My Personal Garden of Eden
by Callie Summers
“No, no, no, no.” I said aloud shakily, tasting vomit in the back
of my mouth.
“Yes, yes, yes, YESssss.” Sabrina screamed as we zoomed down the
zealous green roller coaster called the “Steel Eel.” We plummeted
towards the shimmering lake below, and just as we were preparing to take a
dive, we swooped up to the next curve, feeling the whoosh of the wind.
“Roller coasters are so awesome!” I said as we got back on. There
were no lines for rides at this park. Later in the day, after eating
everything from sticky pink and blue cotton candy to sugary funnel cakes we
could smell from a mile away, we retired to The Red House, since it was
Monday. I have seven houses, one for each day of the week, all on the
Mediterranean Coast on the Greek Island of Santorini.
They are all whitewashed with different colored doors for each day, in order
of the color wheel. Monday is cherry red, Tuesday is Reese’s Pieces
orange, Wednesday is sunny dandelion yellow, Thursday is grass green, Friday
is sky blue, Saturday is dark sea blue, and Sunday is moonlight indigo. All
the furniture, accessories, and clothing inside are in accordance to the
color of the door. As Sabrina and I entered through the Red Door, we nearly
collided with Vivian who was running out with her palette of colors to paint
the sunset. To bad all my friends are artists and I’m not. At least I
can sit and watch! I thought, as Katherine, Viv, Sabrina, Lisa, Sarah,
Meghan, Mimi, Becky, and Emily rushed past me with their colors and
canvases. I prepared a roll of film. Today I was going to try black and
white. I attached the best one.
“George?” I called.
“The usual for all of us, and ingredients for s’mores please.
Please see that the fire is blazing before the sun sets.”
“Yes m’am.” He came back quickly with my Shirley
Temple and gave the other girls their drinks, which they sipped every
so often as a break from their furious painting. After the sun had faded
into the ocean’s horizon, we began to make s’mores. The unmistakable
smell of s’mores started to waft through the air, almost overtaking the
salty smell of ocean. Katherine beat the record by eating nineteen. The best
thing is, we never gain weight or become sick or have to shower unless we
feel like it. And our skin never breaks out no matter how much junk food we
eat! We talked late into the night, watching old reruns of I
Love Lucy. Some of us, including myself and Katherine, always get up
early so as not to waste any part of our day. Others, like Mimi and Becky,
sleep in till10. Katherine and I went to the boutique to try on the latest
dresses in from London
, one sent in special by our dear friend Kalyanna. Then we stopped by the
library so I could check out one of my favorite book again. Right now I have
about one thousand books in my personal collection here and 20 new books
arrive each month. Next we stopped by the bakery, where we just got the
recipe for Shipley’s donuts. We pick two dozen for the girls when they
wake up and an apple pie for our boat trip later in the day. We quickly
swing by the studio, which is for our use for us to pursue any fine arts we
might enjoy, from photography to dance to singing. Katherine, Mimi, Meghan,
and Becky just recently recorded an album together, and I still needed a
copy of their song Always Mine on my Ipod. The most important thing
was, we aged, but we took our time to live our lives, while the rest of the
world sped on to exciting lives of education and career and success, and we
were content to just be with our friends, just doing nothing much but having
fun and relaxing. We hear from our old friends from time to time, but they
don’t really talk about their world. So other than our own little village,
we know nothing of the outside world. Sometimes we even forget it’s there.
We have our own food, theme park, shops, homes, shelter, everything we could
want. Right? In our library, we have no nonfiction. Everything is fiction.
We don’t want to know anything about the outside world because we think it
will disrupt our peace. This discussion rarely comes up, but when it does,
we get very defensive and moody for days. My point of view is, ignorance is
bliss. Right? What could their possibly be out there that could be of any
use to us?
“Knowledge.” Becky said to me one day. “I read in this book. It
says knowledge is power.”
“But honey,” I soothed. “Those are fiction.”
“But what if the outside world has something we don’t? Something
better? I have been thinking, and I –”. Oh, no, I thought.
She’s been THINKING. No one has ever done that here before.
“-I-I’m curious.” Oh, no! Curious too? Now we’re in trouble.
She’ll start talking to the other girl’s and their lives will be
changed, because no matter how happy they thought they were here,
they will always suspect that I’m keeping something better from them.
The next day Becky disappeared. Soon after that, people started coming from
everywhere to stay here, thinking all their worldly troubles would escape
them. And they did feel better. But now that the outside world had come to
us, we knew things we had never known or felt before. We felt pride for
having such a good sanctuary. We felt competitive, knowing that our new
resort had a lot of contenders for consumers’ vacation plans. I was not
sure I liked this new change. I gained weight quickly and got sick often and
broke out constantly and felt cranky with my one-bedroom flat and smoggy
city view of London
, where I lived now. Ignorance is bliss. I thought as I lay
down on the couch, eating a salad as I turned on the news to see horrific
images of the terrorist war. I made my four year old son avert his eyes
while I flipped the channel. Childbirth with him had been difficult; I had
never experienced that kind of pain before. My husband had to work late,
trying to get as many hours in as possible so we could pay the bills. I
never saw my old friends anymore. I had been the tentative Adam, Becky the
curious Eve, and a School House Rock book the evil serpent.