by Gae Rusk

God owns a convenience store in Vancouver. This is true. It’s on Broadway, and God sells everything there, lottery tickets, pastries, good beers, but what I needed was cash, so I parked and went in to use the store’s convenient ATM. It actually worked, so God even sells money at his store.

To run this business, God made himself look like a middle aged man from Bangladesh, or maybe the east India coastline, and, this time around, God made me look like a middle-America Caucasoid, which isn’t horrible and isn’t wonderful and has both helped and hindered me. Anyway, God startled me when I entered the store; I think I startled him right back.

After getting my cash, I felt a strong need to buy something to legitimize my use of God’s ATM. But what? Not fruit pies. Not fancy air fresheners, not arthritis-repelling bracelets, but what? I circled the store, drawn as usual to the candy rack. I love candy, and I love that God sells candy, and I was thinking just this thought when I spied the rolls of pink grapefruit Mentos©.

I’d heard about them from other Mento junkies. One gal I know claims she found purple grape Mentos© in Tokyo, and I’d suffered Mento©-envy ever since hearing that, even though I only half-believed her. But now I’d found actual pink grapefruit Mentos© for sale on Broadway in Vancouver in God’s extra-crowded convenience store.

I quickly pulled out one of the $20 Canadian direct from the ATM and paid for three rolls of candy. I wanted them all, all the rolls, thirty or more, but I couldn’t practice greed right there in front of God. So, I plunked the $20 right down by that meager amount of candy, and it was then God grabbed my hands and studied my two rings.

They are reddish-purple stars, either rubies or sapphires, depending on whom you believe. One is set in silver, the other in gold. I’d had the gold one made in Kathmandu many years ago; my older daughter gave me the silver one. I wear them on the same finger, the marriage finger, twined together into one large ring. I wear them there to remind me I am wed to my children and wed to myself, and it’s soley up to me to nurture both.
Anyway, God took the Mentos© from my grip and lay them back on the counter where I worried they would roll away, but they didn’t budge. God studied my rings and then my hands, and then he asked my birth date – God forgot my birthday? What did that mean?

God studied my numbers and told me many true things right there at the checkout counter. He worked out my numerology on a sales slip, and the results made him smile. Then he worked the numbers for my three kids, for my parents, for my ex-husband, even for my first boyfriend, and I was completely hypnotized by it all.

God’s hands were rough and dry. They were perfectly warm and slightly vibrating. His eyes compelled me to listen and remember all he said as he read my palms like the lyrics of two psalms in a key I vaguely recognized.

When I had to leave, pulled away from this encounter by a dinner date with my publisher, God urgently pulled me back. He leaned forward, intimate now, and told me I have a big angel living in my heart. A really big angel, he said. Huge! he insisted. Enormous! he added.

According to God, at least half my heart is filled with this lively angel, who irradiates my blood and drives my deeds and generally lights the runway of life for me and for anyone else who lands nearby.
God finally let go of my hands. I looked at them to see if the pulsing sensation was visible. My hands looked normal, but the two ring stones were reflecting brilliant stars and no light beam was hitting them.

God blessed me as I stumbled off. He warned me to drive more carefully from now on, he’d noticed my tendency to be other-minded alot of the time. I marveled that he knew me so well. Then I drove more erratically than ever because my angel was wide-awake and doing Pilates© in my chest, and it was hard to hold the wheel with my hands still tingling and buzzing.

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