On their third date, Lester told Emma the truth.
“You’re God?” asked Emma.
Lester laughed. “No. Not God. Not like you would define it. Not some guy who sits in the clouds with a great white beard and passes judgment on how often you touch yourself.”
Lester was handsome (though not too handsome), successful (though not too successful), and funny (though not too funny). He wasn’t the image of a supreme being Emma would have conjured in her imagination. Maybe God’s younger, less ambitious cousin. She believed him without question. When God or god or whatever Lester was declared Who or who or whatever he was, you couldn’t deny it. She took that as a sign.
“Why are you telling me this?” she asked.
“Because I like you. A lot.”
“I’m flattered.” She would’ve been flattered even if he wasn’t a god. She liked him quite a bit too. “But don’t you have more important things to do than go on dates?”
“I’m a omnidimensional being,” he replied. “I have plenty of times for dates along with my other duties. Like right now, I’m enjoying this steak while pushing an asteroid two feet to the right so that, in a thousand years, it will sail harmlessly by the Earth.”
“Very considerate of you,” she said.
“Can we not talk shop?”
“Hey, you brought it up. You can’t expect me to not have some questions.”
He smiled at her. It always felt like the universe itself was smiling at her when he did. Now she knew why. “All right. Ask away.”
“Why? Why any of this?” She gestured at the people seated around them. “What’s the point?”
“I’m still trying to figure that out,” he replied.
“You’re a god. You don’t know?”
Lester shrugged. “I could lie to you, but it kind of took me by surprise.”
“You can be surprised?”
“I’m surprised all the time. I didn’t intend any of this. It just sort of . . . happened. Not that it’s unique. It happens all the time. It’s surprisingly easy to create a universe. Like growing mold in a refrigerator.”
“The universe is the mold in your refrigerator?”
“That came out wrong. I didn’t intend to create anything. I was minding my own business when things fell into place. I didn’t even notice it for the first billion years. Good thing I didn’t either. I would’ve probably cleaned up the mess and never thought about it again. But by the time I found it, it was intriguing enough that I decided to leave it along, and see what happened. The next thing you know, here I am.”
“Did you just skip over billions of years with a single sentence?”
He chuckled. “Omnidimensional being. I tend to do that.”
“Okay. So you’re a god, and you have chosen to spend some of your time, infinite as it might be, dating thirty year old, single mothers?”
“Is it so unbelievable?”
“It’s pretty goddamn unbelievable.” She covered her mouth. “Sorry.”
“I told you. I’m not that kind of god. I don’t get offended by a few naughty words. I’ve got bigger things to manage than anyone’s potty mouth.”
“So it’s all a mistake then?” she asked. “All of this?”
“I prefer the term happy accident. If this universe didn’t exist, I’d have never met you.”
“Wow. That’s pretty corny, but coming from the creator of the universe, it’s a pretty solid line. You might just get lucky tonight.”
Emma reached across the table and took his hand. “I wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise.”