He ought to have conceded that she was a flower not destined to open, a hothouse creation, no less beautiful, no less woth having, He should have admired her, praised her and, at the close of day, let her be.

The holy book he’d spent so much of his life preaching from had one cruel flaw: it was not very good at offering encouragement or hope to those who weren’t religious. With God, nothing shall be impossible, proclaimed Luke, and that message, which Peter had always thought was the most joyously positive reassurance you could wish for, now turned itself over like a dying insect, and became Without God, everything shall be impossible.

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