Chapter III: An Apple and a First Step
The Angel strode on ahead of me, his walk strong and confident. I followed at a small distance behind him, my arms around me – even though it wasn’t cold – and my eyes gazing at everything.
Passing through the door had seemed like passing into another world (for all I knew, we could have been). We were walking through a path in the woods. The trees were so large and tall that I could only glimpse the sky for a few seconds before it disappeared behind nature’s curtain. There was a soft fog that glided across the ground, like a small ocean.
I looked up to see that the Angel was standing at the edge of the forest. I could see sunlight streaming out behind him, creating a stunning silhouette. I realized I was gawking and so I shut my mouth, hiked up the dress, and joined him on the edge.
We now stood on a grassy hill overlooking a deep valley. In the distance, a tall mountain range lined the horizon. “That,” the Angel said, “is our destination.”
I followed his gaze and raised my eyebrows in disbelief. “Those mountains. Are you serious? It’ll take us days to get there! And we don’t have any food or –“
“You worry too much,” he said, smirking. He reached behind me and plucked something from a tree; an apple.
“Are you sure I’m allowed to eat this?” I asked, a hint of sarcasm creeping into my voice.
“Why wouldn’t you be?”
“Oh, I wasn’t sure if there was some restriction on holy fruit or anything. You know, with the whole circumstance of Eve and the Serpent?”
“This is not Eden,” he replied.
I took the apple from his hand. The skin resembled that of a ruby, polished so fine I could make out my reflection. With a last glance towards the Angel, I sank my teeth into the delicate fruit.
The Angel asked, “How is it?”
I shrugged. “It’s alright.”
He raised his eyebrows.
“Okay, it’s by far the best apple I’ve ever tasted in my life. Happy now?”
“Very much so,” he said. “Now come on, we’ve got a long journey ahead of us. What is that saying? ‘A journey of a thousand miles --”
"Begins with a single step."
“Ladies first, then.” He made a sweeping gesture with his arm. With a slight smile, I began the descent down the grassy slope.