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God, look at that sun shine. The sun is beautiful; hell, everything is beautiful. The rows of multicolored columns in my bookshelf are beautiful. That black spider currying up the wall in the corner is beautiful. The smell of last night's General Cho's Chicken served over white rice is beautiful. Everything under the sky in heaven and above the fires in hell is absolutely, unbelievably beautiful. But these are just small observations whose beauty is amplified by the presence of the true beauty that lies beside me, with her arm resting across my stomach and her head on my chest. Her mix of dark and highlit strands swept behind her head and to the side, near my armpit. A thigh over my leg, a slender foot resting on my shin. The smell of her sweat, smell of her hair... her smell. All of it, every bit. Beautiful.

"Will God forgive us for what we're doing?" A wind chime, singing the melodies of the angels by way of the heavenly voice from between her two thin pink lips. I'm so caught up in the beauty of existence that I don't listen.

"What?"

"I asked, 'Will God forgive us for what we're doing?'"

She’s joking, I’m sure. It's just such a strange thing to ask. But, as she pulls away to look at me, I see that she's not smiling. In fact, she looks pretty damn serious about it. I take a deep breath, making sure my chest rises and settles, and move my arm higher until I can feel her shoulder blade against the hair on my forearm. It's something I've learned over the years; show that you're listening when you don't know what to say.

Finally, I realize I may as well voice what's in my mind. “What do you mean, ‘will God forgive us’?”

She doesn't hesitate. “I mean, do you think He’ll forgive us? You know, for having sex?”

Forgive us for having sex? Having sex? What is she, fifteen? She wants forgiveness for experiencing the most beautiful, intimate, passionate aspect of human existence? How can she even think of that now, as we lie together in bed, draped over one another as two bodies melded into one. And good lord, look at her eyes...

“Why would he have to forgive us? We’ve done nothing wrong.”

“Maybe you don’t think we’ve done something wrong, but He says we have.”

This is getting funny. "He 'says,' really? Did he speak to you?"

"Of coure not. Please don't mock me. My relationship with God means a lot to me."

Jesus fuckin’ Christ. “I just don't get the question. Are you saying this feels wrong to you? Am I evil to you? Do you think I’m here to corrupt your soul?”

“Well, you are being really harsh about it.” The rims of her eyelids are glistening. “You know I'm a Christian." I do? I must've missed that during the preamble last night. "It means a lot to me, okay? Please, just tell me what you think. Will God forgive us?”

She's joking. She has to be. "Look, I get it. You're a religious person. But you're kidding, right?"

She pulls away from me then, moving her one leg to the floor followed by the other. Hair draped around her face as she peers down for a second to ensure her footing, then uses her arm to push herself upright. I'm lying there on my back, naked, watching as she climbs over me; there is not a thought in my head.

She walks her dainty self to the other end of the room. Pitter, her feet pitter across the floor. Pumf, pumf, pumf. The soft heel-toe that only small, delicate girls can accomplish. Breasts don’t pitter, but just slightly jiggle. Hers aren’t as large as others, so it’s just slightly. Watching her thighs clench, buttocks tighten with every pumf. She pitters across the hardwood floor of my apartment. Past the corner of the bed, near the fridge and bathroom door. She’s going for the bookshelf?

Her fingers touch on the books, from one to the next. “Where’s your Bible?

Fuck me, she is not kidding. And how does she know I even have a Bible?

“Why?”

“I want to read you a passage.” Amazing. She’s actually going to go for a sermon.

“Why does it fuckin’ matter?” Really, why does it? “I suppose the rule is no sex before marriage? So, we’re breakin’ religious law. What’re we to do now? Repent? Kneel and beg for his almighty fuckin’ mercy?

“You don’t have to shout, or curse.”

I’m shouting? "Yes, you are, and it's very disrespectful." For a couple of moments I relapse, and it's Sunday school all over again. But only for a couple of moments.

"Look, this is ridiculous. Come back to bed. It's early, it's sunny," at least it was, "and you and I can talk this out without resorting to spouting scripture."

Not a word. Where's the effusive gal who told me about her escapades as a rambunctious college student in Louisiana? I want her back.

She finds it on her own. The Bible, which I've been promising myself to read (eventually), is brand new if slightly dusty. It's one of those study bibles with footnotes which may as well be titled "The Bible for Dummies."

"Have you ever even read this?" She's leafing through the pages now, that same serious expression still twisting the beauty of the smile that shined down on me no more than an hour ago. She settles on a page and looks up, holding the book with one hand and using the index finger from her other hand to keep her place.

"'You have heard that the law of Moses says, Do not commit adultery. But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust in his eye has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So if your eye - even if it is your good eye - causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.'"

She pauses to glance at me. I have no words. I'm not even here.

"'And if your hand - even if it is your stronger hand - causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.'"

She pauses again, holding the opened book against her flattened stomach and ribs. The cover of the book rests just an inch or two below her breasts.

"So I ask you, again: Will God forgive us for what we're doing?"

She’s fucking naked! She’s giving me a sermon, asking me if I think God’ll forgive us, and she’s standing there at the foot of the bed with the Bible in her hand pressed against her stomach, and she’s fuckin’ naked. God, this moment is beautiful. I could cum (again) thinking of this moment. If my mind were a VHS tape… well, you know about the worn out points in VHS tapes.

She shakes her head gently, places the Bible back on the bookshelf, and turns around. Son of a bitch, she's picking up her clothes.

Wait, wait! Yes, all right? God’s going to forgive us. We are sharing our love with one another – physically and spiritually. That can't be wrong.”

She slips on her panties, the lacy black pair that landed on the counter in the middle of the night. I’m losing her.

"We can pray! I mean, that's how it works, isn't it? We pray for forgiveness."

Slinking back into the black dress. She pulls it up to her waist, stomach and chest still bared. One arm beneath a strap. "I didn't ask you to pray. I asked you if you thought God would forgive--"

"And I said I think he would." Sitting on the edge of the bed now, the sheet over my lap. "He will forgive us, because as I said we've done nothing wrong. We are two people, and for a night we shared ourselves. Please," patting the bed, "come back."

That one strap over her shoulder, looking me in the eyes like someone looks at a faraway sign or really tiny text. I don't know what to say.

She sighs and quickly pulls up the other strap. "The blood of the wicked can be as sweet as virgin honey."

What? What kind of response is that? "What the fuck does that mean?"

"You're a weak man, sweetie. You should work on that." She smiles. She fucking smiles, then looks away and puts on her flats. The dainty feet don’t pitter as she walks to the door and shuts it, loudly, behind her.

Sitting on my bed, wondering what the hell just happened, and all I can think is “fuckin’ God.”

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