The fig leaf didn’t sit comfortably. It rarely did. She couldn’t understand why he insisted on them wearing the damn things, it’s not as if there were other people around. And if there were, would it have mattered? We’re all created the same, except for the obvious differences between the genders. Who dictated what body parts on another person you could see? Why was it fine to see the arms, back, face, but not downstairs? See, you couldn’t even name the sacred places without worrying about offending someone.
Today was beautiful as usual. Butterflies chasing each other, she’d seen a deer in a meadow down by the crystal clear stream and the birds were chirping and jumping from branch to branch. She awkwardly adjusted the fig leaf, tried to make it stay put, wondering again why she even needed the thing. As it got dark, they usually threw them off, rolled in the grass and acted like the wild horses. Playing, sensing each other. During the day, cover yourself with a leaf. It was pointless, she thought. None of the animals paid them much attention anyway.
The bushes were blooming and the berries ripe. She loved the berries. They were sweet and when they were getting a little soft, made her feel funny. She picked a handful and put them, one by one, in her mouth. The sweet taste flowing over her tongue. She picked another handful and ate them, gently squeezing each berry between her teeth until it burst. The sensation when the juice flowed through her mouth was so sensual. Smiling and ever so slightly dizzy, she looked to the sky and walked on through the soft grass.
There was an old tree in the middle of this forest, a trunk so thick she couldn’t get her arms halfway around it, with a crown so dense that it kept the surroundings in perpetual shadow. Sometimes she would come here and take a nap during the warmest time of the day. She touched the rough bark, running her fingers down the trunk. How old are you, she asked the tree silently? What stories could you tell us if you could speak? Are you the oldest living thing in the world? Did you spawn everything that is? Is that why I have been told not to eat your fruit? Are you the tree of life or something like that?
The tree didn’t speak, so she never got her answer. It had been here forever, or so it seemed. She was forbidden from eating the fruit, but was never told why.
Her head was light, probably from the berries. Slightly dizzy, but not in a bad way. She lay down, leaning against the tree, and looked up towards the sky. She watched the flies dance in the air and the birds circling far above.
The green leaves and bright red apples moved gently in the soft breeze, almost forming a blur of colour. The surrounding grass made a soft sound as it drifted back and forth. The colours blended in her mind like in a kaleidoscope and slowly faded to black.
Her stomach woke her up. The berries were playing tricks on her again, and she was hungry. It took some effort, but she managed to stand up. Smiling, she took a deep breath and stretched her arms upwards, let her fingertips feel the smooth surface of a large apple. It looked delicious. Her tummy growled slightly. She gripped the apple, turned ever so slightly, and pulled. The fruit fit her hand so well, almost like someone had designed for her to pick it and eat. It smelled nice too.
A small bird flew up from the ground, screaming. Like something had startled it. Indeed, something was moving through the grass. She froze, tried not to panic. With a firm grip on her apple, she looked in the sound’s direction. It was coming from beyond the tree. A small head appeared and two piercing eyes looked at her.
A snake! She stood there, heart beating fast, unable to move. The snake crawled up towards the tree and proceeded in climbing the trunk, all the while keeping its eyes on her. As it came face to face with her, it stretched its head in her direction. She wanted to run, but could not.
‘Nice apple you have there.’
‘You are a snake.’
‘Yes, I am aware of that.’
‘You’re talking to me.’
‘Why is everyone so surprised by that? I can speak, you can speak, it’s not a big deal.’
She took one step backwards. ‘You can have it.’ She stretched her arm and gestured as casually as she could towards the apple.
‘There are plenty of apples. Why would I want yours? Besides, I’m not a vegetarian.’
‘Vegetarians don’t eat other animals.’ The snake smiled and stretched its head further towards her.
Eat other animals? Why would you do that, she thought to herself. Is that what the snake was going to do? It gave her the chills. ‘It’s fine. I don’t need it. I shouldn’t have picked it. You can have it.’ She remembered having been told not to come to this tree. No explanation given, just don’t go to the tree. She wondered what was so special about this place. Maybe it was sacred? Sacret was a word she’d heard used but had no clue what it meant. A sacred tree, a secret body part. Sacret was forbidden? Special? Who knew?
Maybe it was as simple as there being a snake nest, and that was why? Nobody had explained that. Just like with the fig leave, so many rules but no apparent logic to it. She was a woman, didn’t need to know, just obey.
‘Eat the apple,’ the snake hissed.
‘No, it’s fine.’
‘No, of course not!’ Never show animals they scared you or it would attack you. This much she knew.
‘It’s perfectly fine. You can have the apple. I won’t do anything.’
With that, the snake’s head pulled ever so slightly backwards, the mouth opened, revealing the sharp fangs. It looked her in the eyes one last time before closing his, then latched forward. Her reflexes were awake and as the snake flew plunged towards her, she threw the apple in its direction. She jumped out of the way, landing in the grass, never taking her eyes off the snake. It was like everything was happening in slow motion. As she crashed towards the ground, the apple flew through the air and smashed against the snake’s head. It bounced off, and the snake fell to the ground. She jumped up and quickly took the animal by the tail. Before it could gain its senses, she spun it in the air and the head rammed against the tree trunk. She did this repeatedly until there was no sigh of life.
The berries had worn off instantly. She smiled and picked up the apple. After taking a deep breath, she took a large bite and enjoyed the sweet taste of the fruit.
In the distance, she heard the distinct sound of a two-legged creature moving through the grass. She turned and smiled at him.
‘Eve, what are you doing? I’ve been looking for you.’
Smiling, she raised her hand and presented the limp animal. ‘I have dinner. It’ll get dark soon and we should build a fire. I’m sure this tastes nice.’
Adam smiled and kissed her on the cheek. ‘Good job. I’m starving.’
The fig leave had fallen off in the fight with the snake. She hadn’t put it back, and she wasn’t planning to. Adam could do what he pleased, but she was her own person and wouldn’t be told what to do.
It would be good to take it easy on the berries though, she thought to herself as they approached the meadow where they usually lit a fire for the night.
This story is the first installment in the Moments series.