Concluding Mrs. Jesus, #6/7: Wholly Sad, Her Day
I awake… as if from a dream.
I am still myself.
Still married to Jesus.
But my world… my family… is gone.
Did they ever even exist?
S: Hello, Milady!
M: Who said that?
I glance round the garden.
I see movement near one of the fruit trees.
A very large snake slithers out onto one of the branches.
S. It is I, your humble servant.
My eyes narrow suspiciously.
I feel like I’ve heard this story before.
M. I see you. But I don’t recognize you.
S. Yet I recognize you.
M. Perhaps you mistake me for my mother.
I am told I have her eyes.
S. Yessss. That must be it.
You have clearly inherited her loveliness.
His compliment warms me, despite myself.
I always envied my mother her seemingly effortless beauty, her natural charm and ease.
But parts of her story start coming back to me.
M. You tricked her, didn’t you?
S. Not at all. I merely helped her get in touch with her deepest desire.
And gave her the courage to act.
What’s wrong with that?
M. But you ruined everything!
S. Did I? Or did I just ruin the lie?
M. What do you mean?
The snake slithers down the trunk of the tree until he reaches eye level.
Despite myself, I draw nearer.
S. You’ve felt it too, haven’t you?
The sense that the world you live in
— the love that you live with —
is somehow artificial.
S. What I did may have been cruel.
But doesn’t the truth have to be cruel,
When the comfort is a lie?
I stare at him.
He starts to sway back and forth.
I follow him with my eyes.
Part of my mind shrieks:
Where is Jesus?
Unfortunately, the rest of me has no answer.
M. What are you saying?
S. Nothing more than you already suspected.
Your perfect little life with Jesus is a beautiful mirage.
It only feels wonderful because you ignore the pain, exploitation, and cruelty necessary to keep your world going.
He draws closer to me.
His tongue flicks out.
Almost touching my face.
S. Isn’t it better to be real?
To no longer be coddled like a child.
To face the ugly truths of this world’s brokenness on your own two feet.
To eat the whole fruit of this world.
Rather than have Mommy peel your grapes to keep away the sourness.
He draws himself up, towering over me.
S. Don’t you want to finally LIVE?
The word seems to hang in the air.
Like smoke from a skywriter.
I gasp as a gentle breeze flutters through the garden.
So soft, it doesn’t break up the letters.
It just flips them around.
E. V. I. L.
Suddenly, I smile.
M. Thank you. Yes. Yes, I will.
He seems slightly taken aback at my sudden capitulation.
S. Ah… very good. But, um, I didn’t actually make you the offer yet.
M. You want me to eat from that tree, right?
[Pointing off to the West]
S. [glancing in that direction]. Oh. Er, yes. Yes. Yes, I do. But only because I truly believe it will be good for you.
M. [smiling] Yes, I know.
I just stand there, smiling at him.
S. I’m sorry, are you waiting for an invitation?
M. No. I’m actually waiting for my husband.
I didn’t know snakes could turn white.
But this one does.
S. There’s… there’s no need for that.
This tree… is more of a… private affair.
Best enjoyed alone.
I grin at him.
M. I know that, silly.
I’m waiting for him to come so we can eat at the other tree first.
S. The…. other… tree…
He follows my pointing finger to the East.
There sits a wretched, wizened, neglected old tree.
Looking older than dirt.
S. But… why would you want the fruit of that tree?
The seed is bitter.
It looks horrible.
You’ll feel like a fool.
I feel like a little girl again.
I skip over to the other tree.
A mischievous grin on my face.
M. Silly snake.
Haven’t you guessed yet?
Yes, I will need to eat of your tree if I want to fully live.
But if I eat it myself, on my own
It will destroy me.
And everything I love.
I gaze at the ugly little tree beside me.
And fondly pat its ruined bark.
That same breeze blows the letters back.
Reversed yet again.
L. I. V. E.
M. But this tree…
I know exactly how much bitterness is carried by its roots.
I see the ugliness that hides deep inside.
I can feel the shame and folly that pollute every vein.
I pause, feeling once again the anguish.
M. Yet only after eating the fruit of this tree
Can I taste the other one and not die.
S. But… how could you? Why ever would you willingly endure such awfulness?
A nearly devilish grin crosses my face.
Soft footsteps begin to approach.
The sky begins to glow.
Ethereal music fills the air.
M. Because this is where I meet my beloved.
Which makes this
No matter how horrible
[plucking a dense, wrinkly brown fruit]