Introducing "Just like Eve"

Breaking from its traditional non-fiction format, whispers of mystery is currently following Karina’s fictional novel, Just like Eve. Karina began the themes explored here in 2008, in a non-fiction book she titled The Feminine Mystery, alluding to Betty Frieden’s 1963 classic, The Feminine Mystique, which explores what Frieden calls “the problem that has no name” -- a problem Karina believes is Eve’s second curse to desire her (earthly) man, not sexually, but as a completion to her. Realizing her discoveries were too controversial for non-fiction, Karina decided to clothe her message in fiction. For years, she tried many story-lines and faced much writer’s block. In late 2017, she birthed Just like Eve, mixing the main storyline with a backdrop she could write about with her own sport of tennis.

Storyline: Heroine Jasmine, 32, is judged several times in life for being "just like Eve," first in 5th grade for asking off-limits questions, like why Noah let God drown the world. Now she's judged again with the same "just like Eve" line. She and 30 year old Davie are both married to others, are USTA mixed doubles partners, attend the same church for which Davie is the youth pastor, fall for one another, and act on it. They seek accountability from the church leadership and it backfires. The church can't handle it. Jasmine is kicked out of church, thought to be a temptress. But was she? And what about Eve? And what might Eve really stand for? Jasmine is on a quest . . .

Click for a sneak peak at some of her discoveries (then scroll down)

Click to start Just like Eve at the beginning (then scroll down)


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Monday, May 27, 2019

Climax: Love 30, Part 1

In the final version, more suspense will lead up to this “Love 30” section about to be developed in 3-4 parts, including one from Davie’s point of view.  But anyone following the slow pace of this draft has waited long enough, and I have to finish drafting this climactic scene so all the rest falls into place.

“What a great match!” Davie smacked Jazzie’s right hand up high for their High 5, then down for a Low 5 into a grasp to shake hands, keeping the shake slightly longer than a usual hand shake.  It was their typical ritual of triumph.  Except this time, their hands lingered especially long. 
Jasmine can’t help it.  Mindy's text that Justin would "Love 30" flashes her memory straight back to that turning point evening.  She wondered that night if any of the other players had caught their especially long handshake.  Already, she was continuing to worry their envelop was getting pushed dangerously far.  Little did she know what the rest of the evening would bring.
Their opponents, BD and Gabbie, who barely lost to them in a three set match that went 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 came to the net to shake hands.  Grasping Davie’s hand with a strong shake, BD said, “You know, we let you win, ‘cause it is your birthday.”
“Tomorrow,” Davie corrected.  “How did you know?”
“Yeah, tomorrow, Friday,” BD replied, “But today, we get to celebrate.  And since we’re celebrating with you on a Thursday and your birthday is on a Friday, we’re not going to The Alley tonight.  We’re going to TGI Fridays, where we’ve reserved the party room. It should be all set up.”
“Really?”  Davie scanned his eyes to everyone at Mixed Doubles Night.  Finally, he made it around the circle of friends to the one standing next to him, Jasmine.  He held on his eyes on her.  “How did you know?”
Jasmine smiled.  “The church bulletin really shouldn’t announce the birthdays of its staff.”
“No, it shouldn’t,” Davie sighed.  “I mentioned that when I first arrived. ‘Do we really want to announce these?’  The secretary said, ‘Why not?  You all don’t get enough appreciation. This is a way our congregants can send you love.  They don’t feel comfortable doing random acts of kindness,’ she said, ‘but they’ll do something special for your birthday.  Some send cards,’ she said, ‘Some Bible study groups pool their money for gifts.  Some donate to a church project in your name.’  She never said, ‘Your Mixed Doubles group will throw you  party’!”
“You’re welcome,” Jasmine smiled.
“They didn’t announce which birthday it is, did they?”
“No.  They don’t put the year, only the day.  I mentioned to BD that your birthday was coming up, and he said, ‘He’s 29.  This one must be 30!’ He was right, right?”
Davie gave BD his teasing glare, nodded, and groaned, “Yeah, he was right.”

As a party organizer, Jasmine was one of the first to make it out to the parking lot.  She started her car and found and it dangerously low on gas.  So wrapped up in the party planning, she hadn’t remembered to fill her tank.  If only TGIFs was not in the opposite direction to her home, she’d be able to make it fine.  Should she get gas on the way and miss seeing Davie’s reaction to the decorations she had prepared, or should she risk it and wait to get gas on the way home?  
Jasmine’s face must have betrayed her quandary because Davie stopped by her window on the way to his car.  “Everything OK?”
“Yeah, I’m just low on gas.  I should get some on the way, but I don’t want to be late.”
“No need to be.  Just ride with me!”
“You’d have to bring me back here before you head home – from your own party.”
“It’s on my way home anyway.  And what better way to add to my birthday celebration than to have your company there and back?”
Feeling a glow within herself, Jasmine hopped into his car.

Parking was tight in the shopping center where TGIFs was located.  Davie drove through the lot closest to TGIFs, but found nothing.  On the other side of the road, in the next lot over, Davie found an almost open parking spot between two SUVs, both a little too close for comfort, and the one to the right possibly illegal.  “Good thing I’ve got a Toyota Corolla,” he said while gently squeezing his car into the spot.  Since the especially close car was next to the passenger, Davie checked on Jasmine.  “Did I give you enough space to get out?”
“Yep.” Jasmine felt victorious, as she made her belly as tight as she could.  “I’m free!”
“Hopefully we can get you back in too,” Davie said, chuckling.
“Maybe that car will be gone by then?”
Chuckling, Davie replied, “Yeah, just imagine it’ll be some hefty guy who will have to squeeze his way into that driver’s seat.”
“Serves him right!” they exclaimed in unison.
Curious, the two checked the tires against the parking lines.  The front tire was fully in the spot with a couple of inches to spare.  The back tire was on the line.
As a true tennis player, Davie called it “on the outside of the line.  He’s ‘in,’ but barely.”
Jasmine smiled.  “If that guy’s ‘in’ for tennis, he’s probably good for the parking attendant too.”
Davie nodded, rolling his eyes.  Then he  caught something else: the car’s bumper sticker.
“Warning:
In case of Rapture,
This vehicle will be de-manned”

“Makes you want to put a new sticker on top of it, huh? Like one that says, ‘Left Behind!’”
“Or a new one next to it,” Jasmine suggested.  “I know just the one: ‘Who would Jesus bomb?” 
The two doubled up into laughter, knowing that whoever puts up a “de-manned” sticker never asks a question like that.
“I’m not one to believe in a ‘Rapture,’” Davie said, “But even if I did, I sure wouldn’t celebrate it like that guy.”
Jasmine nodded, remembering fifth grade Sunday School.  Should she take the chance to ask her  still unanswered 11 year old question?
Walking across the road of the parking lot to TGIFs, Jasmine decided to test the waters.  “Kind of makes me think of Noah.  He didn’t fight the Flood.”
Davie stopped in his tracks, halfway in the middle of the road.  He looked straight into her eyes and rested his two hands on the sides of her shoulders.  “You’re the only Christian I’ve ever known to say you have a problem with Noah.”
Uh oh.  Was she wrong to have taken the risk?  Davie’s eyes showed he was serious, possibly astonished, even pleased.  His eyes straight into hers sent a bolt  of electricity up her spine.
This is your chance.  Take  it.
“Yes,” she replied quietly, apologetically.  “I do.”
Davie continued to look deep into her eyes.  Jasmine wanted nothing more than to gaze into his eyes all night long.  But they were standing in the middle of a road.  She heard a car, looked past Davie, and cried, “Car!”
Davie then took her hand into his and they ran to the sidewalk.  Davie caught Jasmine’s eyes again, released her hand, and said, “Go on.”
“In fifth grade,” Jasmine began, “I got in trouble in Sunday School for asking why Noah let God drown the world.”
She smiled.  It’s out.  No matter how he would respond, she said it.  And it felt good.  How about that?  Ever since she was accused for being ‘Just like Eve’ for her question about Noah, she had felt ashamed of her question.  Now, in this moment, she realized with pride that she had been a pretty precocious kid.  Why had she been ashamed?   Why had she kept it a secret?
Davie beamed, “Did you really phrase it like that?  Why did Noah let God drown the world?”
“Yes, I sure did. That’s one of the reasons my teacher was so mad.  Red in the face, Mad.”
Davie laughed.  “I love it.  I’ve wondered about Noah for years.  Why did he obey God?  And why didn’t he complain?”
“Right?”
“But,” Davie smiled, sending his gaze back into her eyes, “I never phrased it the way you did.  ‘Why did Noah let God?’  That’s brilliant.”
Jasmine felt her heart racing within her.  She had just discovered that what had originally shamed her now charmed this athletic youth pastor gazing into her eyes.  She felt her heart flutter in a way she had not felt in a long time.
 “Do you still think the way you did in fifth grade?”
“I do,” Jasmine chuckled.  “I’ve just learned how to keep my mouth shut!”
“No need to keep your mouth shut around me.”
Could he see her blushing?  She’d better say something quick.
© 2019 by karina.  All rights reserved.  Please use only with permission from the author.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

14: Too Cool Super Great Birthday


            “How much should I tip Tony?” Jasmine asks with a smile, knowing Mindy’s reply, whatever it is, will be way over her budget.  “One hundred percent would look like fawning,” Mindy replies.  “Could you give 50% if I throw in ten bucks?”
            “Sure.”  Jasmine casts a teasing smile to Mindy, pulls out the pen, and lifts the bill out of the billfold.  Beneath it, she finds something else: a small envelop reading, “Happy Birthday!”  Jasmine passes it to Mindy, who pulls out a pair of tickets.  “Tickets for Opening Night of South Pacific!  Wanna join me?”
            “Of course!”
            On their way out, Tony calls out, “Thank you!  Have a too cool super great birthday, Mindy!”
            “Thank you, I sure am!”  Holding up the tickets, she says, “We’ll be there!”
            “Great! I’ll be looking out for you!”
            Jasmine catches Mindy’s blush. 
            On their way out, Jasmine notices the restaurant’s sign:
“Thank you!
Have a Too Cool Super Great Day!”
            “Tony must have been quoting their own sign!”
Mindy chuckles, “He must have.”
“I wonder if that sign is your ‘sign’?”
“What do you mean?”
“You’ve been looking for a ‘sign’ for how to answer Justin’s ‘Happy Birthday’ text.  There’s your sign!  How about copying it in your text reply?”
“Ah,” Mindy smiles, “something like, ‘Thank you!  I’ve had a Too Cool Super Great Birthday’?”
“Yeah!  Something like that.  Then the ball’s really in his court.  You’ll get to see if he pre-programmed his birthday text, and even if he did, you’ve let him know you can have a ‘too cool super great’ birthday without him.”
Mindy takes a deep breath.  “I hope he doesn’t misinterpret this.”
“Remember, the text thread will show up for him when he receives your reply.  He’ll be reminded that he sent the text, whether it was accidental or not.”
“All right, here goes . . .”

Strolling through the Mall, wondering whether her text will be answered, Mindy still can’t thinking “around” her ex-boyfriend.  “Now that I’ve lost Justin, I feel that I’ve lost a part of myself.”  She mumbles, “I think I gave him too much of myself too.”  She doesn’t expand, but Jasmine gets it.  Boys give love for sex.  Girls give sex for love.  Jasmine knows Mindy’s mumble doesn’t necessarily mean sex, and she knows not all relationships fit that cliché, but it still ties into her latest fixation.
“A piece of me, whisk!  It’s gone away.  My inner Maria has lost her place.”
            “How about ditching Justin and keeping your inner Maria?”
            “Justin ditched me.  Without him, I feel like I’ve lost my inner Maria.”
            “Who is your inner Maria?”
            Mindy pauses, smiles, and lists those West Side Story Maria qualities she most admires: “She’s independent.  Passionate.  Courageous.  Filled with integrity.  And she’s willing to lose everything for the sake of love.”
            “Sounds like a good friend of mine.”
            Blushing, Mindy shifts her eyes back and forth, as if to say, “You can’t be talking about me?”
            “Anything else?”
            “I love her Puerto Rican heritage, with its exotic, Latin, romantic spirit.  Maybe I don’t have the Latin in my genes, but I’ve got it in my soul.  There you have it: my inner Maria.”
            “Why can’t he go and she stay?”
            “Because Maria goes with Tony, and I go with Justin.”
            “You mean he completes you?”
            “Yeah, he completes me.” Mindy sighs, with a slight, teasing roll of her eyes. “All right, Jazzie.  You’ve made your point.”
            Before Mindy has a chance to really chide Jasmine over her obsession, she sees a digital billboard ad ahead of them, featuring the  Stalker Groom, his adoring bride, and the upcoming Bridal Show.  “But that guy,” Mindy says, pointing to the groom in the ad who’s eyeing not his bride, but, seemingly, Mindy, “does not complete me.”  Shaking her head, she says, “He seems to want to, though.”
            “I know.  Creepy, right?”
            “Right?”
            “You have to wonder, ‘What’s the bride thinking?’
            “She looks so stupidly in love, she has no idea he’s looking off to other girls.”
“I wonder how many people passing this Bridal Show ad analyze it like us?”
“None of them!”
“Think how much the romance industry could lose if we women actually started to analyze their ads the way we are!”
“That’s it.” Mindy agrees.  “We need to put them out of business!”
“I have a confession,” Jasmine says, with a tone of teasing gravity.
“What’s that?” Mindy looks a little worried.
“I tried to keep you from seeing that sign.  I saw it when I first arrived, and I pulled you away into that toy store.  I was worried it was going to ruin your day!”
Mindy laughs.  “No.  No way could that sign ruin my ‘too cool super great’ birthday!”
Jasmine smiles, then tosses her head in the direction of the restaurant.  “I noticed his name is Tony.”
“Yeah, that was not lost on me.”
“What day is Opening Night?”
“April 2nd.  Three weeks.  Can I wait that long?”
Mindy’s  struck with a revelation.  Of course Justin pre-programmed my birthday into his phone.  I pre-programmed his too, and I don’t think I’ve taken it off yet!  He turns 30 on July 8, so I planned a special text to send at midnight on his birthday.  Mindy scrolls through her texts.  “Uh oh, here it is.”
Oh no,
I see-oh
You’re a Big 3-0
No worries, No
30s for teaching, for flying
To soar like a birdie
You will Love 30!

“Love 30.”  There it is.  The memory Jasmine is trying hardest to put out of her mind.  Did Mindy get the idea to close her text that way from Davie’s “Love 30” birthday party?  That party that changed everything?


© 2019 by karina.  All rights reserved.  Please use only with permission from the author.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Time for Authority Within


The more incompetent your authorities,
the more you are led to find your own authority from within.
~ today’s whisper of mystery

            “Authorities,” across the board, are losing credibility and competence today.  The top example is the Top Dog leader of the Superpower, who, other than in his adolescent penis, has not developed past the age of four.  The images of him as a toddler are appropriate, as he is still in his Terrible Twos, Threes, and Fours. 

He is not the wicked tyrant some make him out to be.  All of his manipulation is out in the open.  No one can say he’s trying to hide anything.  Like a four year old, he doesn’t know how.  What’s unique is that he commits his wrongs right out in the open, and he gets away with them.  So, the wicked tyrant he is not.  He’s the child tyrant.  You know the one: the little kid in the grocery store, screaming and throwing a fit before a poor, suffering mom, clearly not in control.  She needs to find her own authority within herself to master the child tyrant.  Until she does, she will keep on suffering.

Once people discover they can’t turn to their political “authorities,” they’ll turn to other experts.  They might go to educators, and the educators who try to exert their authority at this time are likely to lose it.  They might listen to the media, which is quickly losing its credibility.  They often go to doctors, who are also losing their credibility as authorities.  More and more, people are discovering doctors are giving drugs that do more harm than good.  People especially look to religious and spiritual leaders for authority, and these are losing their credibility in droves, particularly as they are aligning with the especially Incompetent Toddler.
           
The Toddler represents refusal to grow up.  The Toddler insists on staying put, not growing up, not moving forward, not evolving.  “Take Me to Yesterday Again.”  Don’t take me to Tomorrow.  I’ll scream and throw a fit if you try.

When we finally run out of the “authorities” to look to, we discover where our true authority is: within ourselves.  Once we find our own authority within, we can join the Earth, which is moving forward to Tomorrow.

© 2019 by karina.  All rights reserved.  Please use only with permission from the author.