I was born. I grew up here and there, and was educated by various mothers and fathers, and a multitude of teachers and tutors. I remember myself at 18, not much of a man, a boy in a costume, a man’s costume, that didn’t much fit, thinking about what it would be like to be a Hero, or someone wonderful.
You don’t grow up on your own. It isn’t something that happens fast or slow, or noticeably. It takes a hundred thousand people to make a man - Two hundred thousand if your parents made you wear sun cream and sunglasses. My parents died in a tragic hot air balloon accident when I was just a baby. Six or seven or so. They had been surveying the countryside with their implements and their big ideas, saving the planet was the agenda, or some other such pressing matter, when a malfunction caused the canvas to set alight and my parents dropped into a cloud of flames, ceasing to exist at such and such a time in August, or September of 1994, in an area of outstanding natural beauty. ‘Protected’.
But I wasn’t aloud to come that day, I had more important things to do, like arithmetic and literacy hour. Had they known that that was to be there last day on earth would they have taken me along? So they could see me, their only son, one last time before they perished? Probably not. They probably wanted life for me. Life. To grow and develop and sprout into a Hero, or someone wonderful.
The way it turned out, if I was a Christian, I would imagine they’d probably be sitting on a picnic bench in heaven looking down at me and saying to themselves “maybe if we had had a little longer with him, he would have grown into someone wonderful.” But as a son of science, I’m sure their eyes and brains have long since decomposed, and that they’d of hoped I wouldn’t be childish enough to believe in imaginary men in the sky.
Atheism doesn’t offer much for the imagination.