Looking back, that whole apple episode was probably for the best. Don’t get me wrong, things were great in those days, but it feels like a dream now, like it happened to someone else. When the kids are quiet and my back isn’t playing up from work, I sometimes imagine it could be like that again, but I know it won’t.
We were young then, me and her, couldn’t keep our hands off each other — I definitely miss that. Later on, after we settled into the new place, she got a bit funny about me walking around naked, started pointing at my ‘bad thing’ (her words, not mine) and saying I should cover it up. I said to her: “I could throttle that snake,” and she looked down at my ‘bad thing’ and said: “I know exactly how you feel.” I thought: “You’ve changed.”
Sex is a major production these days. Everything has to be just so — it has to be dark, the kids have to be asleep, the weather has to be not too hot, not too cold, she has to be in the mood and she’s always paranoid that Someone might see us or hear us.
To be fair, I would feel a bit weird if she were wandering around without a stitch on. Not at her age, now that everything’s gone south and she’s carrying some extra since the kids were born.
We’ve had our ups and downs, but we don’t really talk about that day any more. It’s not worth dwelling on — if you love someone, you’ve got to move on, right?
My belief is simple — she wasn’t to blame. She told me the apple had already dropped from that tree. And that made all the difference, she said, because the snake was very specific about taking the fruit; to her that meant plucking it, right off the branch.
She’s good with her words, my Eve. Paints a picture with them — the swish of air as the apple dropped, the soft thud of it hitting the floor, how ripe it smelled, how sweet and tempting. She told her story and I believed her. That’s all you can do.
I told Him: “Yes, Sir, she gave it to me,” but don’t blame her because she didn’t know any better. That’s what I loved about my Eve. Still do. She was curious, always wanting to give things a go.
So we make the best of things now; it’s hard but we rub along, and we’ve got the kids, though the two older boys are a bit of a handful — God knows how they’ll turn out.
It’s just that some nights, when they are all asleep, I get this urge to go out and sit under the apple tree we planted together. It reminds me of the old place and that tree, except the apples that fall here they are mostly green and wormy, and the breeze that shakes them loose sounds to me like a sigh.
Ken Elkes lives and works in Bristol, UK. He is a prize-winning author of short fiction, a journalist and a travel writer. His work has appeared online (including East of the Web, Waterhouse Review, Red Fez, Orange Labyrinth) and in several anthologies (including Your Messages — Blue Chrome Press; Image Coal — Leaf Books). He recently finished his first novel. He tweets writing related musings at twitter.com/mysmalltales.