THURSDAY: Adam’s Lament


Copyright is held by the author.

BEFORE THE apple thing, Eve romped among animals and flowers in the Garden. I flexed my muscles for no one in particular, and longed for her frequently, especially after our evening baths. They say she was made from me, or more precisely, of me — from a rib perhaps, but I venture her origins are stardust because her glittering eyes still heat my soul and warm my heart, and there was nothing I wanted more in the world than to please her.

“It’s delicious,” she said, smiling, then insisted I take a bite of the forbidden fruit.

Our exile from Paradise was instantaneous. Outside the Garden’s gates, I worked and plowed the earth . . . and killed snakes, while Eve toiled with grain and mortar. Loving moments in each other’s arms became something of the past. Though we walked together, she two steps behind me, we spoke hesitantly of our future.

Over the years, my hair greyed, and my once muscular legs grew thin. Combined with my widening abdominal girth, these comical changes in my appearance made me into a caricature of what I once was. My self-confidence waned, as did my interest in Eve. Perhaps I had grown accustomed to her body. Perhaps I was bored. The point is, I lost any sense of meaning I had given to my life, my purpose, and God knows I was upset . . . with good reason, I thought . . . with Eve, the world, and myself.

Overwhelmed by feelings of inauthenticity, I felt I had missed out on the joys of youth. It didn’t help that Eve stopped laughing at my jokes and sometimes called me a pig. She scorned my ravenous appetite, whereas it used to make her chuckle. I was convinced my curiosity for all things large and small, which once enchanted her, now made her scowl. She turned away from me in our beddings, creating distance where once there was none. I figured I didn’t excite her anymore, and turned to sleep, knowing my snores would awaken her. After I told her I dreamed of others, she shrugged. “You have betrayed me?” she asked, softly.

“Boys must be boys,” I shouted, stamping into the yard.

I fear we parted ways after that. Our lovemaking turned passionless and mechanical. For 10 long years, we hardly kissed or talked, and even touching hands seemed forced. Silent dinners together bore the weight of a tedious companionship.

She never declared her desires for a man other than me but slept under a different roof. My imagination consumed me, and with my ego irreparably damaged, I sulked. I kicked a rock more than once, which broke my toe, and with that had an epiphany. My greatest fear was that Eve might leave me. Stubbornly, however, I said nothing.

Another decade passed. Then, one day, she turned to me and took my hands in hers. “I want for us to age gracefully together,” she said. Tenderly, she brought my fingers to her lips. Her gesture broke my obstinance, and I tearfully shared my pent-up thoughts, concerns, and heartfelt passion for everything that was her. I apologized, realizing not for the first time that she was a bastion of wisdom and inner strength.

I cursed the changes my body had sustained with age and the decades-long chagrins that had entered my heart. I asked her why I had lost the urge to make love and confided that I could no longer please even myself. “I’ve lost the drive for the drive,” I confessed. I don’t recognize the man whose reflection I see in the morning.”

Eve buried her head in my shoulder and listened, holding me tightly as she had when we were young. She explained that men sometimes need reassurance when they’re older. That’s just the natural way of things, she said, and I needed to accept that.

For many years thereafter, she taught me to feel both desired and to feel desire. I learned to kiss her warmly but without expectations for what might but not necessarily come next. I learned to hold her affectionately, to commune with her soul, and to cherish the ways her heart had become part of mine. We spoke again about everything . . . communicating. We shared our dreams and mocked our regrets. We imagined places we had never been and visited new sites within our means. She fondly poked my Buddha belly but encouraged me to exercise, helping me with a logbook to chart my weight loss as we shared a low-carb diet, danced, and ran a marathon together. We swam daily in the river, after which she sat in my lap while I brushed her hair five hundred strokes and caressed the back of her neck with my fingertips.

We are deep into the night of our lives right now, but we sit together in the shadows, nibble on apples, and look back without regret at the gates to the Forbidden Garden. Sometimes, we laugh. Other times, without a word, we embrace with a kiss that means so much more than just a kiss. Eve’s once dark locks of hair have become silvery soft and smooth, but she enchants me, both mysteriously and mischievously more than ever. Looking at her, I see the beautiful maiden of years past as well as the adorably strong and steadfast woman who protected my heart with her life. There are times when she is not watching . . . times when I cry with happiness over my good fortune. You see, the sun has long set over the horizon, and the growing specter of eternal darkness signals the end is near. I am thankful that Eve is eternally Eve, for as it was in the beginning and as it surely always will be, there is a pact between God and myself, as with most males after me, to take me first, for in no way could I wish to be left to live without her.


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Henri Colt is an award-winning physician-educator, author, philosopher, and adventure traveller who is passionate about art and mountaineering. His work has appeared in CommuterLitRed FezRock and Ice, and other magazines. 30 Stories About Life & Death is his first anthology of previously published Flash Fiction, and his biography of Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani, Becoming Modigliani, is in press. Henri can be reached at