At an age to young too recall, my next-door neighbor and I wrote out our own Bible. The New New Testament, inked not on parchment but three-holed paper, spelling out the rights and wrongs of the modern day worshipper.
"We'll need to start with the Ten Commandments." My co-rabbi looks up, probing me for ideas. I shrug. She scribbles away anyway, holy words bubbling off the tip of the pencil in big, loopy letters.
"Thou shalt not steal?" I let the phrase sit on my tongue, the taste familiar. "Did you make that up?"
"Yeah, I did," she snaps. "I did make it up. Too bad if you don't like it."
"No, I like it."
She writes down two more, something along the lines of loving one's parents and saying please and thank you. I pick idly at the grass near my feet, watching as an inchworm crawls by--and with it, a memory. A memory of the two of us hiking, rolling over logs and watching all sorts of creatures slither out, gray and black and slimy and multipedal.
"How about being nice to animals?"
"Good one!" She smiles briefly at me, and just as quickly as her gaze returns to the paper. The air feels a little colder, the sky a little dimmer; the leaves above us grow fewer and browner every day.
I take a peek at the scriptures, the page nearly filled. Not bad for a couple of rookie reverends! But she pauses.
"I need help with the last one."
"Really?" I'm not usually the one taking charge in these situations.
"Yes, really," she mutters, biting her lip. I'm silent: no divine epiphanies strike me as easily as they did her.
"I don't know."
"Oh, come on."
"Seriously, I don't!" I insist, grin tugging at my lips. "You always have the good ideas."
A single tear rolls down her cheek, staining the unfinished commandments. Her pencil wavers on the brink of movement.
"What about ... what about, 'thou shalt not move away?'"
The horizon's slowly engulfing the sun, taking with it the sunshine, the light, the hot breezes of the afternoon. The end of the day. The end of a summer.
"I'd like that."