Welcome back to Your Imaginary Boyfriend/Girlfriend, Jezebel's series in which we explore the wild and entirely fabricated world of dating a famous person. As is the risk with most fan fiction, things might get weird and things might get creepy, but the important thing is that we all have a good time.
This week's edition is a Christmas special and your imaginary boyfriend is Jesus.
You take one last hard look at yourself in the mirror — check to see that your hair is in place and your collar is neatly folded — before stepping out of the bathroom and into the living room.
"Jesus," you say, looking at your boyfriend who is sitting cross-legged on the floor, humming to himself as he flips through a book. "Is that what you're wearing?"
He smiles up at you beatifically.
"I thought so. You don't like it?"
"No," you say. "I mean, yes, it's fine. It's just — it's your birthday party we're going to, after all."
"True." He pauses to think for a moment before shrugging, his shepherd boy curls brushing his shoulders. "I think this will be fine. No one at any of my other parties seems to have minded."
He's right. No one at any of the other thousands of birthday parties held for him in the past few weeks has seemed to care whatsoever about his outfit even though it's December and he keeps insisting on going everywhere wearing only linen robes and Birkenstocks.
"I could carry a staff," he says, noticing the look of consternation that passes over your face. "Or maybe wear a scarf? Jazz it up a bit."
"No, no. Wear what makes you comfortable."
You offer him a hand to get up and he takes it gratefully.
He squeezes your shoulder and you're off to the party. You have to drive because, unsurprisingly, your boyfriend Jesus has never learned how.
You arrive and are immediately separated by his hoards of admirers, all gathering around to hear him proselytize, to hear him speak the gentle words that have garnered him such a following.
You head to the bar because you get to hear him talk all the time. In fact, sometimes, like when you just want to bitch about your coworker and not be reminded about forgiveness and how wrong it is to judge, you wish he would stop talking. Of course, generally, it's not so bad. Jesus is kind, thoughtful and patient. He has endless love for you and everyone else on this planet and he rarely uses that whole "I died for your sins" thing to win an argument.
Your thoughts are interrupted by a conversation between two women standing next to you.
"— and I got so mad at Jeremy for leaving his dirty plate in the sink, but then I thought ‘what would Jesus do...'"
Not his fucking dishes, you think, remembering the pile up of clay bowls and yerba mate straws that wait back at the apartment.
You take a drink of wine and it's terrible. Sighing, you work your way over to where Jesus is sitting on a wooden crate, telling stories to a slew of eager party guests. It takes awhile to get through the crowd, but you finally reach him and tap him on the shoulder.
"One moment," he says to his listeners before looking up at you kindly and nodding.
"Can you do something about this?" you whisper, gesturing to your wine glass.
"Of course," he says immediately. He takes it in his hand and winks at you before handing it back. "That should be better."
"Thank you." You move away and he immediately launches back into his story, his listeners hanging on his every word. You tentatively sip your wine. It's now full-bodied and smooth — much better than that three buck chuck that they had you drinking before.
The others in the room begin clapping wildly and you realize that Jesus must have finished telling one of his better tales. You can't help but laugh and sigh to yourself as you think of what the people will do when they go home, how they'll repeat his stories through their own interpretation, adding things and leaving out important details. You know it drives Jesus crazy to see his words morphed and changed to fit agendas that he doesn't agree with, but he keeps telling his stories anyway with the hope that more people will see that all he's really preaching is love.
Later that night, when the two of you are back at home, you convince him to turn a jug of water into a nice barolo. You don't have to drive anymore tonight so you can drink all you want and, as it turns out, you want to drink a lot.
"People are so jealous that you're with me," you say, smiling at him with grape-stained teeth. "It's like Jesus loves you, but he love loves me."
He rolls his eyes good-naturedly.
"Yes, I do." He punctuates his words with a knee squeeze before getting up to use the bathroom. He's only gone a few seconds before his phone buzzes. You pick it up and look at it without thinking.
"What are you doing?" Jesus asks when he emerges from the bathroom to find you looking at his text messages.
"I didn't know you still talked to Mary Magdalene," you say, scrolling through months and months of backlogged texts. None of it's incriminating, but your drunk and clumsy feelings ignite with hurt.
"Of course, I do. She's one of my closest friends" — you scoff, but he continues — "and what you're looking at is private."
"I wasn't snooping," you reply. You feel guilty, but you use that guilt to spur your anger. "I was just sitting here when the text popped up. Sorry I have eyes."
"That's an invasion of priva —"
You cut him off because you're on a roll now. "And while we're at it, I'm sorry, so sorry that I'll never wash your feet with my hair. We live in the city and you wear sandals all of the time. Your feet are disgusting."
He tries to reply, but you bowl over him, boozy, salty tears pouring from your eyes.
"And I'm sorry that your mother is perfect and practically worships the ground you walk on and that your dad is supposedly some big deal and that we have to devote weeks to celebrating your birthday in December when you were actually born in Spring. And it's not even like I can have a fun time at your fake birthday party because no one even tries to talk to me and I have to drive you everywhere. I am not a disciple, Jesus." You take another swallow of wine mid-sob and accidentally spill down your shirt. "I am human being with human feelings and I have a birthday, too, and nobody talks about it."
"I am going for a walk," he says, calm but angry. You're glad. Jesus is hardly ever angry.
You hear the door swing open and shut then, burying your face in the couch cushions, you cry yourself into a deep, wine-soaked sleep.
You wake up the next morning to the smell and sizzling sound of cooking eggs and a rhythmic pounding in your skull. Sitting up, you realize that you're on the couch and still wearing last night's clothes and then it all starts to come back. The party. The wine. The fight.
You stumble into the kitchen to see Jesus is cooking breakfast and has laid out place settings for two. All of the dishes, dirty the night before, now sit clean in the drying rack.
"Morning," he says, turning towards you. He's still in his pajamas — quilted pants and sheepskin vest. "I'm sorry about last night. I haven't been taking your feelings into account."
"No," you reply, voice hoarse. "I never should have looked at your phone or said any of those things. I'm sorry."
He places a cool hand on your forehead and your hangover suddenly disappears.
"I forgive you."
Image by Jim Cooke, source photo via Lana K/Shutterstock