February 2, 2015 Comments Off on Garden of Eden By Kelly Hannon
Although the land bloomed around them, the sun sitting in a prime spot of the sky, the orchard was empty. So they stood: one man and one woman, who delicately handed him a piece of fruit.
“You have to see it now,” she said, the sun illuminating her hair. “Here I am, your beloved wife, tempting you with fruit.”
Don shook his head and shifted the container from one hip to the other. He reminded her that this fruit wasn’t forbidden, that this wasn’t the only tree of its kind in the orchard, and that there was no talking snake. No creeping beast had whispered soothing lies as she’d plucked ripe apples from the tree. Cathy saw things differently. Putting her arm around his waist, she pointed high into the branches.
“See that branch, the one twisting away from the others? It has no fruit, no leaves. It’s the snake.”
Don squinted into the sun, trying to see what his wife saw, trying not to see how she had lost weight, had lost color in her cheeks despite the sunny day, had gained an unusual fascination with the Fall of Man. He didn’t shake his head, but smiled at Cathy, teased her, saying maybe he wouldn’t take the fruit and then what would happen? She smiled and closed her eyes, facing the sun.
“Of course you’ll take it.” She opened her eyes, pushed her hair from her face, and squeezed his waist. Don looked down at the apple in his hand and couldn’t bring himself to leave it behind. It went into the basket with the others, and he contented himself with the notion that neither of them would be able to tell this particular apple from all the rest. He told Cathy this idea, as he had told her all of his ideas, saying he might even mix up the basket and watch all the apples jumble together like puzzle pieces. Cathy’s face became serious.
“I would know which one it was. It has two small red spots near the stem. One for each of us.” She pulled away from him now, the arm that had been holding him so tightly hanging limp by her side. “Or one spot for each fang from the snake, but it doesn’t matter anyway. I handed you all of the apples.”
Don couldn’t take his eyes off the fruit dish during his wife’s wake the following week. He stared at the only remaining apple, resting in a shallow bowl on the counter. Its two red spots stared back at him, and he missed his wife. He picked up the apple and felt a pinprick of hope. Maybe it would be rotten under its perfect skin, maybe it would be too sour, or maybe it would be the most delicious fruit he had ever tasted. In any of these scenarios, his wife was right about it being special. Don ate the apple down to its core; it tasted just like all the others.
© 2014 Kelly Hannon
Kelly Hannon is a novelist and flash fiction writer residing in Mid-Michigan with her husband and ferocious toddler. She watches too much TV and reads all the books she can get her hands on while working part-time in an indie bookstore.