by Theresa J. Barker
Author’s note: This story was inspired by Ursula Le Guin’s story in the New Yorker, “She Unnames Them,” in which Eve leaves Adam by giving him back her name.
The interviewer sat across the desk, shuffling papers. “So, you left your last position because . . .”
Eve shifted in her chair. “Let’s just say it didn’t work out.”
He looked at her dubiously.
She shrugged. “The management and I didn’t get along.”
“I see. References?”
“Uh … not exactly.”
He jotted notes on the yellow pad in front of him.
“I’ve done a lot of housesitting,” she said, leaning forward. “Been a caretaker all my life.”
He jotted more notes. “Experience with animals?”
“Oh?” He looked skeptical. “Dogs? Cats?”
She took a deep breath. “Dogs, cats – yeah. Horses, pigs, cows, chickens, ducks. Yaks. Birds, parrots, cockatiels – you know – all those exotic breeds.”
He was scribbling notes furiously. She chuckled to herself.
“. . . spiders, gnats, mosquitoes,” she went on. “. . . termites, ants, bats, owls eagles – let’s see, seals dolphins, whales . . .”
He put down his pen. “Really.”
She grinned. “Oh, yeah.”
“Some of my best friends, in fact.” She relished his look of disbelief. “They tell the best stories.”
“Uh huh.” He was leaning back now, arms crossed.
She cocked her head thoughtfully. “I think it’s because they live such a long time. You know, over a hundred years. And talk about family. Aunts, grandmothers, cousins, nieces, grand-nieces, all over the place. “
“And do they move!” She flung out an arm. “Way down south in the winter, up north in the summer. They see most of the planet.”
“Well.” He leaned forward, picked up the papers, glanced through them, looking down. “I think we have everything we need.”
“So do I get the job?”
“We’ll be in touch.”
On the way out, she thought about the interviewer for a moment. She knew he didn’t believe her. They never did. Without a past, without references, it was hard to get anywhere in this town.
But she was a woman who made her own future. She was a woman who beat the odds, bested a serpent, and got kicked out of the Garden of Eden by the deity, after all. She was a part of the world. She was the world.
She did have one thing on her side. Walking down the sidewalk toward the bus stop, she sent a message to the mosquitoes. A little surprise for the interviewer when he arrived at his office tomorrow morning.