Adam was silent, because Eve was rampant. Both of them hoped that the matter could be detailed in a line like that but despite their ardent wishes, the events being unfolded were not that simple. Life events seldom are.
It began last night. The moon was full and Eve was at the temple to appease her god with solemn prayers and rich sacrifices, while Adam wandered alone across the New Eden. He was looking for an answer to the question that has haunted him since one of his ribs went missing from the cage around his heart and lungs, what is love? Adam did not feel like wandering in solitude but Eve did not like company when she was with her god. It disrupted the peace and harmony of her mind, she claimed and Adam consented. Who would want the presence of another soul when one was exposing oneself to one’s god, after all that was the highest form of love that could be offered by a human being through submission to the higher power! So he let her have it in her way. He did so also because deep in his heart he knew, Eve’s love will only be true once she is truly free to be herself.
That brought him back to his original question, what is love. “Perhaps, the heavenly beings could help him find the truth”, he thought. He was confused about which ones to approach though. There were the Cherubs and the Seraphs, the beings made of absolute knowledge and absolute love, respectively. He had a friend among the earlier kind, the Sphinx, not the half lion beast that would guard one of the wonders many a thousand years later but a ladylike creature with a divine countenance. After musing for a while he decided to try his luck and headed for the Cherubs’ tents on the westernmost corner of the primeval wilderness.
Eve was in silent tears, back at the temple, from the almost relentless ripples of delight that shot through her complete being, one after another. She was so engrossed in her god that even the image of Adam almost faded from her mind. He was there but more as a far away silhouette than a person in the present. Sometime she pitied him but that was the most she could do! God came before Adam and for his own peace he should remember that, she concluded. Wiping off her tears she closed her eyes to be one with her god again.
Adam was almost there. He could already see the lush green canopies of the tents shimmering beneath the mild silver glint of the moon. The tents were there more as a symbol than as the actual dwelling place of the Cherubs. Perhaps the Cherubs lived there or perhaps they did not, it was impossible for Adam to see them in person in his mortal form due to a mismatch in their dimensions. Being a human Adam had only four dimensions whereas both types of the heavenly beings had seven. Nevertheless Adam could communicate with the Sphinx, albeit without seeing her in person.
Once destiny had their paths crossed, their conversations were never short or formal. It happened when the Sphinx was returning from her hunt and Adam from one of his weekly wanderings to avoid disrupting Eve’s harmonious submissions. The Sphinx did not have her wings on, as wearing them was prohibited when the heavenly beings must venture near the human couple, living at the center of the forest. So Adam could see her in person and soon they discovered many similarities in each other. In no time they became good friends and Adam asked her to visit their humble abode, not too far from where they were standing. But the Sphinx said she had errands to run to, promising to honor the invitation another time.
Since then Adam had often sought her out for conversing on various issues ranging from the menial to mindboggling. Especially during Eve’s exclusive times with her god, Adam would come to the westernmost tip of his fiefdom and try his luck at the emerald tents to strike up a conversation with the Sphinx if he could trace her there. On most occasions so far, she was not there but when she was, the dialogues never failed to lift a lot of weight off Adam’s soul and lighten the burden of solitude on his mind too.
He was in luck that night, as he could hear her voice before arriving at the entrance of that eerie place. She was getting ready for a hunt with her trademark bow and arrows, whose tips were soaked in nectar that brought sheer bliss, instead of the excruciating pain associated with dying, to its victims as they, pierced by the arrow, bled to their death. Adam wished he could die by that nectar as well but its use on human beings had long been prohibited too like the use of wings around the center of the forest.
As the Sphinx’s hunt would take her across the center, she had left her wings, so Adam could see her. They both were excited to see each other in person, especially Adam, it was only the second time he was seeing her. After exchanging niceties, without wasting much time she started for her destination and Adam followed suit. On the trek Adam wondered at the way moonlight passed through her translucent skin that made her glow in a silvery shade of blue and duly no shadows were cast on the ground.
“Why do you hunt?” Adam asked after a while, “You don’t need sustenance like food or water to live, do you?” he added. “Hardly the victim of a hunt is meant for the dining table or the trophy case, unless the hunter happens to be a human being.” She replied with a benevolent smile. “But of course, being a human that ought to be your starting paradigm, though I hope you would not be stuck with just one perspective for the rest of your life, like those descendants of you, who would millenniums later be known as sophists in the world below.”, she added almost as an afterthought. “Then why?” Adam repeated his question. “To take away the pain that animal is suffering from.” She replied nonchalantly.
“Where is Adam?” Eve pondered. It had been half an hour already since her prayer time ended, still no sign of him. “I ought to count those ribs of him, again.” She reminded herself. Of late Adam had begun to appear more and more farfetched with time. And what with that recent obsession he had, to know what love is? There are things in life one ought to feel, not know and she believed love to be one of those. But being Adam, he had already asked her the question three times by then. First time around she tried to come up with an answer. On the second time she asserted her belief and met his question on the third occasion with something he dreaded the most, a grand silence. It succeeded in muting the voice of his curiosity. With that Eve headed out into the wilderness to look for her worse-half.
“Can the Sphinx give him a silent treatment too?” Adam wondered as he trekked along the heavenly being at supersonic speed. Whenever he is with the Sphinx, the laws of physics are substantially bent. He can move faster than the speed of sound and perhaps achieve many other amazing feats but he had never been compelled to put his theory in practice. Life in the New Eden was as flat and eventless as it would be in the submerged world during the great flood of Noah many hundred years later. He wanted to ask her that burning question gnawing at his existence from inside, what is love? But what good it might be, he could not stop thinking. Even if love could be defined, the definition must be subjective to the definer and hardly extendable to another individual. “Perhaps some other time…” He told himself. They had many other issues to talk about anyway.
“There he is!” Eve breathed a sigh of relief as she found him in slumbers beside the wide trunk of an ancient and nameless tree. It is said, if one could scale the entire height of that tree, one would see the Elysian plain where the heavenly beings dwelled in blissful ecstasy. Seeing Adam in sleep Eve came closer and put her counting scheme to action. But Adam’s sleep was not too deep and he woke up at the periodical touch of her fingertip on his ribcage, forcing Eve to abandon her plan halfway. Then a shadow flickered in Adam’s eyes. “What is it” Eve asked herself, “pain or fear!” She settled for the later after thinking on it for a while.
- “What are you doing here?” Eve asked him.
- “I was bringing the Sphinx home, where is she!”
- “Who is the Sphinx? Why are you bringing her home? Are you seeing someone else?” the questions flowed from her like a dam of water gushing through a suddenly found exit.
- “Calm down, there is no woman in my world except you and you have my undivided love.”
But Eve was not convinced. She needed proof and she had the right kind in her mind, a ‘dare all or get nothing’ type of proof. Her god had given her the idea and she liked it.
“Ok but who is the Sphinx?” she asked Adam, once they are back to their place.
- “A cherub.” He replied.
- “Then why are you calling it a she?”
- “Because it looks like a lady.”
- “Does it or do you see a lady in it?”
Adam wished he had the silent treatment in his arsenal but duly said, “Perhaps” then in a flash it hit him hard on his face, perhaps he was dreaming in his sleep about his meeting and having conversations with the Sphinx. He shared his epiphany with Eve but she retorted, “No she exists, I know, don’t lie to me.”
- “I love you!”
- “I have my doubts.”
- “That is painful, you should know.”
- “But I do and I need proof of your love.”
- “What proof?” Adam could not hide the strain from his voice.
- “I shall tell you tomorrow.” Then the knell told them it was time for dinner and the issue was left there until the sun of the following dawn pierced the eastern horizon.
Outwardly the dawn was like any previous one, with the fauna waking up, beginning with the chirping birds. Inside, Adam was a mess. After thinking through best part of the night he surmised that the Sphinx and his encounters with her were all constructs of his mind. Somehow he fell asleep at the trunk of that tree while waiting for Eve to finish her prayers and was dreaming of the Sphinx. It happened to him on the fist evening when he thought he had met her and had been happening ever since. He was not worried though, being a person beyond the realm of senses, a dream was as good as any reality, if it could be felt with similar vividness. “So if dreams are more vivid than the real life, let it be!” he concluded.
It was the second part of his thoughts that troubled him. Eve needed proof, whatever that proof might turn out to be, deep inside he had a feeling that when something was in need of proof, it could hardly be called love anymore. “Perhaps she was just teasing.” Adam tried to comfort himself. Immediately a part of his mind retorted, “You know that’s not true.” And he did. He remembered dozing off when the darkness of the night had already began to fade. Then he had a nightmare too. He was running through a wasteland, being chased by a black creature that ran like a horse but its head was that of a king cobra. It had wings too, two heavy assortments of jet black feathers, sleek and shining. He remembered the creature was gaining on him, with its head drawn back to strike out at him when the moment came. He woke up with a start and realized he was drenched in sweat, despite the cool breeze of dawn.
Eve was still asleep beside him; the dark silken clouds of her open hair partially covered her face. “She is so gorgeous!” Adam sighed and thanked the higher powers to create an epitome of beauty as his partner. He felt tears of gratitude appearing in his eyes and he let them flow. He could still recall each and every detail of the first time he saw her. That experience for him had turned out to be more vivid than any dreams or realities he had ever had, especially the way his heart told him at the very first sight, “She is mine!”
Since Eve woke up, Adam waited with an anxious heart for the wrenching talks to begin. He waited through breakfast with gritted teeth and through lunch with clenched jaws, determined not to initiate the conversation. Strangely though the dialogue did not begin until late afternoon and when it did, it was with a jab straight away.
- “So you don’t seem interested to know what I want as proof of your love. Perhaps you are no more interested about matters concerning me! Come on, you know you can be frank with me!”
- “Well I have been waiting all day for it. When I found you silent I thought perhaps you were teasing last night…”
- “No, I want a proof. Of course if you don’t want to prove it I won’t mind. You are free to do whatever pleases you!”
- “Come on now, you know what I want. Tell me what proof you need.”
- “It’s a simple one; you have to eat the fruit of that tree.”
- “But that’s forbidden. Are you out of your mind?”
- “Don’t complicate the matter. Either you will eat the fruit or admit that you don’t love me anymore!”
- “But the fruit of that tree is forbidden; please I am urging you to reconsider!”
- “Ok. I get it. I refuse to be with you anymore. Go and be with your own kind!”
That silenced Adam dead on his tracks. What was his kind he could not help but wonder! He knew asking Eve would be a futile effort. He had never seen her so enraged and rampant. But he needed to know what his kind was. What if he was the first of his kind and from the recent look of things he might very well be the last too. Despite the fierce storm inside his mind, all Adam could do was be silent and pray for the nightmare to go away.