The Tree

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07/07/2016 by paulinebsc

‘Gran, you can’t.  I’ll never live it down.’

Adam pulled on his grandma’s long skirt, trying unsuccessfully to stop her.

‘I don’t want you learning this filth,’ she yelled.  Adam was forced to follow her into his biology class.  Mr. Janson looked up surprised when hurricane Gran arrived in front of him.  After all this was Surrey, England not the American ‘Bible belt.’  Protests against the study of evolution were rare.

‘How dare you teach my grandson this rubbish?’ She flapped the biology text book at him.

‘I think you had better wait outside, Adam,’ Mr. Janson said quietly.

Later Gran came out triumphant.

‘You are not studying biology anymore,’ she told him.  ‘You will go into the library and study for your other classes instead.’

‘Yes Gran.’

Adam’s meekness was an act.  His thirst for knowledge wasn’t going to be discouraged that easily.  He knew the library had a full section on biology.  Adam wasn’t going to miss out on any topic of study.


Gran was pleased that Adam attended after-school Bible study classes, but would have been less happy to know that these classes often stressed the spirit of God rather than the literal words.  Adam enjoyed this alternative view too much to enlighten her; he was learning that not everything was contained in her Bible.


University was Heaven: so many books, so little time.  To please his Gran Adam took a course in Divinity, but he had no intention of becoming a clergyman as she hoped.  This was just his excuse to be there.  He attended all the lectures he could fit in, whatever the subject.


‘Hey.  Weren’t you in the Divinity lecture on Genesis last week?’

Adam had, as a matter of course, researched all of the students on his course and recognised the tall thin man in front of him as Michael Jones.

‘Yes, wasn’t it a fascinating lecture?’

‘Are you mad?  That professor hasn’t a clue about presentation.’

‘But the facts were there.’

Adam didn’t socialise much, but he and Michael clicked immediately and became firm friends.  He moved in with Michael two months later.  Adam gave his grandmother his new address, but knew better than to mention his new relationship. She wouldn’t have approved in the least of his new-found sexuality.


‘Got a present for you.’ Michael told Adam the day after graduation, handing him an air ticket.

‘Basra.  You mean …’ Adam’s research had led him to place the Tree of Knowledge on the River Tigris near Basra.


‘In a country that’s at war?’

Michael grinned at him.

‘Of course, that’s the whole point.  You didn’t expect it to be easy did you?’

Adam thought about it.  Michael had a point; God didn’t expect his followers to take the easy road to their desires, he grinned back and hugged his partner.

‘You’re right.  It’s perfect.  Thank you.’


There was little woodland in this part of Iraq, but that made it easier to search.  This was the fifth small area of woodland that Adam and Michael had examined.

‘That must be it.’ Michael pointed to the large olive tree whose twisted branches provided more shade than they had seen outside of cultivated areas of the country.  Its age was obvious and its fruit easy to reach. ‘Olives are mentioned many times in the Bible.’

‘What about this one?’ Adam plucked a jujube from a scrawny looking bush growing naturally.

It’s not old enough.  Don’t forget that the ‘Tree of Knowledge’ is thousands of years old.’

Adam wavered.  Michael was right about the trees age, the Jujube tree looked much younger, but he was drawn to it.

Michael saw the look on Adam’s face and gave a mischievous smile.

‘You try that one, I’ll try this one.’

Adam bit into the fruit.

Michael knew his friend was right when he saw the dazzling smile on his face.  Then Adam and the tree disappeared.  Michael was going to miss the geek, but was pleased that his partner had achieved his life’s ambition.


Adam’s spirit felt for his friend as he watched him sadly drive away.  Adam now knew how to stop the war, but he had sacrificed his ability to communicate with the world, so he could do nothing to stop it.  Nor could he warn his Michael about the suicide bomber waiting in the airport.


Adam had been granted all the knowledge he had desired, but what he was about to lose was far more valuable.


The word limit for this was 750 words.


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