I sat huddled against him, his hand gently patting my shoulder. He wore his compassionate smirk.
“I told you to quit drinking,” he said.
I sobbed. “You’re going to ‘I-told-you-so’ me? You’re the son of freakin’ God, and the best you can do is ‘I told you so’?”
He shrugged. I curled around my knees again, sniffing.
“I’m not drinking anymore.”
“I believe you this time,” he said.
I glanced sideways at him. “And you’re still not going to tell me to stop hanging out with Phoenix?”
He stroked his eternal five o’clock shadow, squinting at me thoughtfully. “I’d tell you to ditch him if it were necessary in order to save yourself, or him. But that doesn’t apply here, Tink. Not yet. I still think this can be a healthy relationship, if you step carefully and quit drinking…like I told you.”
“Why would I tell you to ditch a good friend just because he has problems, or because he fucked up? Would you ditch a good friend just because other people don’t like him? Is that how you want to be treated?”
“Yeah, I’d have zero friends left if that’s how everyone behaved, and that doesn’t seem like something Jesus would do. It’s just…I’m not the best influence. I don’t know what good I’m doing him.”
“I think you’re doing a lot of good that you can’t see. And, in a roundabout way, he’s making your life better, as well.”
“If you’re going to tell me ‘everything happens for a reason’, save your breath and say it with a cross-stich pattern instead.”
He laughed. “I’m not going to say that. Some things are just senseless, Tinkerbell, and all this could have been avoided if you’d quit drinking like I said. But you tend towards the more grandiose fuck-ups, and if hitting bottom is what it takes for you to change, so be it. You can’t carve clay and you can’t mold wood, but you can make a beautiful sculpture out of either if you work it correctly.”
I gazed at him, wiping my nose on my sleeve. “I just can’t really see what the Divine Plan is on this one, Invisible Friend Jesus.”
He cocked an eyebrow. “The Divine Plan is a conspiracy theory. I’m just teaching you to practice compassion and love for yourself and others. I don’t know how this story ends, any more than you do. It’s entirely up to you.”