‘The pain of being human,’ Paul began, ‘is realizing Jesus is human, now, forever.’ He was pouring a glass of orange juice. And there I saw in the pulp, the faces of people who were to come. People who were going to tear, nip, and break from Paul. ‘They will break from the disaster… this disaster.’ The resurrection, that is, that is the disaster.
‘Homer brought us all to the gods,’ Paul continued, ‘that we had something they envied, mortality.’ Rolling the glass across the counter, he sat by toast stacked a foot high. ‘We had desire, we had love, they couldn’t without trivializing it.’ Cupping his hands, he straightened the stack like a game of jenga. ‘They couldn’t even die!’
‘Jesus brought god to us,’ Paul sat his chin atop the toast, ‘he showed us he had something we envied, desire.’ Feathering a finger between two pieces of toast, Paul pulled out a slice without tumbling the stack. ‘We had only begun to desire while Jesus eclipsed everything with pleasure.’ Pulling apart the slice of toast, Paul slowly fed himself with slivers of crust. ‘That he had pleasure beyond the beautiful.’
‘In the ugly, this god found the climax of pleasure.’ Paul began piling the crumbs with the eraser of a pencil. ‘In the pile of dung, we call our lives,’ Paul plugs his ears, ‘the subjection of god to a body.’ Taking a match, Paul lights it upon his teeth. ‘That he rose again in the same body- sure say glorified, but the same nonetheless. It was ashes.’
‘Being the most affectionate being, why have we thought this disgusting?’ Paul lights the ring of his crumbs. The orange glow slowly wraps around the base of the crumbs. Like the logic of a firewall, the ring of fire enclosed the crumbs acting as a wildfire. ‘That if we want desire, if we really want pleasure, it must be in the raw.’
‘The end for which god created everything was himself,’ Paul placed his hands around the fire. It looked as if he was filing his finger-nails against the flame. ‘I imagine Jesus will be naked in Heaven.’ Placing a spoon of butter in the fire, Paul listens to the crackles.
‘He is teaching us to be human. He has simplified everything so that we would not mistake anything.’ Paul takes a spoon of the crumbs on fire and, slowly without moving his head, places the pile on his tongue. ‘He did all of this by show, the stakes were too high, he had to show us exactly what he meant by pleasure.’