"Tell us a story mama. Tell us!"
I looked up at the sky my eyes skidding past the vibrant greens of the willowy grasses and leaves of the trees surrounding the field in which I toiled. The hot sun with it's orange and yellow rays created a heat that enveloped us in such a way that made me feel pressed on all sides. I took a deep breath wishing for a breeze and rose from my knees.
I could use the break, I thought, rubbing my belly. I held out my hands and my sons raced toward me, giggling. They are too young to remember how it used to be. This is paradise to them, but I know better. We walked slowly toward the shade of a tall large barreled oak, my sons matching my plodding stride yet impatiently pulling on my arms.
As the boys waited for me to settle in, a task that was growing more difficult by the day, they sat close to me and scooped up the slightly browning leaves from the ground around us. Before long this new child would arrive and I could have them sit on my lap again. I was looking forward to our newest child's birth, but not to the pain that would accompany it's arrival.
Brushing aside thoughts of labor, I asked, "Which story would you like to hear? The one about the mama deer and her fawn scampering across the meadow? Or how about the time Daddy pushed me into the freezing cold creek?" I watched as they shook their heads in unison. I knew which story they meant, but I was trying to buy time and distract them.
"Mama! You know, the one about the angry colors."
Yes, that story. I did know the one. It's the one that makes me want to cover my face in shame. It's the reason that we had to leave our lovely home in the first place.
"Well, the day was bright and clear the kind of day that if you were up on our hill, you'd see for great distances. There were pure white clouds scraping across the cerulean sky. White breasted hummingbirds flitted about my elbows keeping me company. The fruit I was picking was easy to find because the orchard grasses were dotted with yellows and reds and purples. "
"You had an orchard? With all the different fruits right there in one place? Lucky. Wish we could live there again." My five year old's sullen voice echoed my thoughts exactly. I watched as his tawny head fell to his raised knees and felt my throat tighten in anguish. Me too, baby, me too.
"Mama . . . "
"Oh, yes, where was I? So, I was getting ready to call your daddy so we could eat when all of a sudden the most beautiful creature I'd ever seen uncurled his long sinewy body and slid down from the tree I was walking past. He was a beautiful green with cascading colors of yellow and orange and red. I was fascinated."
I paused, pulling myself from my memories and looked at my sons. Two sets of identical hazel eyes blinked up at me. Their golden flecks subdued to a tremulous brown.
"And what did he say?" my youngest breathed, barely audible, already knowing the answer but unable to resist asking anyway.
"He wanted to know why I hadn't picked any of the fruit from the special tree since it held the most tasty fruit of all the trees in the garden. He said we'd be like God."
"But God said not to! " my oldest emphatically reminded me. I saw angry red accusation flash across his face. And rightfully so.
"That's right, He did." I looked away allowing the memory to wash over me, but not wanting my children to read the depth of my shame in my now tear-filled eyes.
"So, why did you? Eat it, I mean?"
"I wanted to believe that what he said was true. I wanted more. I was selfish."
"At first nothing. I ate the fruit and called Daddy over. He ate some too. It took a few minutes, but we began to realize that things were changing."
"The serpent, Mama, what about the serpent?" My sons were on their knees in anticipation, but all I wanted to do was lay my head back against the rough bark and close my eyes.
"That striking beautiful creature slowly slithered back up that tree, but now he was black as the darkest night with white bands slashing toward his tail. His flat silvery head held a wide grin. And his red tongue lashed out from his mouth tasting the air around him in satisfaction."
"Tell us about the other colors."
I sighed, "Everything was grey. As I looked around, the grass turned a grey-green. The fruit from the trees were no longer vibrant, but took on dusky hues of greyish purple. Remember those pure white clouds? They scuttled across the sky that was no longer cerulean blue but became grey and tumultuous. The sun was hidden and the air around us rumbled as if God Himself was suddenly angry."
"He was angry, wasn't He mama?"
I shook my head still awed by God's reaction. "No, He was sad. Very, very sad."
My youngest son looked around in confusion. "But the colors are right again. Happy."
"Because He forgave us. We had to leave The Garden, but He gave us the colors back."
I waited for more questions, but the boys seemed content with that. And I was glad. I slowly got to my feet and held out my hands and we walked back to the field once again.
This post was written for Scribbit's Write Away contest for September. Thanks Michelle for a chance to get the creative juices flowing.
Hat tip to Genesis Moments who was August's Write Away winner. I realize it is risky business to follow up her win with my own post that contains similar characters and setting. For what it's worth, it was unintentional. And that's where the similarity ends: she's a great writer and I'm just goofing around, having fun.