Jenna, you with all your emailing – you think everyone is the same. You won’t email me but you’ll email Todd. Do you even know his last name? It just shows how far you’ve fallen to think one person’s the same as the next. But you’re my girlfriend, and if my love is not enough, don’t turn to other men. Cause with all the love you’re looking for, you could email ten thousand guys and still you’d be wanting more, cause they’d only be emailing when the mood strikes, you know it, there’s no more to it for Todd than a little entertainment, something to make the day go by faster. But God doesn’t love like that. He doesn’t love you and give you all the riches in the world and his only son just to make the days go by faster, to make an ordinary day a little less boring. That’s the total love you’re really in search of, but you’re not going to get it over the internet with all those men who are just as lost as you are, Jenna. What can Todd give you but his brokenness? But God will never toss you around, reply and then not reply, and all the other things that disappoint you in your search for so much love that you don’t know what to do with it all. I’m giving you all I can, but I have problems, too, you know. Someone comes in and needs my help, I can’t just email with you all day long. I have to go check the shelves or whatever.
But God never has to put aside the time. He doesn’t have co-workers causing him problems. All he’s there to do is love you, and all those guys you’re wasting your youth’s precious energy with emailing them all day, well, God’s love doesn’t make a woman haggard and bitter like those boys you’re so impressed with. You’re going to be an exhausted old hag, hanging there on a thread, with your emotions thrown up and down, and you – one of God’s greatest fruits! – you’re going to have a face like a seafarer.
Now – just look at the trees outside your window and the warm sun on your face and your typing hands and your beautiful brain. It all comes from Him. They are his gifts to you, better than any email, right? And once you know him, you’ll see him everywhere, in everything! You’ll never be awaiting his reply because all you’ll have to do is turn your eyes to the world, where the greatest goodness there could ever be is replying and replying and replying.
Jenna, you better start loving God now, cause the years are passing, and when I screw you, I can see there are little hairs in your ass that weren’t there before, so I’m just telling you that you better find him soon. Cause you were a different girl then, when we first met, when guys used to look you up and down on the street, and all of them wanted to fuck you. The sun is setting on those days, Jenna, so I’m just telling you that you better find God while he still can be found.
What’s that they say? That His love never ceases? Yep, so you go find yourself a place in his light and I will too, cause I know with my luck there’s not going to be anyone who’s going to start loving me once our love starts failing, which you know it will cause we’ve got no roots for it, and that’s what they say about God’s love – it’s the soil in which all the beautiful things grow. That’s what we need, Jenna, cause our friends have problems enough of their own without attending to ours, like how are Paul and Christine ever going to help us, those assholes. I mean, they’re all right, not terrible people, but you know all we need is some beautiful soil, Jenna.
So you just hold onto me tight and never start distracting yourself with other men. Quit your emailing and you just take a good look at the great shining world which is reaching out for you right now. Let’s go find Him together, and make for ourselves the sort of life our grandparents used to have, knowing that if they loved each other with their backs to God, their love would wither up, but if they loved each other facing God, it would last and last. That’s why I think you and I should just go to him like little lambs, like how you wondered once to me, How do all the ugly people do it – get by – being so lonely and unloved?
You know they do it with God’s love, over and over again. That’s how they did it and that’s how we’re going to do it, cause there’s no human that’s going to be able to love you as much as you want to be loved, Jenna honey, and you can count me in among them. Just can’t do it, honey.
Sheila Heti is the author of eight books of fiction and non-fiction, including the novels Ticknor, Motherhood, and How Should a Person Be? and the story collection, The Middle Stories. She was named one of "The New Vanguard" by The New York Times book critics; a list of fifteen women writers from around the world who are "shaping the way we read and write fiction in the 21st century." In 2013, Time listed her as one of 150 Most Influential People in World. Her books have been translated into twenty-one languages. She lives in Toronto.