(Interview with Sarah Wells)
“Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.” – Genesis 3:16b
After a day alone with my children gardening, hiking, cleaning, coloring, singing, driving, or whatever we find time to do, we are sunlight, story, song, joy, we dance around the kitchen while we prepare a meal together. And then he comes in, their father, my husband, man as storm, angry at the driver who cut him off, who looked at him wrong when he passed him on the highway, and his team lost again and I’m never watching another Sunday football game, not this season, this house is a wreck, clean up your toys, my back, my knee is killing me, I’m exhausted. The sunlight is sucked out between screen door and latch, shades darken, shoulders tense, house shudders.
Or the day is its own storm without him as the source. He is gone and I am weary of whining children who steal each other’s crayons and Matchbox cars and cling to my pants staring up with hungry, wet eyes as if I’ve never fed them dinner before and please prepare a meal for me, will we ever eat again, they beg, anything, everything, while I peel and slice the carrots, aware of the bright knife blade and cutting board, the swift and sure downward pressure that, should I turn too soon, could cut a finger, my own or theirs, or worse, and they are running, running through the kitchen, screaming and laughing, laughing and screaming, crying and whining, and I am still wearing my dress shoes, stepping over my toddler’s toes in my sharp heels as he hangs from my pressed pants, presses his drooling, crying face into the pressed pants I will have to wash and iron later after they are all asleep, praise God, asleep… and in the midst of this, he comes home from wherever he has been. He comes home, and he slides his arms around my waist and rests his chin upon my shoulder, nuzzles his beard against my neck, whispers “I missed you.”
Now, the cacophony recedes into the hum of afternoon as if the hurricane has passed, or we are paused in the eye of the storm, our children running laps around the house outside, his arms, oh his arms around my waist, his body close and I forget about the toddler hanging on my pants, forget the carrots and dinner, rest the knife on the counter, just for a moment while his beard is against my neck, his words slipping down my chest and into a reservoir that echoes over and over: You are desired; you are adored. You are desired; you are adored.
Yes, he rules over you, and you let him dominate because you want him, you want him. You are an always gaping wound he can pour vinegar in or apply salve to but either way you want him and his attention on you. Put on eye shadow and rouge, choose the necklace that catches the specks of gold in your eyes and smile all the way through the flashy night with your slim figure in your clingy shirt and skirt that sways as you walk in that casual way as if you don’t already know his eyes are following your every curve. Back in Paradise, you handed him some fruit and he took it, held the bushel basket as you plucked a perfect harvest from the tree. In Paradise, he lowered his hand to where you rested on the earth and pulled you up. You were not this cracked and leaking vessel then; you were his strength, his equal, his match. But then one slyer slithered in and said, Are you sure that’s what he meant?
Now the garden is far, he is distant, labor is hard.
I am woman, not with but other, not equal but helper, no bone of his bone but splinter, thorn, dripping faucet of a wife who wants, yearns, aches, desires and therefore is ruled by him, Adam, man, who can give and give and give, or take and take and take, and still I will stand in the kitchen waiting to see which it will be tonight.