Chapter 26, Death, Where Is Thy Sting?
When I woke, the first thing I noticed was the absence of my burning thirst. I looked at Edward, wondering what this could mean.
"Edward… Adam I mean…" I stumbled over that new name. We were told our names were no longer Edward and Bella but Adam and Eve. It seemed so strange and yet… so right. Still, it would take me a while to make the transition. I had the feeling I'd have plenty of time to adjust…
"Do you feel what I feel?"
Edward raised an eyebrow, not understanding.
"Are you thirsty?"
A shocked expression flitted over Edward's divine features. A slow smile spread across his face. "Actually… no, I'm not."
He reached out for my hand and we turned in unison to face the beautiful garden that had been planted for us. The trees were heavy with fruit and all my body craved was a bite from the nearest one. Still, there was a scent that called from the other side of the garden. It wasn't unlike how I'd felt at that first hunt when I'd scented the humans. The scent was almost painfully beautiful and sweet. The smell called to me, but we had been told,
"…Of every tree of the garden thou mayest
"But of the tree of knowledge of good and
thou shalt not eat of it:
for in the day that thou eatest thereof
thou shalt surely die"
(Genesis 2:16, 17)
That tree was off limits.
And here we were. Two beings abandoned on a planet teeming with wildlife. Wildlife as varied as that on the planet earth.
Wildlife eerily similar and yet different. There were no carnivores on this planet. The animals ate plants just like we did. It seemed strange at first to watch a cougar tearing off grass the way I had once seen one tearing off a rabbit's leg.
As the ship disappeared, I wondered what our life would be like. Just Edward and me with a vast planet to ourselves. Time had no meaning for us. Adam and Eve. Alone. Naked. Unafraid.
And then a visitor came. I think he looked like a snake, but he talked like a man. He reminded me about the tree of knowledge of good and evil, a tree we had studiously ignored. Suddenly, my salivary glands ached.
He had already talked to Adam.
Now he approached me. "Why does it always have to be Eve?" I wondered in irritation. I remembered dimly what biting the fruit would mean. It would mean a return to mortality. It would mean a return to my fertile state.
I remembered a long-forgotten joy. The joy of holding my infant in my arms. A vision as clear as the stars in the heavens opened to me. I remembered my beautiful daughter, and my arms ached to hold an infant.
I suddenly understood why Adam couldn't be the one to make this decision. He loved me too much to wish the pain of childbirth on me. I would have to choose that for myself.
I would eat.
I would die.
But in the meantime, Adam and I would have children. Together.
I remembered the promise, "…in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." I dimly remembered that a day to the ancients was a thousand years. We would have that day—their day. We would have that long. We would have our children.
We would be mortal once more.
I looked down at the fruit I held in my hand. It was about the size of a grapefruit, shaped like a maple leaf. Thin white and black stripes ran up the surface like the veins of a leaf. Sky blue coloring peeked out around the veins of white and black. The skin was dimpled like an orange rind.
As I bit into it, I was surprised that the dimpled skin, although it looked like the skin of an orange, was actually thin like that of an apple. The skin and outer layer was crispy sweet but the center where the core would be was softer, like a ripe pear.
The juice ran warmly down my chin. It was like nothing I'd ever tasted. It had an exquisite flavor, and I instantly craved more.
The change to mortality was almost instantaneous. I wouldn't be enduring three days of indescribable pain for this change. Just moments after my first bite, my heart was beating once again.
Breathing had become a necessity. My human, dull senses had returned. It would take me a while to locate Adam. I couldn't see or hear him. He was at the other end of the garden.
It didn't take long for him to find me. He had caught my old, familiar human scent. He heard the beat of my heart.
He had run from the far side of the garden.
Adam looked at my flushed face in bemusement. It had been far too long since he'd seen me blush. He gently caressed my cheek with the backs of his fingers, and looked deeply into my eyes. "Beautiful," he whispered, his voice an awed whisper.
I would die. He knew that.
He saw it in my blush. He heard it in the beat of my heart, and he knew that he could never live without me.
I didn't have to say a word. I handed him the fruit, and he ate it willingly.
An empty planet needed replenishing. My smoldering eyes connected with Adam's. I knew we were up to the task.
And worlds without number have I created;
And I also created them for mine own purpose;
And by the Son I created them,
Which is mine Only Begotten.
And the first man
of all men
Which is many.