Said the man in a heavy, brown, foreign sounding accent. “Please allow me to introduce myself, I am the Lord Jesus, the Saviour of the World.”
Henry laughed immediately and almost spat out his response, “Go away!” Denise marvelled at Henry's restraint but found her own words, ready in her head had frozen and she couldn't quite speak. Henry was lowering his voice, responding to the lack of any response from Jesus. “OK sir,” said Henry, “what is the cause or the charity, I'm always happy help.”
“Henry, Denise.” Jesus looked at both of them, he held out his two hands, palms open. “I bring my peace to you and your household, I bring a blessing.” “OK sir,” said Henry attempting a second turn around, “I... err we appreciate the visit but please excuse us...” Jesus seemed to ignore Henry's words gazed at them both and was suddenly beside them in the hallway. Denise thought he seemed to be floating, she thought of her wine, now her head was fuzzy. Jesus was moving around the hallway, like Jesus would. Henry and Denise were moving also but unsure what to do and both strangely unable to counter or redirect the divine interloper.
Ten o’clock the next morning, first Henry's mobile phone rang then a few seconds later it was Denise's. Henry listened as a colleague asked why he was not with his clients at the meeting and was everything OK. Denise's assistant was wondering why she hadn't shown up for the pre-audit briefing. Henry was calm, serene almost, he was sitting on the carpet, legs crossed and beaming. Denise was also sitting on the floor, her back straight against the lounge wall, her hands were in her lap and she seemed to be staring at her toes. They were still in yesterday’s clothing and oblivious to both time and location. Their return phone conversations were perfectly synchronised, the words being almost identical and both delivered in a slightly toneless and unemotional manner. “Everything is fine, I'm fine, don't worry but it's unlikely that I'll be a work today. I'm busy, in fact I'm at home, at peace, sitting at the feet of the Lord Jesus.”
“Denise, I really do love you.” “Henry, I really do love you too and now that we both have Jesus in our lives...”
In the kitchen the radio was on a local channel burbling away at the tail end of a news bulletin, neither Henry or Denise were in earshot. “Valley residents are warned to beware of a con-man rumoured to be working the area. He may well use a hypnotic technique, a disguise or a costume to fool the public and so gain entry to your house and possibly rob or assault you. This man is a very dangerous individual wanted on a number of incidents, if you any information please contact the local police department immediately. Repeat...”