Word Count 496
Waiting for God
By Mike Cecconi
When Andre Roussimoff’s eyes opened again, he was in the back of a truck in the fields of France, just like when he was young, even though even then he had not been small. He’d been Andre The Giant, a professional wrestler and actor, known for his seven-foot-four height and for projecting a gentle likability despite his size. He’d played ninety-thousand seat arenas, he’d been in big movies but here he was in the countryside of his youth, in the farmland northeast of Paris. He’d been too large for school buses by twelve so he was often driven to school in a pick-up by his father’s friend Samuel.
“Mister Beckett?” he asked the man driving the car. “Yes, Andre?” “How can we be here, sir? This is… thirty years ago, when I was a child. I had heart problems, Mister Beckett, I think I may be dead.” “Am I dead, Andre?” the driver asked back. “I think you died four years ago.” “Well,” Beckett responded, “I suppose we’re both dead, then, yes.”
Samuel Beckett was one of the great playwrights of his time, in both English and French, who had moved from Ireland to the continent and to the country to escape the shadow of his birth nation’s great James Joyce, to be his own man. He wrote seminal experimental plays, dabbling in existentialism and minimalism, about how little we as human beings really can know. He was best regarded for “Waiting for Godot”, a play about two men with barely enough detail to tell each other apart from themselves, stuck in a cycle of anticipation for a third who never arrives.
“If this were heaven,” Andre pressed the issue, “wouldn’t you be with your family? Wouldn’t I be with mine? Or wouldn’t you be receiving your Nobel Prize? Wouldn’t I be in the Superdome being cheered for by one hundred thousand Americans? It was nice of you to drive me to school when I was a boy, but I don’t think this is either of our heavens.”
“Maybe this is how life after death works,” the writer considered, “maybe there is no heaven and we only live on in the stories of others so that’s why we’re here. Two people who were famous for very different things and now we are ghosts in the stories that people tell when they find out we knew each other outside of my writing or your wrestling. Maybe. I’m just theorizing here.”
“Like in one of your plays.” “Yeah,” the driver smiled, “kind of like one of my plays.” Andre paused, there, in his still giant-sized child’s body and decided “If this is what has to happen for one to live on, there are worse places to be than the fields of my youth.” The writer agreed.
“I guess that’s why we’re talking in English.” “I guess so.” “Goddamn Americans”. At that, they shared a laugh and continued their drive through that countryside, all the way off into eternity.