Left of Eden
by Deborah Ewing
The cat circled lovingly around Eve’s leg, and Eve reached down blindly to stroke its ears.
“Oh, it’s all so awful. I'm supposed to be packing, and I can't stop crying,” she said to the cat. The cat purred, and stood on its hind legs to give Eve a head-butt. Eve picked up the cat and snuggled her, pouring out her sorrows.
“I was just trying to fix him some dinner. I made a perfectly nice dinner, and set it out, and he said it was boring. He said I made the same thing last week, and I did, but last week he said he loved it. So I offered to make something else, and he said that was boring, too. I named every stupid thing in this garden, one by one, and he didn't want any of it. All that was left was that tree in the middle, I told him, and he just stared at me, really meaning something but I didn't know what. ‘We aren't supposed to touch that tree,' I said, like he didn't already know, and he made this disgusting noise and lay on the ground. What was I supposed to do? ‘Take care of him,’ He said. ‘Don't touch that tree.’ “ The cat chirruped. Eve put her down. “Yeah, I know, He has final say over everything here, even Adam, but Adam can be such a prick sometimes. And I don’t even know where I got the idea ‘the snake told me to do it.’ I had to say something. They were both just looking at me, and I don’t know, I thought that making up a lie would be better than blaming Adam. He’s just so...helpless isn’t really the word, but seriously. I don’t know what he’d do if I wasn’t here to figure out everything for him. He’d stand at the bottom of the banana tree and wait ‘til one fell off and hit him in the head. I’m the one who taught the monkeys to bring some down for us. I’ll bet Adam doesn’t even know. I’ll bet he never even thought about where the banana peel goes after he eats.” The cat sat on its haunches in front of Eve, and twitched its whiskers thoughtfully.
“I know, Child.” Eve sat up straight, because even a sliver of a second after she thought the cat had spoken, she realized that the voice had not come from the cat. “Did you think I could make all of this, and not know what goes on here? I knew, even when Adam was born, that he could not survive alone. So I made you, and I told you to be a help to him so that you would not be bored. But you see you have already exhausted all of the means given you in this Garden, and so I have to give your wonderful brain something to do.”
“But I’m so HAPPY HERE!” Eve wailed, and a new fountain of tears spouted.
“My dear, you would not have been happy here much longer. Adam gets bored because he has no imagination. You crave mental stimulation. It’s not the same thing. And while I thought taking care of Adam would be a nice thing to keep you busy, I can see I did a much better job creating your brain than I realized. I can tell you two things that will make your new journey easier for you.”
“Really?” Eve sniffed. God came around in front of her, kneeled and picked up the cat.
“The first you already know, but you’re too upset to realize.”
“You don’t have anything. There’s no need to pack.”
“Oh. OH! God, you are so right!” Eve was feeling hopeful already. “And there’s another thing?”
“Yes. Two more, actually...one is that I don't even know what’s out there, really. I mean I do, because I know everything, but it’s not inventoried. You and Adam are made in my image, separately, you see, and I used all the finesse I used to make you two when I made the garden.” God shrugged a little. “Out there, that’s just stuff. I mean it’s my stuff, but I put it there more in the way Adam would than you would. He's not detail-oriented."
Eve shuddered a little. “It sounds gross.”
“Surely some of it is a little gross, but some of it will be wonderful. You’ll have to find it. You’ll have to get Adam to do the heavy lifting.”
“He’s so...lazy...no offense,” Eve complained. God chuckled.
“No, he's not lazy. Like I said, his brain works differently. He doesn’t have the imagination you do, so you have to convince him in ways other than expecting him to see your vision.” Eve drew in the sand with her finger.
“And there’s something more?”
“You see that? One of your inner traits is Hope. Just remember you have it, and it will always give you energy to go on. Hope will never leave you. Just like this cat—it has the instinct to follow you for warmth. It will always be nearby, and if you are quiet and peaceful, it will come to you for love.” Eve looked up sharply.
“I get to keep the cat?” God stood up and chuckled again.
“You get to keep the cat, if you want to say it like that. Nobody really Keeps the cat.”
“Oh, God, I just want to hug you. Can I hug you?”
“I don’t think you can,” he answered thoughtfully. “But, listen. Go get that Adam up and moving. He’s moped long enough.” Eve smiled and nodded gratefully, and tiptoed over to where Adam was sulking on a rock. He looked up, mournfully.
“Did you pack everything?” Eve bit her lip, and produced a smile.
“Honey, we don’t have anything. There’s no need to pack.”
“Oh. Right.” Adam got to his feet, slowly, and started shuffling toward the gate.
“Come on. It’ll be fun. Even God doesn’t know what’s out there, really.”
“It’s an adventure, Adam! Come on! You love adventure.” Even took his hand and pulled a little, and then let it drop. Adam felt more hope, and picked up the pace a little. He looked around at the garden one last time.
“I don’t know why you had to talk to that snake...”