I stood there, alone and trembling, in the fading light, gazing with unseeing eyes at a world I had ruined forever.
It was a simple choice: yes or no. But it put it in such language and so many words that by the end, even I scarcely knew which I picked. It told me first that it was a choice between me and him; my will and his will; my decision versus his command. Then, ever so slightly, I was invited to think, not of an objective decision, but of potential personal changes that could happen within me. Look inside yourself, it said. See the worlds you have yet to discover. There were rooms, halls, and whole chambers within my soul that I had never thought were there before. I could see with my heart names — names such as ecstasy, trauma, elation, terror, passion, frenzy, and yes, even hate — names coupled with very vague sensations which left me tantalized but yet unfulfilled. I wanted — I felt that I needed — to know more. I needed to experience more of what I could be — not who, but what. I needed to discover more.
Then it became an opportunity to look beyond myself at the vast world around me. There was a terrestrial universe yet to discover, and all of it was given to me as my domain. It might take a million years to travel on foot — but who said I only had to travel on foot? All creativity was placed in my hand. I could harness the fire of the sun, I could travel through the wind on wings of my own devision, I could skim along the ground as easily as the angels. I could explore, not only the earth, but the heavens as well. I could push beyond, erupting in among the stars in a device only I could have created. And oh, what a difference I could make. My children down through all the years and generations would look back to me and be eternally grateful.
I felt his presence behind me. “What are you thinking about?”
“That sounds magnificent. Everything you say sounds magnificent. For everything is magnificent. Eva, in time we will travel this world. We will mark it out as our own. And when our time comes, we will teach our children to do the same. Perhaps in their time, or in their children’s time, our line will stretch to the heavens — maybe the sun, maybe the moon, or maybe the vast lamps in the sky. Every piece will fall into place according to the plan.”
“I see the plan. Yet the plan is so distended — we have time now. We have vigor now. We have passion now. Why wait and waste our time traveling by foot our whole lives when we can create wings like the birds? Why hope that our children’s children will touch the stars when we ourselves may do so tomorrow? We can uncover more of the plan if we hurry it along.”
It looked at me again as I turned away from him. He will never understand. Neither of them will. Not unless you make them. Do you will to see? Do you will that he should see?
“Yes, I will it.”
Then let me enter you. Let me know you in your uttermost depths, where even he has not yet attained. Do you will it?
At that instant, it came into me. It flooded my senses so that every single chamber was illuminated with the most brilliant light of self-knowledge. I felt ecstasy, trauma, elation, terror, passion, frenzy, an yes, even hate. I understood them all in an instant. Everything was clear. Everything was. . . unexplainable.
And then I turned to him. I uttered it to him. I motioned it to him. Yet it did not leave me; it merely replicated itself and entered him. It was now they.
“What are you thinking about?” I asked him.
And then we felt his presence. A terror such as the universe had never known flooded us at that moment. They trembled inside of us and threw us to the ground. All in an instant, I knew who it was that had made me, and I knew how inadequate I was to face him.
You know what happened next. Every easily attainable joy flew an eternity beyond my reach. My ability to hold back tears vanished and the despondency fell unchecked over my flushed cheeks. My heart beat erratically and stabbing pains afflicted me. Animal skin covered my body and scratched at my flesh. I heard the voice of the almighty, “Eva. . . Eva. . . Eva. . .” Those words burned in my soul. And all of the crystal clarity was consumed by the it that had become they. Instead, the only thing that remained clear to me was the stinging, prophetic shame that told me it would multiply itself, just as it had when I first spread it to him, unto every child my line would ever see. It had become they. They would now become legion, for they would be many.
Outside the gates of Eden, I stood there, alone and trembling, in the fading light, gazing with unseeing eyes at a world I had ruined forever.
They whispered across the desolation, I will never leave you.
Adam touched my hand and whispered, I still will never leave you.
And a tiny whisper of peace promised, I will return.