I have been working on a couple different things lately, some short stories and poems, and I have loved every minute of it. When I lay awake in bed at night thinking of how I cannot wait to get back to work on my projects, I just know that I was created to write. I have issues with writer envy (major issues), but I am trying to just become the best writer that I can be. I will not be C.S. Lewis. I can only be Jackie Lea Sommers. But the more I work at being the best writer Jackie Lea Sommers can be and the less time I spend being envious of Markus Zusak and John Green, the more my own writing will improve.
Here is what I’m currently working on.
When he woke, his sleep hung about him, heavy as a fog, and his side had a strange sensation as if it had been touched by something very, very cold—so cold he gasped as his body registered the local chill amidst all the afternoon heat of the garden. His right side, mid-torso. It had a peculiar tingle, although it did not hurt, and when he stood, he had the queerest impression that his insides had shifted. This is new, he thought. But he conceded, It all is.
He stood in the garden—green, although he did not know the word for the color yet, and full of nameless flowers and anonymous vegetation of every kind. He wondered if it would fall to him to label them, just as he had named the creatures, that parade of beasts, his subjects over whom he’d uttered a pronouncement. The first taste of creativity, that initial spark of imagination, and the names had spilled out of him as if inspired. Even now, he had to admire the words—dog, swan, lamb, elephant. The last had made him proud, those syllables erupting from his mouth when he had not known they were in him.
Fascination: the fleece, the fur, the feathers, the scales. And some could hang suspended in the sky, and some could breathe beneath the waters. It was true there was none quite like him, with almost translucent skin and blue rivers climbing each wrist, and while he could not exactly feel lonesome—nor could he fathom such a word—he did wonder at the animals’ companionship. Of course, he had the Maker, and as they walked the garden in the cool of the day, he was perfectly happy, filled with love just the way his chest was filled with air. It was impossible to want in the face of the joy and affection that spiked from the Maker, planting fearsome and holy barbs in his deepest core.
His side still blazed with that same cold tickle. Examining it, he found there was the faintest mark along his ribcage, as if there had been an opening which had since been closed up, not like a stitch, but more like the smoothing of wet clay over a crack in the riverbank. He had the vague impression of being a patched vessel. He ran his fingers over the spot—cool to the touch, flush and silky, the color of the sand on the beach.
Something stirred nearby. Curious, he noticed a creature lying beneath a beech tree, looking odd where it rested unrecognizable. A beast he had missed? His intrigue sparked as he approached and stared in awe at the creature by his feet: a biped, like himself. Two long legs, a waist as smooth and perfect as fresh foam on the shore. He could see the outline of ribs, like the ripple made when he’d tossed a stone into the water. Two perfect peaks of flesh and the strange and sweet valleys above the collarbones. The ivory neck, the soft shadow on the inside of the bicep, the dark hair that lay in glossy waves beneath the head. Somehow this creature was at once just like him and nothing like him. It had its own secret. He needed to know.
Without realizing what he was doing, he reached out, his hand drawn to that shadow below the breast to see if it was as cold as his. When his hand pressed gently on its side, the creature’s eyes blinked wide, its mouth making a small “Oh!” The eyes. They were the newest of all creations, and yet in a moment he could see that that they knew more than all the beasts he had named. The eyes were wide and welcoming and intelligent but not yet wise, and the long lashes fluttered as gently as the wings of the butterfly when it has alighted. The being swallowed, and that slightest movement of the throat’s hollow made him ache—it was not pain but compassion, which he felt must be rolling off him like a billowing fog.
“Don’t be afraid,” he said, barely moving his mouth.
“I’m not,” it answered, the voice, valiant as an empress, sweet and certain as a schoolgirl.
“You can speak,” he said in surprise.
“Yes,” it agreed. That voice! Soft as the milkweed silk. He had not known how desperately he had wanted to hear such a voice until he heard it stop. That silence was the very first hole in paradise.
“What are you?” he asked.
“I am your partner,” it said, then touched his side. The tiny hand warmed the spot.
“Flesh of my flesh,” he whispered, earth’s first poet. “Bone of my bone.”
And then joy pressed hard against the man’s heart, for the Maker had joined them. The man didn’t know the word, but he wanted to dance, to throw out his arms and spin in the garden’s sunlight. It was too much—to have them both here. His heart was full, too gloriously full; it was rupturing the way the apple buds had burst into blossoms.
“You may name her as well,” the Maker spoke to the man.
“Yes. Her. She.”
The secret. It was brilliant and beautiful and profound. He never knew if it was a minute or a month before the next came to him: “Woman.”
The woman smiled, the first smile in the history of the universe, and its splendor flabbergasted him—the curve of the lips, the flash of the strong, white teeth. His world was unmade and reimagined in that brief but broad moment.
“This is your queen,” said the Maker, “and together you will make princes.”
He had to be near her, needed to touch her, had this strange desire to press his mouth against her body. She was a gift made of bone, and he of clay. They were naked and natural, organic in every way, the original man and wife making their way into the shade of the beech trees to celebrate God.