Adam and Eva:
a prequel to
Part One: Meet Adam
Seemingly, Adam is an ordinary man living in an ordinary northern town. He is a forty-something Civil Servant, drives a blue Ford Fiesta, and plays abysmal golf every Saturday afternoon. His body is subjected to a weekly intake of four pints of lager, three chocolate milkshakes and abundant mugs of lukewarm Yorkshire Tea.
Adam watches Top Gear on television. He dislikes sledging, yet has a fixation for multicoloured Alpine bobble hats, and, whilst out and about, he is inexplicably drawn to cheese factories.
He has a wife called Mandy. His two goldfish, Laurel and Hardy, live in a dreary tank on a cheerless shelf and they seemingly mirror Adam’s mundane life.
But you should know from the very beginning that this is not a conventional blog about love, for Laurel and Hardy may actually be female and beneath the surface, Adam is far from ordinary. The mysterious Eva has not yet tumbled inside the Garden of Eden. Her billowing red dress is snagged on top of the wall.
Part Two: Meet Mandy
Amanda or ‘Mandy’ is married to Adam. She’s a fifty-something headmistress at a private school for boys and she personally takes charge of the drama department. Her outlandish production of the Vagina Monologues is still being passionately debated by the school’s Governors and Counsellors.
She despises overtly feminine or flirty clothing, preferring to wear her favourite green culottes, baggy cardigans and pop socks. With her short boyish hair and long masculine overcoats she is sometimes mistaken for a Methodist preacher.
She has a severe polishing fetish that compels her to make her house look impeccable at all times. Adam is barred from the living room. It is strictly reserved for her two special visitors – her spinster sister, Mavis, and her best friend, Anita, a vertically challenged pet clairvoyant.
Mandy reluctantly tolerates her husband’s grubby fish tank that is hidden amongst his vile golf books in the study, yet she secretly longs for the day when only Anita will be able to contact them.
She compares the act of sex to having a bout of measles. It’s rash, only a disease for the young and to be endured in quarantine. Mandy was born into the wrong body. She should have been a stoat.
Part Three: Unconscious Uncoupling
It began with a simple dream. It ended with a barrage of them. Like his beloved goldfish, Adam longed for freedom.
It was obvious that his wife, Mandy, despised him and on several occasions, whilst nibbling Caerphilly cheese and thumbing through his favourite golf manual, he had wondered why he had ever married her. His conclusion was usually the same.
Adam had been brought up by a foster family and his new parents had been functional rather than loving. There had been a clear pecking order within the household: the two greyhounds, his foster parents’ daughter, her three-legged terrapin, then, finally, himself.
Mandy was eleven years his senior and she had taken on the role of the mother he’d never had. Now, at the age of 40, Adam was ready to fly the nest.
Adam was now a man.
His initial escape plan paid homage to the legendary Scottish rebel, William Wallace and the ‘Braveheart’ approach. Simply dress up in a kilt, paint your face in a macho way, shout: “Freedom!” and then storm out of the house with a packed lunch and a chocolate milkshake.
He already had the fancy-dress outfit, which consisted of a tartan car rug, an old fur stole and Mandy’s hideous Sunday-pink lipstick. Although, on the last occasion he had worn the outfit he’d won a humiliating prize for impersonating Britney Spears.
No, on second thoughts, Adam decided not to ‘uncouple’ in a camp sort of way, he would devise a far more cunning plan . . .
Part Four: The Pendle Witch Test
When his wife, Mandy, proposed that Adam should take her to the notorious Pendle Hill in Lancashire, a crafty idea popped into Adam’s head. He began to wonder if he could seek a divorce based on her witchcraft. His hopes were boosted when she extended an invitation to her best friend and weird pet-clairvoyant, Anita.
The Pendle Witches lived in the villages below Pendle Hill in the early 1600s and the wily old cures that they offered to local neighbours had brought suspicion, vengeance and eventually their merciless downfall.
Mandy’s demeanour around his beloved fish was far from Christian and was it really a coincidence that his chocolate milkshakes were turning sour? Adam and the two crones began the Witches' Trail from the charming village of Barley and it was outside a 17th century cottage that Anita suffered her first convulsions.
Whilst she was hollering and wailing about the ghost of a strangled black cat, Adam subtly took an incriminating photograph. Then, beneath their suspiciously pointy bobble hats, the crones strolled on to the ducking stools of the Lower Black Moss Reservoir, but despite Adam’s suggestion of a gentle paddle in the water, neither obliged.
On the 17th August 1612, after a three day trial at Lancaster Castle, ten witches were found guilty of witchcraft and their bodies were soon swinging from the gallows. Sadly, after a final request for a piece of carrot cake, it was only Mandy’s enormous tummy that swung grotesquely, as she waddled back towards the car . . .
Part Five: A Far More Cunning Plan
In a desperate effort to try and unhinge his wife and instigate divorce proceedings, Adam decided to feign a midlife crisis. He had always suspected that Mandy was attracted to his youthful, guileless mannerisms and toy-boy status, so he began to deliberately distort this perception by acquiring a second-hand racing bike, a khaki cap and squeezing his body inside multi-coloured lycra.
To enhance his new persona, he also began to wear a single earring. However, giving in to his fear of the blood and horror of an actual piercing, he raided the fancy-dress box and discovered a small clip-on bauble. The purple bead-like object had once belonged to Mandy’s spinster sister, which made him feel even more devious.
Finally, he invested in some practical jokes; a hideous rubber slug for the lounge and a toxic potion of itching powder mixed with black pepper for insertion into Mandy’s bras. Adam surveyed his new mischievous toolkit and smiled. Now he was officially middle-aged.
His cunning plan was still in its infancy when he was summoned to the study. “You stupid boy!” Mandy shouted, as she hurled the rubber slug towards his head. “Your actions are despicable and you will have to be disciplined. You’re not playing golf at the weekend, because you’ll be in detention.”
“Detention?” Adam gawped at her. “You can’t . . . I’m nearly forty-one!”
“More like fourteen! Your clubs are locked up in my office at the school.”
Mandy aggressively scratched her bosom. “Anyway, you’ll be pleased to know that I’ve found your matching earring.”
Part Six: The Marriage Guidance Counsellor
Ms Joyce Freeman was a morose, grey-haired lady, whose wiry body was draped in straggly black wool. She had the kind of face that even a rescue dog couldn’t love.
When Adam was ushered in silence towards a plastic black chair, he quickly felt optimistic. There was already a sense that his marriage was being administered the Last Rites.
As the Counsellor formally introduced herself, Adam’s thoughts were swept back to his wedding day. He remembered his lavish grey suit, his foster mother’s fruit-themed bonnet and even a small, toffee-like feeling of optimism. He also recalled the grotesque and abundant bridesmaids, Mavis and Anita, and the bride’s audacious vintage dress, or ‘post-Viking’ as Adam’s sister had cheekily described it.
Now, nineteen excruciating years later, his wife was sitting next to him wearing a mushy pea coloured smock, as she impatiently waited for their loving union to be strangled. It was as clinical as drowning kittens in a bucket.
“My marriage is doomed!” Mandy wailed like a plague-infested opera heroine. “My wretched husband likes to wear ladies’ earrings and my bras!”
Adam grimaced. “No, that’s not entirely true. I only tampered with your undergarments to smother them in itching powder.”
“I see.” Ms Freeman peered at him over her leopard print spectacle frames. “So you use the itching powder to try and repel your shameful cross-dressing urges?”
Adam was about to object, when suddenly his brain was bombarded by memories of his courageous quests to obtain his freedom - Braveheart, the Pendle Witches, Britney Spears, and the sweaty torture of his lycra shorts.
Taking a deep breath, his head slowly began to nod . . .
Coming in the future: ‘All about Eva’
Photographic copyright © Sabine Robinson