Real Stories

Taking Back Eden

I took a bite of that apple. Not because it was handed to me, but because I already wanted to. I pierced my teeth into its juicy crunch and licked my lips to a taste that no longer lingered. The juice traveled down my chin, and I refused to look down to wipe it because I knew what I would find. I knew that I’d made a forbidden fruit of myself, and had been bitten to the core. That my seeds shivered in their stems, and my shoulders carried a weight that I could hardly bear.

I would get what I came for. The virgin flesh of that fruit was already ripe when I’d imagined it. To taste it was to extract all of its honey onto my combed tongue. My jaws clenched themselves to their bruised open doors. Because for all the apples that had taken their turns, they’d found ways to make sauce of my brain. Press juice out of my lungs. Wring cider from my heart.

I poisoned all that I’d been given with all that I would feed.

The tears traveled down my cheek and I knew. I licked the ocean water each time it hit the shore. How couldn’t I crave the tide inside of me? Heal a thirsty tongue that grew accustomed to panting? I returned my stolen waves, obstructed waterfalls. Until the sea projected from the reflection that my eyes had been. Until the same lips that held their breath when they visited invited them in.

My seeds trembled as the ground shook beneath me. I danced until my charcoal veins fell to ashes with sun kisses. Felt my roots untangle in this new space, my limbs plant themselves in its new frame. I’ve been resting, saturating ever since. There’s nothing but sky from down here. Cradled by soil and water, I’m finally catching my breath.

by Stephanie Nieves

Stephanie Nieves (she/her) is an artist from Spanish Harlem, NY, whose self-discovery and personal empowerment inspire her writing. She holds a B.A. in writing and rhetoric and is a full-time editor versed in SEO writing, poetry, and narrative essay. You can find more of her musings on FGRLS Club and The Thought Catalog, or connect with her on Twitter and Instagram.

More From Real Stories

What If You Have Enough?

by Jaynice Del Rosario

You Were Mine

by Sandy Deringer

Purity Culture Did Me More Harm Than Good

by Linda M. Crate

Understanding What it Means to be an Introvert

by Lorna Roberts

Ready, Start, Go – Childhood Lessons

by Heather Siebenaler

What can January offer?

by Emmy Bourne