A little girl in pigtails came up to me last week while I was sitting in the cafÃ©. I looked at her and smiled. She smiled back, and then, with nothing else to do, I returned to my writing while she was standing right next to me, staring at me.
âYes, little girl?â
âAre you a Christian?â
Oh Jesus, I thought. I was never that great with little kids and now I really had to come up with something good, something tactful, something to keep myself calm while, at the same time, not making her run off screaming devil and crying hysterically.
âWhy?â That was the best I could do? Okay. Okay, I asked why, thatâs okay.
âBecause, if, if youâre not, youâll go to hell. I donât want you to go to hell.â
âI donât believe in hell.â
Her mouth dropped open and I looked around to see who my audience was. I had two gray-haired women staring at me, one through her spectacles, the other one from over her spectaclesâ rims.
âBut there is a hell.â
âI donât think so.â
âWhy not, itâs in the bible.â
Here it goes. Now I have to look like a jerk and be a pain in the ass with a little girl in pigtails. âI donât read the bible.â
âYou should. Youâll go to hell if you donât.â
âYou forget, I donât believe in hell.â
âJust because you donât believe in it doesnât mean it doesnât exist.â
âDo you believe in Lala land?â I asked her.
âWhatâs Lala Land?â
âA lot of people already live there and they donât believe it.â
âIs it in the bible?â
âI donât know, I donât read the bible.â
âDo you go to church?â
âNot your church.â
âBut you go to a church?â
âListen little girlâ¦youâre really cute and all, but I donât believe in Jesus.â
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