Before and After Eve

Eden Before the Fall - Part 1

By Jon Hillenbrand In Eden Before the Fall Series, Stories

The smaller fish were nibbling at his toes as he stood motionless in the shallow lake. His split rod fishing spear was held fast by his muscled left arm. A small clear strand of gut held a cardinal’s feather dangling lightly in the still parts of the water, rising and falling with the motion of passing waves. Two larger crystalfish were circling. The larger of the two bent it’s long body as Adam lowered his spear closer to the water. The feather flattened out onto the surface as the fish arched upward to catch it. With a practiced twitch, the split ends of the spear surrounded and pinned the fish against the flinty bottom. Adam fluidly raised the crystalfish tangled in the barbs of the spear and secured it under its gills. He checked it for damage and sickness. Satisfied, he waded back toward the shore where his fire was already smoldering into red coals. The sun was setting behind him and his image was cast along the white beach all the way to the weeds which were at least 50 paces beyond the water’s edge. His back was warmed in the light and the sky was deeply cobalt with pink highlighted clouds competing for attention in the horizon beyond the perfect landscape to the West.

God asked him why he continued to fish when food was plentiful on the land. Flowers would pour fruit out to him and animals would perish at his feet were he ever hungry. The land provided wholly and completely.  Adam answered that he longed for something that only fishing seemed to quench. He knew it wasn’t a hunger for a kind of plant or beast, nor a thirst for a specific spring of sweet water. But he could not explain the feeling inside of himself. He first felt the longing when he saw the lion’s cubs playing with each other. He felt it again as he watched a shivery nest of hatchlings emerging together from shattered eggs.

God knew the time had come for Adam to gain his companion. Granted with much of God’s own knowledge and powers for reason, Adam could feel that something was missing. Like a child frustrated with the knowledge of language it can not yet speak, Adam was frustrated that he was unique. So out of pity, love or a sense of adventure, God pulled a rib from Adam, using life to create life and from clay and bone emerged the most perfect beauty ever to grace Adam’s eyes. She blossomed in the light radiating a heat that Adam never knew he himself had held. Her short hair reminded him of when he was young, but it held more potential seeing it on someone else. His only view of his reflection came in distorted spurts while fishing. Now as he looked upon her perfect neck and dove-like eyes, he realized that the water had brought the idea of her into his mind, but apart from his conscious knowledge. Like a dream realized, everything about her was concurrently strange and familiar.

They were the only two people on Earth. Love from above warmed them as they stared into each other’s eyes examining the details within them. They could commune with the wind and sea, the change of colors and temperature an entire language upon which they forecast their days. The rocky shores toughened their feet as they explored farther together than Adam ever had alone. He plunged head-first into fields of unusual flora, returning always with handfuls of flowers he had named after her. And when she first laughed, how Adam’s universe expanded. A misty confusion of joy and longing waxed in his chest upon hearing her sing to the rhythmic melody of water dripping from a stalactite into a milky white pond. They laughed breathlessly on their backs after racing each other across a field of red tulips, Monarch butterflies shimmering above them. God would talk to them from time to time which they both enjoyed very much. But they loved discovering the world around them together as friends, muddy feet, sun-bleached hair, making love with the sun setting behind them. For Eve, it was an existence of Bliss, a world without want or equal.

Sometimes she desired to swim alone. Adam remembered the earlier times as he sat on the shore looking down at his reflection, fish swimming around his legs and in and out of the small dark places between the rocks. His lack of knowledge of another human hadn’t prevented him from longing the companionship. Now that he had her by his side, Adam felt a tenuous grip on his situation with Eve. Since he lacked knowledge of good and evil, he saw nothing wrong with demanding all of her time for himself. When Eve swam alone, he sat on the shore looking longingly at her with a tickle in his mind, a remembrance of loneliness.

His heart stuttered when she emerged crystallized from the water, her dark hair clinging to her narrow shoulders. And it started anew when she smilefully sang him a question asking what he was thinking about. He simply smiled and offered her the skin of the deer to dry off with. That night by the fire they built next to the sea, he rubbed tree oil into her feet as she made up a story which included small details about their day together. The wet wood snapped and popped and red stars rose from the logs high into the sky. The moon was waxing-gibbous and frogs and insects prepared for the coming evening.

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