Adam Ash

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Sunday, February 26, 2006

JESUS NATION SEX REBEL, mini-chapter 6


Eve checked the look of a blouse against her complexion. No. Something tighter. Sexier. For the so-called game of love.

She thought of the day ahead. As big a day as this was for her -- the more-than-halfway mark in her life -- it was an even bigger day for the nation. A public exorcism: the arch fiend cast out by God in the purity of His fire; a huge release for the nation’s feelings of vengeance.

Sometimes she thought she herself was capable of great floods of feeling, but then she suppressed the thought. More than anything else, after everything that had happened that summer, she wanted calm. Yes, she and Ezra had had a marriage. He had been her best friend, her loyal pal. A provider. A bulwark. But her security had come at a price: the non-fulfillment of a longing that she’d tried to slake for a few months after her divorce with a number of men -– madly -- as madly as she adored her Savior the Lord. Then intermittently. Then she stopped. Corked her longing. Laid it down to gather dust like bottled wine in a cellar. No more men.

For three years now she’d shielded her yearning under the many details of her obligations to her patients. She tried to keep its stirring underfoot, a child standing on a secret. But the need was there, prowling somewhere out of sight, rodent-like, behind the pulpit she looked at every Sunday, down in the well of her psyche where she was afraid to look. A longing with the power to swoop her into big convention-defying acts. She could not name that yearning –- she didn’t want to -– but it was ready to jump out.

She stood lost in self-contemplation, her eyes focused somewhere beyond the bathroom. She looked past the mirror, past the slogan, past her church, past Reverend Redburn’s sermons, past her Prayer Circle, past the power of worship to infuse her soul and direct her energy. Her gaze was so averted, so deep into herself, that at first she didn’t notice the tears streaming down her cheeks again.

Darn it, woman, you’re crying. Get a grip. You’re not the crying kind. You’re too proper. Too devout. Too scientific. Eve willed herself to stop. Then she blotted the tears away, and applied a few eye-drops to clear the red.

Why had she been crying? Because of three years of abstinence?

She shook her head. Why complain about it now? Her libido had sublimated itself into her profession. She was curing her patients and leaving herself unhealed. By trying to harness the unruly libidos of her patients into fixed, acceptable ways, she had dulled her own. In a strange way, it had helped her find comfort in an exclusive attachment to God. He had become the most important man in her life.

Now she was about to step into the world of men again, to play the game of love, which made men winners and women losers. She had tried once before, gotten married, and failed to produce a child. Maybe God would give her a second chance. She thought she heard God say: I forgive you, child.

You do, God? You forgive me now that I’m about to share You shamelessly with other men -- turning from communion with You to sexual congress with them?

I forgive you, child. It’s not too late for you to bring children into the world, which is your heavenly duty as a female on earth.

She turned back to the mirror, strengthened in her resolve to meet men again. She was going to smile at them, laugh at their jokes, and watch their confidence about possessing her rise to the surface.

I should do something else, she thought, something physical and unpredictable, to mark this day. I should celebrate this occasion with something besides seeing my best friend Rachel for my birthday dinner. Something concrete to launch myself forward into the new game with my flag flying.

Heavens. A thought uncurled itself inside her, like a butterfly waking from a chrysalis. My oh my, was this something the Lord would countenance? Why not?

Eve slipped her bra off the towel rack, lifted it high over her head, and dropped it ceremoniously on the bathroom floor. Extreme but somehow appropriate. Here was the physical act that would mark her thirty-fifth birthday along with her profile on

At the age of thirty-five, for the first time in her life, she wouldn’t wear a bra. She felt connected to history, to the days before mandatory bras, to a time long ago when women cast off their bras in acts of rebellion.

Funny how God’s forgiveness released this mischief in her.

Watch out, world. I am Eve Trent, rebel woman. I too can indulge in slightly risky behavior. I too can fly free into the future. I too can go against myself.

Up to a point, anyway.

This tight black dress, for instance. Was it too sexy for the supremely serious occasion of burning a man at the stake?


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