Donald and Dahlia stood outside of Johnny's building. They were in one of those Queens neighborhoods that looked like a squished-together suburbia. There was a dribbly fountain on the lawn, in which Donald saw the girders of all existence: gravity, water, light, motion, cohesion - unity and dislocation.
"This is the one time I wish I was Jesus," he said.
"You are Jesus," said Dahlia predictably.
"No, I can't do anything."
"You could tear down that building if you wanted to. Lift her out of the ashes. You could bring her out of any coma, out of death itself."
"No, no I can't."
"But you are the Son of God."
"God," said Donald. "I feel God all around me. It's overwhelming, really. His will works itself out all around me. But I don't control it. It's not God's will for this building to fall. It's not God's will for Sarah to wake up in my arms. If ever I wanted anything to happen, it was that."
"I know you can heal her," said Dahlia.
"I can't heal anybody. People are healed by faith. I know it. I can feel it happening. They heal themselves."
Echoes of scripture were collecting in Dahlia's mind.
"You're resisting temptation," she said, "like Jesus did."
"There's nothing to resist. I have no choice."
"Yes, you do. It's just that you made it so strongly that you can't even see it. Maybe Jesus saw the same thing in the desert, saw that God's plan was working itself out, saw that he could not interfere."
"Jesus raised people from the dead," he replied. "I can't do that. I can't stop worrying about Sarah. I can't say, 'Oh, I'll just raise her from the dead if anything goes wrong.' I have to protect her now. But I can't even do that."
"Remember your past," said Dahlia, and Donald started at these words. "You couldn't stop your friends from betraying you. You couldn't keep from dying alone. You couldn't redeem the world without suffering yourself."
"I don't remember any of that."
"I don't know why I didn't deny everything from the beginning."
"Because it's true," answered Dahlia. She suddenly felt irrelevant. Donald was battling Satan. She couldn't help him. He didn't need her help. He was Christ Triumphant.
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