Thursday, October 4, 2018

first parents’ first date

There’s a waterfall in Eden, where Eve goes each day to wash her long hair. She was born with a full head of curly locks and a ripe set of breasts—imagine her shock when her daughter (omitted from mention in Sacred Scripture) is born a red, crying, half-made mess.

There’s a pool beneath the waterfall, perfect for soaking her never-tired feet. There’s no dust yet in Paradise, unless you count the specks which glitter in the 5pm sun—Eve doesn't. She calls them little people, thinking they are small villagers of her sweet country dancing each evening. Such fanciful ideas of Eve will cause great confusion for future generations.

Contrary to common wisdom, Eve was born alone—a lost rib without the context of her cage—and she senses she is part of something, but what, exactly, that thing is gnaws at her mind, a daily question she can’t shake.

Eve is at the waterfall again today, and she is about to step in—but there is a person in the pool.
His head pops up with a splash under the white roar of waterfall, and he turns his shoulders, noticing the empress in her secret paradise.
— hello
— hi
What is he doing here?
—I think you’re my rib.
—your what?
— my rib. I’ve lost one.
— that seems improbable.
— I think it’s very probable.

Eve was, for seven short days, queen of Eden by default. And in six quick seconds she has been promptly de-throned. For here, upsetting her quiet, happy, week-long understanding of her world, is this handsome stranger who is not one at all.

Adam rises out of the pool, and stands so that just the labyrinthine veins arching underneath his feet's thin skin are covered by the emerald water. Eve takes in every bit of him, each corner seems as familiar as the skin on her hand. She notices his strong rib cage undulating with each breath beneath his speckled skin is missing a bar, right underneath his heart.
Oh that’s me.

I’ve never seen you here before, she says.

I've never been here before, he says.

Eve is quite sure that this man is unraveling, even as he speaks, her illusion of a self-contained Elysium. His presence is an altogether different paradise, which will demand of her something she's not quite sure she knows—partnership.

Come join me, says Adam, and Eve follows him into the pool, and back underneath her waterfall, where the noon sun sparkles on the currents of water running through her hair.

—I think that we should name the beasts.
—I've already started.
—Really? Any good ones so far?
—Those are armadillos, says Eve, gesturing to the family of critters gathered by the poolside.

That's a ridiculous name, laughs Adam, the "l"s tickling his tongue as they tumble off it. She could have chosen anything and she came up with armadillo? In this world rich with curiosities, Adam has found, he realizes, the richest.

—It's Spanish.
I thought so.

Eve is not sure if she is being taken seriously by this man whose eyes sparkle amber when he laughs. Adam is not sure what to do with this woman whose sense of humor inspires her to name this small cluster of creepy-looking mammals a term of general endearment—who has a face and mine that mirror his and yet is absolutely unplumbable.

Both of them silently marvel at how natural it is to talk to the other. When you have never spoken to another person before in your entire life, speech, one would imagine, would take some learning. But they internally wonder at how effortlessly words float off their previously mute tongues.

Speech is intuitive, thinks Adam, coining a new word—and proud of it, too.

This man really gets it, Eve decides. A thought crosses her mind—perhaps they can join forces. The thought takes root in her imagination and grows into a hope. Her bed of moss isn't getting any less lonely at night; and she is not, she realizes, as her lips find his underneath the waterfall, getting any younger. In fact, it strikes her now, as their youthful bodies meet, just how old she will one day become. She wonders how much more of Eden he has seen than her. She is curious. He has seen things she hasn't yet. But he will tell her all of them, she's sure of that.

Perhaps she has not been de-throned so much as offered a new kingdom to reign—a kingdom she has yet to discover, that she will make not on her own but with this sweet stranger whose eyes glitter gold and beard catches the rain on his chin, who offers her a world beyond simply the music of water falling onto rock.

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