Jon puts the peels from his tangerine in my pocket. That day he’d just come from delivering a colt. We met each other by a dried-out riverbed and walked it until we found water. Three months pregnant, I felt safe from his charms.
We stare at a lone water lily, and he put his arms around me from behind like he did when we were eighteen and stood at the end of Huntington Pier. I lean into him and feel the same stupid lust. I think, “I should be impervious.” I am thirty and pregnant.
I cannot look him in the eye. I talk about why I’m in California, the Milton conference, the paper about Eve and the serpent. How the serpent licked Eve’s shadow and how she fell for his flattery. How Adam’s uxoriousness deserved punishment from the god’s or god as the case may be.
I am married, I am pregnant, but I am not happy. I know this, but what I lack in marital bliss is compensated by blind loyalty to an ideal. Jon moves boulders that have been dormant for years. Stuff happens. I fall, but I do not leave my husband for another 5 years. And I end all contact with Jon, even though I’m pretty sure I loved him for a long time.
That day, hours after he left, I reach in my pocket and find the peels like slivers of light shed from a too-bright star.
Photo Credit: Stewart Ferebee, "Girl with Horse"