The lake was finally drying up; his childhood friend was dying. Its increasing muddiness reminded him of his own spirituality—a doubtful journey as of late. He opened his bible and took out the postmortem report. Years ago, it was all about one of their patrons. Together the church had fervently prayed for this young woman. While she was suffering from a severe ailment, she refused to see a doctor because she wanted to keep the faith. She was confident that God was the Ultimate Healer. But her situation never improved. When she gave up the ghost, he wept and asked God the reason why. If he were God, he told the lake, the world would know no darkness, no evil, no pain. Not even the scarcity of rain. If he were God, all good prayers would be answered. Focusing again on the report, he skipped the medical jargon for the cause. It read:
Malignant growth in the gastrointestinal tract
He had secretly taken his wife’s remains to a medical examiner who concluded that she died from cancer. Rectal cancer—it was the same disease that claimed the life of their female patron. If only his wife had earlier asked for a doctor, if only she had taken the bold step of going contrary to their infamous doctrine, such sorrow would be averted. Flipping the bible a few pages backward, he took out three letters. The sender was a regular. She was his oldest convert. Once again, she wanted to know if God was alive. If so, why did he choose the path of silence? Perhaps he was on a world tour like some rock star. She wanted to know if cancer was one of the inevitable signs of the End-Time. After all these years, was trusting God the right thing to do? He folded the letters.
He wanted to tell her, as he usually did, to trust God. But how could he at this point? Getting to his feet, he sadly cast the letters into the lake and headed home. He got himself drunk, hoping it would help fight the resident grief which was about to claim him. Raindrops clattering on rooftops woke him up. It was already morning. Little children rushed out of their homes just to feel cool touch of rain on their skins. As he watched excitedly from his room window, a question mark formed in the glass. From his heart came was the question itself. Shamefully, he knew the answer. He went down on his knees, feeling sorry for himself as he prayed.