[six hundred words of mythology-mixing flash fiction] Persephone, to Eve.

Your husband named the animals; mine knows the name of every dead. Your husband began at the beginning; mine is nothing but the end.

Your husband followed you from the garden so that you two might wander the earth; my husband stole me from the sun.

Your body was carved from your husband’s bone. Your husband’s chest was ripped open so that his rib (that sharp-pointed thing that once guarded his heart but is now softened, livened, given flesh if not a new purpose) could be extracted, and still he lived and then so did you.

My husband rent the earth in lieu of courtship and snatched me into hell.

We were both tricked into eating the fruit, and I wonder, do you have regrets?

(I wonder — do I?)

Would you do it over again? Would you let your teeth tear the apple’s flesh, trade the eternity of your own flesh for the expansion of your mind? Would you trade the perfect gated Garden for the entirety of the world?

Would you tempt your husband, toy with your Maker, for the wonder of exploration reflected in his eyes? Would you steal from him everything, to give him back a newer version of the same? A version you could claim as your own?

Would I? If I had known, would I still have swallowed, fruit staining my own teeth like blood?

You sold perfection in favour of the world. I sold the world in favour of forever, of what was beyond.

Was it worth it, what we paid, what we gave?

What would our husbands say, if ever we cared to ask?

You ensnared yours. Mine enared me. You broke free from the gate to take him into the world; mine broke the world to take me from the same.

But I think that we are not so different, you and I.

We are wives, but we have found that the sanctity of marriage is overshadowed by the inescapably creeping weight of knowledge. Or perhaps marriage is knowledge in and of itself, is consummated in that moment when you look into your spouse’s eyes and know instantly what is behind them.

That moment when gates open and earth cracks and mouths are open and ribs are splayed and all between you is laid bare — this, then, is what we have.

(Marriage is the damnation of knowing too much, of not being able to look away, and being loved and chosen all the same.)

We are wives in the truest sense of the word, our respective damnations be damned. We know precisely what it is we have.

We know.

And marriage, this kind of marriage, has no end. You cannot negate knowledge; the bitten skin of fruit cannot be healed, once you have bared the flesh below. Our lots were cast the moment we understood that we had lots at all.

We are open-eyed and painfully-mortal (or, in my case, caught just as painfully somewhere in-between) and bound, bound, unable to break free —

But our hands are not empty and we are not alone and this weight is shared.

And I ask you, again: Do you have regrets? Was this worth what was paid?

Because even now, this is the one piece of knowledge that is missing, the one thing I do not know, the one fact I cannot find.

And what is left for me to do here but wonder, to covet these illusory options, the other paths that I might once have pretended to take?

(Do you do the same?)

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