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‘This year, you’ll ask him… you won’t coward out like last year’

Seth was speaking to himself as he guided the sheep back into their pens watching the sheepdogs roam with him keeping them in line. The flock of sheep moved swiftly into the area as Seth closed the pen door. He tapped the dog on it’s head

“Good boy” he said

Set left the sheep alone as he went to the other side of the land and saw the work that needed to be done. He began toiling in the heat, wiping the sweat from his brow as he tried to make the ground ready for seeds. There was a far off corner on the other end which was coming to fruition, the first fruits of his family’s labour was paying dividend finally. Despite the setback, Seth was of age where he could consider himself a man.

He laboured under the sun for a few more hours before roaming back to check on the sheep, feeding them and the sheepdogs in the process.

At the end of the hard day’s labour he returned home to his father’s house.

“Hello everyone,” he said as he entered the door, “Mother, could you serve me my plate please? Today has been tiresome”

His mother, Eve, brought him a small bowl full of maize with a few fruits on the side and placed it before him.

“Here you are my son. Tomorrow we will feast because it is your special day, after all…”

“Please mother, thank you for this but do not remind me of tomorrow. It is just another day.”

“No Seth… it isn’t. you are my righteous son. Don’t ever forget it.”

“Where is father?” Seth replied

“He went out. Mentioned something about searching some land nearby.”

“Oh I see…”

“I think he’s doubting again…”

“I wouldn’t know belief from doubt mother”

She stepped back from Seth, “I suppose you wouldn’t”

Seth ate his food and waited for his father to arrive.

It was late, the sun had set before father entered.

“Adam, what time do you call this?” asked Eve, she was cleaning the bowls that Seth had eaten out of whereas Seth was checking the sheep once more before returning

“I think I know where He sent Cain Eve…” Adam said, dropping his sack to the floor

“Adam, not this again. Can you please let it go? He knows I have”

“You don’t understand, there was only one place He could’ve sent him. I need to see him. I only heard His side of the story about you know who”

“Please… stop..”

Seth entered. “Who knows who know who who Father?” he asked

“Seth, there you are. Give your Father a hug!” Adam replied, embracing Seth

“How are you Father? Mother says you were searching land. Are we expanding? The lambs are growing and they will start reproducing. I know you’re always thinking ahead about these things.”

“Yes son, soon we will move. And we ourselves will expand as He wishes. The land isn’t far. About 4 days walk. We have enough supplies here to scope it out further.”

“I see. That sounds wonderful Father. I can’t wait when we can toil further across this earth”

“Neither can I son. But you, please rest, you look weary. And tomorrow is a celebration. You are a man tomorrow. The grand old age of 50!”

“Father please stop…”

“You know I can’t son. As per usual, you get to ask me one question tomorrow which you cannot ask me any other day of the year and to which I must answer truthfully with as much details as you like… do you have any idea as of yet for tomorrow?”

“I do… don’t you worry”

“Wonderful. Now, go sleep”

“Yes Father”

Seth went to his room and rested. Adam looked across the room and saw Eve shaking her head

“When you are going to tell him the full story and not let him believe all of your half riddles that you speak to him yearly? He deserves to know why He let me have him!”

“Not now wife, remember, I never asked for you. He give me you. And let me not remind you of how we left.”

Eve looked at the floor and left the house. Adam took a sigh, stretched his arms and went to his chamber to sleep


The next day, Seth woke up and saw Adam and Eve already waiting for him.

“Happy birthday son! No chores for you today, I will be handling that. Now what would you like to ask me?”

“Thank you both, I appreciate it. I am grateful to Him for another year of life. May I ask you after I have eaten some fruits if possible please?”

“No problem Seth,” Adam replied, “Here, take some apples. Your mother got them this morning from the tree I planted many a year ago.”

Seth sat and ate while his father observed him with a squint in his eye

Thoughts flashed through Seth’s mind.

‘You’re not going to coward out again are you?’ he thought to himself, ‘I deserve to know. Otherwise what Mother says doesn’t make sense’

Seth finished and looked up at his parents, sighing as he did so

“I know what I want to ask Father, I’ve wanted to ask it for the last 5 years but have only summoned the courage to ask now”

Adam looked at Eve, nodded his head to her, looked back at Seth opposite him and replied, “Go ahead, my son” gulping when he finished

Seth took a deep breath, “Father, what is He like? And why doesn’t He speak to us anymore?”

Adam smiled a wry smile.

“Him? He is just and beyond anything you can imagine. Your mother can testify to that also. We, us, on the other hand. We are not just. That is why He doesn’t speak to us anymore.”

“Have we always not been just then Father?”

“You had one question Seth. If you wish to ask that, you have to wait a year. Now, please go tend to the sheep”

“You said I didn’t have to today as it’s my birthday!” Seth said perplexed, looking at his mother for some form of back up. Eve took a breath to speak and as she was about to speak, Adam replied with a monotone voice, “I am not just son. Now go” before smiling again

Seth chuckled a bit, “You’re smart” he replied

“I am your old man, have a great day with the sheep” Adam said and rose from his seat

Seth left the room and Eve looked at Adam, “I can’t believe you” she said

“And I don’t believe him either. He’s too young. Bit by bit we tell him ok… bit by bit”