At one fifteen in the morning John felt little motivation to continue conversing with Klein. He seemed like a nice kid but it had been over sixteen hours since he’d started his bus ride and what he really wanted was to get a solid eight hours before his five thirty Chicago arrival time. Basic clock and math skills showed the impossibility of this desire being fulfilled but regardless of its impossibility that’s still what he wanted. After a few minutes of silence Klein turned his head to look out the bus window; staring at the monotonous nighttime scene on I-57 through which they traveled at a speed just north of one-hundred feet per second. John removed his coat, balled it up as a pillow, closed his eyes and pretended to himself that he was asleep, dismally aware that while he wasn’t really awake he surely wasn’t sleeping either.
His self-delusion must have been prophetic because even though he was certain that he hadn’t been sleeping he found himself jolted awake when the bus pulled off the highway and had to stop at a red light. “I got a text from my buddy,” Klein reported. “He said he should be at the bus station a little before two. Looks like it shouldn’t be long now. Kinda like that circumcision joke you made earlier. I googled bris. Funny.”
“Glad you think so. Pretty sure that joke’s like six thousand years old.”
“Yeah,” Klein agreed. “That makes sense. Genesis seventeen; ‘Every male among you shall be circumcised.’”
John’s eyes opened and his head swiveled to his left. “For real? You’re a chapter and verse kind of guy?”
“Sure,” Klein answered, nodding his head vigorously. “Well, mostly the four Gospels along with some Genesis and Revelations. I’ve been studying the Bible since before I could read. Everything we need to have paradise on Earth is found between those pages.”
John just nodded. “So what were you talking about with that temptation stuff before? I thought you meant, well, you know.”
Klein shrugged and made a face. “Just because we’re believers doesn’t mean we don’t fall victim to temptation.”
John stroked his chin and said, “That’s for sure. Temptation can be a powerful thing.”
“You’re a Christian?” Klein asked, a huge grin spreading over his face.
“Very much so. God is very important to me.”
“And you to him. Why bless you, brother.”
John nodded and smiled. He was pretty sure that his Roman Catholic faith wasn’t exactly the same brand as Klein’s so he just let it go. One thing he’d learned while living in The South was that the loving umbrella of ecumenicalism frequently didn’t extend to RC’s. The last thing he wanted to do was start some silly argument with a fellow believer about the merits and demerits of different Christian sects. Belief in Jesus was what counted, he’d leave the hair-splitting to the Pharisees.
He snorted as he realized that Roseanna Langdon’s turning away from Catholicism in Some Luck was a sort of Fun House Mirror inversion of his re-embracing his faith. ‘Fascinating, Doctor,’ he thought to himself. In any case, there was no sense opening a can of worms, especially one that revolved around the Diet of Worms. “Bless you too. So, you feeling better?”
“About me and Allison? Yeah. I just need to do right by her and pray that she does the same for me. She’s a great girl; I can count on her.’
“Just don’t let her think that you’re taking her for granted. Do stuff, call her, write her, send her stuff. You ever write her any poems or letters?”
John stared at Klein for three seconds before asking, “Really? That’s all you got? If you love her let her know. E-mail her love letters, write her some silly verse, you know, ‘Rose are red, Violets are blue, I love Allison, and will always stay true.’ Or better, if you can. Silly, heartfelt, whatever. Just let her know.”
“No. I know.”
“Okay. Okay, I will. Starting tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow’s already here, dude. E-mail her when you get home, then she’ll wake up to it.”