He always came for us in the evening, came with his familiar, kind voice calling “Where are you?” with that sweet singsong lilt; we would immediately emerge from whatever we had been doing - glad to down tools, to end the day in his company. Sometimes we would be waiting for him in some new favourite place we had discovered, or we would stay hidden and try to trick him with animal noises (that made us all laugh); or (actually my favourite) we would all three play sardines, and oh I so loved finding myself in a shady thicket where he was pretending to be a tree, and us both keeping silent as mice while Adam caught up with us. Sharing him was beautiful; having him to myself was more exquisite than I can put words to.
But on that day, when he came calling, we stayed silent.
No game, no joke, no laughter … but shame, that burning shame with its terrible deep cold horror.
Why didn’t we just own up immediately - go calling for him at the first opportunity? Why did we both want to blame the other, drive enmity between us, to match the devastation in our own hearts?
I did not know myself; I could only cringe, seek darkness, try to cover myself with any possible thing, only wishing to not be where the fearful consequences of my behaviour had me trapped.
As if denial could alter what was already done.
And his voice called “Where are you?”, and with ever increasing agitation - he knew, I sure he knew before we told him what we had done - and with the searing sound of sadness in his voice, agonisingly searing again what had shattered in my heart when I reached out and took that bite, when we together chose to take that deathly bite … wretched, ugly, sour fruit.
“Where are you? …. Where are you?”
The echo of his question haunts my nights, my days. He called my name and I didn’t come to him.
“Where are you?“
I can no longer distinguish in myself between his call and my own. My name, my whole being, has become this one question, this unquenched, unbearable longing.
My heart, my life, has become a yearning: to be called once again, by my name, to meet with him in the cool of the evening.