Adam Ash

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Monday, May 29, 2006



She thought that the experience with Ezra would change things. His devilish buccaneership would rescue her from guilt. She would marry him and be whole again -- have a Blessed on her side for her climb up the ladder of her ambition.

But back in New York, she sank further. It started the moment she stepped off the plane. She remembered: the angel had not appeared when she slept with Ezra. She had had an orgasm -- many, many -- but she had been forsaken by her connection to heaven. Sex had not made a bridge to the divine.

She looked at herself in the mirror. Esther was right, she was looking haggard. Losing her looks, the power of her beauty. Maybe she should try and have a child again, to make up for the one she had just killed -- and for the little girl she had lost years ago. Another death growing in her. Her depression doubled. Another disaster growing inside her. Like a tumor. Death twice over.

She avoided Rachel for ten days, and then broke down. She needed to talk to someone about what had happened, about how she was being eaten alive by the void inside her.

“I did it.”

“You did what?”

“I got rid of the child.”

She was calling it the child instead of an infection. That was how much the experience, or rather the after-experience, had changed her.

There was a long silence. Eve looked at Rachel, and then looked away, staring into the distance. After more than a minute, she looked back at Rachel, looking for sympathy, for empathy, for softness. She looked back at stone.

“How could you?”

The stone was more than a stone, it was a knife pointing at her. A gun.

“I believe I was wrong regarding this.”

“Wrong? Of course you were wrong.”

Eve did not know it, but Rachel was worried about Mary’s cough. Classified as a Scarlet, she did not have health insurance. She could not take Mary to a doctor. The child was lying in bed, helpless.

“My career was at stake,” said Eve. “I did not want to marry Adam, did I? And I don’t want to be reclassified as a Scarlet, do I?”

“In other words, you only thought about yourself. An act of selfishness, plain and simple. Rank ambition. You wanted to get on in the world.”

“Is it so wrong for a woman to have a focus on getting on in the world? Men are allowed to want it, aren’t they?”

“You forget your prime role as a female. It is to bear a child. That’s why God created females. Bearing children, that is a female’s function. God did not create females to be leading members of the Bureau of Behavior Design and Management.”

“I cannot believe in a God who did not want to give women any other focus besides child-bearing.”

“Of course there are other roles. But the prime role is childbearing. You could have married Adam. Would he have wanted to marry you?”

“I actually believe he might want it.”

“You should marry him now and fall pregnant again immediately. That is the only way to atone for your sin.”

“I can’t do that. I feel too miserable regarding this.”

“Well then, immediately after you get over being miserable.”

“You’re giving me no sympathy. I thought you were my friend.”

“You don’t deserve sympathy. You deserve punishment. You have committed a mortal sin. You will have to devote the rest of your life to expiating this sin.”

“If I can get over my misery, I will return to my focus on my ambition. I believe I have something to contribute to the society.”

“No, you don’t believe that. You believe your ego can be satisfied by a higher status. That’s what it’s all about for you. Status.”

Eve did not want to argue with Rachel. “Why are you being such a bitch, Rachel?”

Rachel could not tell her best friend about her problem with Mary. She could not share anything with this person who had become a stranger to her. She could not believe Eve had actually done this terrible thing. Eve was a terrible person.

“How dare you call me a bitch?” Rachel burst out. “Look what you’ve done. You’re a sinner! I don’t know why I’m sitting here with a sinner! If your life ended today, you’d go to hell! I may be a Scarlet, but at least I won’t go to hell if I die tomorrow!”

“You don’t have to worry. You’re going to be reclassified because of that decrepit old Blessed you’ve sold yourself to!”

“I have not sold myself to him!”

“Oh yes, you have. You’re sleeping with a distasteful old lech so you can get yourself reclassified.”

“He wants me to sleep with his friends while he watches.”



“Oh, Rachel.”

“If I do it, he’ll have me reclassified back to Beloved.”

“And if you don’t?”

“I become a V-doll.”

“He said that?”


“But if you sleep with his friends while he watches, you might as well be a V-doll.”

“That’s what I was thinking.”

“What are you going to do?”

“I’ll become a V-doll.”

“Oh, Rachel.”

Rachel’s benefactor, who was going to make it easy for her to become a Beloved again, was now going to make it easier for her to become a V-doll. The alternative he presented was a bigger shock to her pride than being a V-doll.

“Perhaps I should just end it all,” said Rachel.

“What about Mary?”

“She’s the only reason I still have to live. And now she’s sick.”

“What’s the matter?”

“The cough. The past two weeks. I can hardly leave her alone, poor baby.”

And I thought I was suffering, thought Eve. Look at poor Rachel. How can I help her? I can’t. I can’t even stop her from becoming a V-doll. I’m friends with Esther Todd, and I can’t stop my friend from becoming a V-doll. What would Esther say if I asked her to help Rachel? How could I ask Esther? She’d drop me like a ton of bricks if she knew I consorted with a Scarlet.

“And now you’re a murderer, Eve. My only Beloved friend in the world, and you’re a murderer. I guess us Scarlets should stick to being Scarlets, and let the rest of the world, all you Beloveds and Blesseds, go to hell, which is where you for one will be going now. I may be a V-doll soon, but at least I haven’t committed a crime.”
“What do you call having a child out of wedlock?”

“It’s not a crime! I didn’t go to jail for it. I just got reclassified. You could go to jail for what you’ve done. Pass right by us Scarlets and V-dolls, and go straight to jail. You’re beneath me now, you know. You’re a criminal. I don’t know why I’m consorting with you. You should be in jail!”

“What kind of a friend are you when I can’t turn to you when I need you?”
“Now you need me! Why didn’t you talk to me to before you went? I could’ve talked you out of it.”

“I did talk to you, didn’t I?”

“I didn’t know you were going to do it so soon. You never gave me a chance to talk you round! It’s terrible! I feel I didn’t stop you from sinning! You’re trying to implicate me in your sin!”

“How can you call me your friend if this is your focus?”

“How can you call me your friend?”

“You can’t be my friend if you won’t stand by me regarding this!”

“You can’t be a friend if you go around murdering children!”

Rachel was the first to stand up. Eve looked up at her. She was the first to cry. Rachel cried too, but only after she started walking away. She did not turn back. She walked out of the park and straight to Mary’s bedside. She said goodbye to her babysitter. Mary slept soundly, which gave Rachel the opportunity to continue crying.


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