On the east side of town lived a human. This being was neither male nor female nor was this being sure where ze came from. No god was present to tell zir that ze came from dust, therefore the being, who was named W, assumed ze came from the water. All ze ever knew was the water. It came from below and was all around. W also knew ze had breath and therefore, ze was alive.
W, who lived in the east, had a garden. In the garden were many trees and also ground shrubbery, which bore fruit in season. Leafy greens, tall beans, wispy sprouts, and juicy round red spheres were abounding. Everything grew plentiful because of the water that was all around. W and zir garden drank the water and grew fruitful and happy.
The water, which took the form of a river, continued on beyond the east. The flow gave formation to the gold in the hills, and the black onyx underground. The water also gave life to the farther lands, the names of which W did not know. Ze simply knew that the river did not belong to zir, but to the ground from which it sprung.
One tree in W’s garden was a lilac tree. Ze named it so because of the flowers that bloomed only briefly as the weather warmed. It wasn’t poisonous, but simply bland and W would rather simply honor it for its beauty. W sat under the tree often and pondered zir small existence. W called the garden zirs and ze was happy and unafraid. The beauty, the nourishment, and life all around W were enough.
W passed the time by giving names to the creatures nearby. W named one furry creature Mittens, after the blue fur that covered its paws. Ze named the fish a school, and the cows, cattle [after zir favorite creature by far, the cat]. Ze called the flying creatures with feathers a flock and the small white fluttery one a foth.
W often fell into naming trances by the diversity around, and never found one quite as unique as zirself.
During one fitful dream, W was overcome with cramps high in the ribcage, short breath, and the heat of the night. Ze was having a wild dream wrought with intense dehydration of the land and of zir body. Ze woke up lost, panicked, and barren. Shortly after, W realized that ze was no longer alone.
“You were having a nightmare” spoke a voice standing above.
W sat up suddenly, pondered then repeated the word “nightmare.” Ze was immediately lost in the purple eyes of this human being standing in front of zir.
“Lilac. I shall call you Lilac.”
W couldn’t help but name the being; after all it was all ze knew to do. W was also overcome with happiness beyond zir fruitful garden, for this being looked so similar to zir reflection in the water. W thought Lilac was magical.
Lilac loved the garden of W’s beginning and loved all the creatures ze named, and all the ones ze didn’t. W and Lilac drank the water and together they lived and they were happy and unafraid.
Lilac came especially to love the lilac tree but was frustrated anytime it wasn’t in bloom. She ached to see the flowers that she was named after.
One day, while W was away, one of the garden cats sauntered over, climbed the lilac tree, and chomped on one of the drooping leaves. Lilac, the being, was shocked at the felines audacity. She had never eaten from the lilac, not from the leaves, nor from its grape-like flowers. But that brave and sweltering day, she too picked some of the leaves out of boredom, curiosity (and a bit in spite of its lack of flowers) and made use of the lilac tree, as the cat had done. Lilac, the newest being to the garden made a full meal of the leaves, and upon W’s return, they all ate together, the cats and the human beings.
Only when their bowls were empty, and the sky darkened, did W bring the news of zir travels,
“My nightmare? It is true, the fires… they are spreading. The drought has intensified.”
They realized immediately that the sun caused this bad news, not their odd meal. None of this was their fault but regardless their eyes were opened and they knew that preparations should be made. A summer like none other was coming.
Right away, they began to sew together lilac leaves (and other green leaves) to keep their being skin safe from the sun and the magnified light.
They argued as the river dried up and soil became tough. Life was much, much harder. Again, this was not for any reason but that the sun burned brighter this unfortunate year, the fires were spreading and happiness wasn’t as plentiful.
The wind carried death & change and Lilac & W were very afraid.
So with sadness in their hearts, Lilac & W made love one last time under the lilac tree. Then, they took each other in their arms & said we must move farther east where vegetables grow year round and the rain falls in heaps and where they could be naked once again.
Yes, they were afraid but they knew together they were knowledgeable enough to build again.
And so, that is the end of W’s beginning.
Together, Lilac & W, who now preferred the name “Wanderer,” along with their devoted cats, left the garden and never looked back. They continued on past the hills of gold and onyx until together they found water in the land with no name and then again, they were unafraid.
It was good that they never looked back, for the garden was ablaze and an unnamed creature stood guard. Was it a Minotaur? They would never know.
Loosely based off of heresay, but also Genesis 2:8- Genesis 3:24, so mostly heresy.
With a mix of authentic vulnerability, relevant truth, and humor, Andy Anderson writes poems that immediately make you want to be their friend. They are a co-organizer of Byrony Blaze’s Queer Poetry Takeover in Portland, OR.