A Garden, and a Snake

Eve sighed and stretched and looked happily at the sleeping figure beside her.  She wanted to reach out and feel the strength of his arm, and the warmth of his belly.  But some careful part of her held back: if she were to wake him now the resulting dance would indeed be delightful, but it was already late and there was work to do in the morning.

In some ways, she preferred this new life to what had come before.  She loved the accomplishment of a day’s work completed.  She loved the new strength in her body.  She loved how cold water tasted in the hot sun, and how a midday meal satisfied the hunger that had been growing through the morning.  These pleasures were unknown before; life had been easier.  She wasn’t so sure it had been better.

In the morning, she was back to work.  The patch of vegetables she tended was almost ready for harvest.  As she surveyed the area for weeds and pests she didn’t hear him approach.  But then, she never did.

“It looks good”.
He always started with a compliment.
“looks like you’re going to have enough.  More than enough, even.”
She paused, wondering where this was going.
“You planted a lot of corn” he said.  “that’s awfully sweet”
His eyes travelled around the garden.  “And what will you do with so many olives?  They’re just little pods of oil.”  She watched as his sneer fell on the figs, and the avacados.  “You should be careful, even out here you don’t want to eat more than you need.  You’ll get… bigger”.

She thought about how she had delighted in watching the boys grow bigger and stronger and wiser, and wondered what he was on about.

“Smaller is sexier” he said.  “you don’t want him to lose interest”.  She laughed.  Some days, she wouldn’t mind if he were less interested.  But even with the threat of pain in childbirth hanging over them, they were both eager partners in that particular dance.  Maybe the snake liked small women- but she didn’t particularly care whether or not he was interested.

“Smaller is stronger” he said.  “The work you do out here?  It would be easier if you were smaller.  What you might do is run around the field a few times before you start weeding”.  She thought about how she hung from the trees to lower the branches so Adam could pick pears.  The running was a good idea, though.  It would be good practice, in case she had to run from an animal.  She resolved to give it a try.

“Smaller is more womanly” he said.  “If you get any bigger, you’ll look like your sons”.  She couldn’t restrain a laugh.  They had met others, out here in the world.  They came in a delightful range of colours and shapes and sizes.  Her sons were pleasing to the eye, but she wasn’t sure she could ever look like anyone but her own self.

“This body is God’s gift to you, don’t you think you had better take good care of it?” Indeed.  They hadn’t had much when they left the garden: a few seeds, the clothes they had fashioned.  But they had these bodies.  Their strength, their hunger and thirst, their lust, and their love.  Their capacity to conceive and nurture new life.  Their ability to sense the world around them, and the power to change what they saw and heard and tasted and smelled and felt.  God’s gift to them, indeed.  And she was deeply grateful for it.  She felt that gratitude with every fig, and every olive.

He seemed to take her smile for encouragement.  “If you don’t watch what you eat, and excercise, you’ll die”. And there was the heart of it.  She would die.  They would all die.  Ever since the last time she had let him talk to her for this long about what she should be eating.  They would die.  She could feel it in her aches and in her pains, in the days that crossed from tiring into exhausting.  This was life, and she loved it.  She would die, but there was time yet, time for good meals on an empty stomach, and for cold water on a hot day, and for watching her sons grow and raise children of their own.  There was time for playing, and time for singing, and time for dancing.  There was time for everything she wanted to do.

And there was one thing for which she had no more time.

“That’s more than enough from you” she said.  “Get out of my garden”.
The weeds were pulled.  She turned and headed home.  Adam had been experimenting with milk from the cows and goats.  He said he’d come up with something he called “cheese” for lunch.

It sounded delicious.

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One Response

  1. I love love love this story beautiful lady. May I share it? xxoo

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