It was about trust and lust and maybe even a little love. The fuck-off attitude only got you so far, right? Right. Or wrong. And what he didn’t know about what she thought wouldn’t, couldn’t, hurt him. There was trust. But were trust and love the same thing?
Sometimes she laughed at the thought. No, laughed was the wrong word. Scoffed, mocked, even ridiculed, that was closer. If you can’t find the right word, don’t settle for choosing the wrong one. That’s what her mentor said. Of course, he ended up fucking her on his desk and calling it a ‘literary experience.’ A true case of, ‘you don’t know me till you know me.’ God, she’d thought. Spare me the bullshit.
But that was a long time ago. That was before she gave it all up for this guy. And her parents asked what she knew about him, what she could possibly glean from an online chat room. The answer was, all the important stuff. Definitely the important stuff. And they treated her like a child. She was almost 30. For once, she knew what she was doing.
He slept on the pillow beside her, and his face was angelic. Another wonderful cliché. God. But there wasn’t another word. He looked vulnerable and tender and good. That was the thing, his goodness. Even when he was the bastard, there was still the underlying good. Did she love him?
He dreamed, and he dreamed vividly. He told her sometimes, told her about the colors and textures he dreamed in. She always felt close to him then. Closer even than when they were fucking. And last night he’d dreamed that she was Eve, beautiful and voluptuous and bare-bodied, standing in the midst of the most elaborate and exotic conservatory. Leaves larger than a man, ferns taller than buildings, and birds with brilliant feathers, red and green and yellow and blue and all those colors that have no names. He said she held in her hand a book. A book bound in rich red leather, gold embossed, the title obscured by her fingers.
“So I’m Eve with a book?” she’d asked.
He asked her what she thought the book held, what kind of story.
“Exile? Or maybe a Harlequin with those really steamy sex scenes, like where ‘her breasts heaved like twin continents, eager and pulsing for his hungry, devouring mouth.’”
He’d laughed. “Could be. Or maybe it’s the Bible.”
“Maybe it’s Eve holding the story of her future. Maybe it’s you thinking about what’s in store.”
“Maybe it’s just a dream and you shouldn’t be so analytical.”
So had ended the conversation. But it stayed with her, that vision that she was Eve in a synthetic Garden, holding in her hand her own temptation, not his. Two AM and she was thinking about this kind of shit.
If one could journey into another’s dreams, whose dreams would they be?
Eve holds the leather-bound book against her naked thigh, and the leather is alive, still the skin of a creature, a beast, a pig or goat or bull. It is warm and pliant, bending beneath the pressure of being handled. And the words are falling from between its pages. Falling and resting on the green grass like flakes of black pepper. She raises her eyes and encounters a glass ceiling, and beyond it everlasting blue. There must be a ceiling, for all the creatures remain confined within this Garden, and there is an outside world. There is something dark and terrible outside the glass gates. Why would there be any need for gates other than to keep hell outside?
The falling words are voices. Plaintive and descending. When she attempts to stop their escape from the book, they become more urgent. She opens the covers to listen.
Then there was that other one. Good lord. The mistake of youth, to be enamored of blow-hards. He could have been a wise man, had he not been so fond of himself. As it was, he was an arrogant prick. He was protesting something, she couldn’t remember what; something about mink and polluted water-sources in the South. The Everglades. That place, he always said, was nothing but a giant, stinking earth-fart. He’d seemed so knowing.
She always wondered who the tempter/temptress was. Did she hold the apple, or did they? There were a lot of them, and they were all fond of themselves. All eager to whip out their dicks and ‘share the experience.’
And now she sat in the kitchen with the lights off and drank a Pepsi. Couldn’t stay in bed and listen to him snore. It was annoying that he was able to sleep. As good as he was. This was marriage. Leaving the room when your spousal unit got annoying. It was the only way to keep it all together, because everyone gets annoying at some point. And the weekends seemed long. She was glad when he went back to work. If she loved him, she’d want to spend every moment with him, right?
There were those flashes of feeling. Strong feeling, but was it love feeling? Like when he took her breasts in his mouth. When his fingers burrowed themselves against her clit. When his eyes caught hers the second before climax, intense and dark and trying to see the pillow through her head. There were also strong feelings when he cleaned the kitchen, when he did the laundry, little things like that. But that wasn’t love. The sex might be, but housework?
She’d married him for some reason.