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 My Friend Alma  
   Rosario Górriz Fons  

drawing by Rory, age 5

My friend Alma worries me.
     She's sincere, dependable, but she tells these strange stories that I never really know how to take.
     She travels a lot. Whenever she can, she grabs her rucksack and off she goes. She never has any money, but she never has money troubles either.
     A few days ago she came back from one of her trips. (You never know where she's been until she comes back.) She's free, I guess.
     She's brought back with her a load of the most incredible stories. Alma really gets into it when she tells a story. She lives it, in a special way. Now she says that the story of the Creation is false; that the people who wrote the Bible faked things to look the way they wanted, changing whatever didn't suit them.
     'Why would they want to do that?' I ask, puzzled.
     'From fear,' she says, 'simply from fear.'
     And there and then she tells me the other version of the story.
     'It's true,' Alma says, 'that in the beginning there was chaos, but it wasn't God who came and separated things. You know,' she says, 'light from darkness, the land from the water and all the rest. You know,' she repeats.
     I try to get a word in, but before I can open my mouth Alma goes on
     'It was the Great Mother who did it all. She was the one who created the Universe and the Earth. And She was the one who took a bit of mud and moulded a human figure and called her Eve. Then She breathed on her and gave her her divine nature. And after that She showed her the secrets of Creation, and said to her, "To create, the two divine energies are necessary. The female energy has the power to create, and the male energy has the power to give material form to what is created". But since Eve was living in the material world, she needed to separate her two energies to be able to create. And that's how Adam came out of Eve's belly. Don't you think,' she asks, 'that's more logical than all that stuff about the rib?'
     I try to say something, but Alma goes on without waiting for an answer.
     'And the story of the apple tree has been twisted, too, because of course Eve could eat from it whatever she liked, but the Great Mother told her not to let Adam touch the forbidden fruit, because then he would want to be like Eve and that would be the end of Paradise. And what happened was that Adam got tired of waiting for Eve's creations to give them material form, and in his ignorance he decided that Eve's power came from the tree of wisdom and without a second thought he started gorging himself with apples like a pig. Can you picture Adam stuffing himself?'
     I try, yet again, to say something, but there's no answer to a rhetorical question. I don't know if it's right to speak that way about these things, but that's how Alma talks, and who am I to distort the facts?
     'Well,' Alma continues, 'after that the Mother came and told Eve what was going on. Poor Eve had no idea, because Adam was eating the apples behind her back. She had noticed that he seemed a bit dopey lately, but she didn't know why. The Mother explained to her that Adam was forgetting his divine origin, and that that ignorance would be handed down to all his descendants, because in giving them material form, Adam would transmit to them his own amnesia. Eve wasn't too worried at first, because she thought that she could remind them all about it, but after the business with Abel and Cain she started to have serious doubts about her creations.'
     Alma smiles at the astonishment she must be able to see in my face, but she continues without giving me a chance to say a single thing.
     'Because it turned out,' she goes on to explain, 'that when Adam had totally forgotten his divine origin, he was afraid, and he passed that fear on to his descendants, too. He was afraid of everything, and he began to be afraid of Eve more than anything else. Cain inherited this fear, not only of Eve but of his sister Abel, too because Abel was a woman, and if she wasn't, why is she described with female characteristics?'
     By now I've given up trying to answer the questions she throws out from time to time. I just want her to finish her story. I can raise my objections at the end.
     'Remember,' she goes on, 'that Eve didn't lose her power of creation, and Abel, being a woman, could create, too. That's why Adam and then Cain were so afraid of them. Poor old Adam was more or less okay, but we all know what happened with Cain. He couldn't take the pressure and - crash! (Alma is very expressive) - he killed poor Abel.'
She stops for breath. She looks me straight in the eye and goes on.
     'You get it? The first murder in history was committed by a man and the victim was his own sister. You get it?' she repeats, 'At that very instant misogyny was born. And that's how it is, as God is my witness. Or maybe I should say the Mother?' Alma muses. 'That and none other is the original sin, but of course the men who wrote the story preferred to blame death on us women and make themselves out to be little angels rather than accept their responsibility. And another thing, don't forget'
     It's no longer words that come out of her mouth. Her speech is a clean joyous torrent that, without her knowing, answers and sweeps away all of the objections that have been piling up in my mind as I listened to her - I'll say it again - incredible story.
     As you can see, my friend Alma worries me. But it isn't her or her stories that trouble me, it's the doubts she always manages to plant in my mind.

 © 1997 Rosario Górriz Fons

English translation by Graham Thomson

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