Tuesday, 8 November 2011

the water

Right after everything ended, I started thinking about the future. There were kites, kites flying haphazardly around a sky punctuated by white puffs of cloud. The clouds were hookah rings waiting for their turn to lasso the sun. They did not elbow one another, they did not scramble. These were the most patient of clouds.

In their youth, the clouds had been trickles of spring water oozing from a shiny black rock on the mountaintop. They had beaded, gathered forces, pulled together into a seep. Started the long wander down like Moses descending with a carved stone, full of importance, realising, full of what was to come next.

The first drip was the Pied Piper marauding from a village that had wronged him. The next drips followed like slack-jawed children promised something better: a song. We cannot blame them; who could? Who wouldn't drop it all in favour of feet that could dance?

They tumbled down the mountain and they gathered. Soon, there were tiny waterfalls tumbling like glittered cloaks. Down the mountain, faster, feel your feet. They were still small, they burbled rather than gushed. But they were coming.

Over a precipice and into a pool. Hello, fellow stream. Where have you been, what have you seen, where are we going, what comes next? Gravity pushing like an ambitious mother, a hand in the small of your back. The ballet recital is about to commence. Your partner hasn't arrived. No worries. Move.

The water started to feel like it was on horseback. It heard its own rumble and it dreamt of the thunder of hooves. It thought of words like "inexorable" and "destiny". The water let itself believe in a bigger picture. We shiver to talk about the grand plan, about God, but this is what the water was thinking. Don't mock the water. You've never felt yourself rush like that, never felt yourself gush and current.

The water reached the place where things were flatter and it sighed and stretched out like an expat dabbing his lips after a thirteen-course Romanian banquet. The belt was loosened, the notches slipped. "Ahh," said the water, and it slipped on. And still it rolled downwards, gathering, giggling, head-over-heels-over-head, we're at a picnic, your knees are stained emerald, there's twigs in your hair, I kiss you, the earth wriggles, we cackle down the hill with our elbows tucked tight. There is no bottom for the kind of fall we are attempting.

The water found the delta. The water ran its hands over the surface skin of the earth and the water sought out places to probe. The lazier water sighed and sank into pillows of moss, closed its damp eyes, fell into a dream of flying, of clouds, of fog. The majority continued to stomp. Look, there: the sea.

In the distance was a horizon where the migrating water finally settled, finally bred. The water hurried. At the end of the scurry was the ultimate in writhing. The waters sloshed, they gurgled: hiccup, splish, glug. The sea was drenched. Sodden. The water ran under and over itself, the water soaked. The water exhaled a breath it had long been holding.

The sun would not stop beating. A punch drunk chef with his whisk in the eggs; an addled dartsman forever flinging to the bull. And the air grew warmer, and the compositions changed.

The water resisted. But the sun was hot and the water felt its heart grow lighter. And then the water wondered why it would ever pause, the water gasped, the water took off its steel toe-capped boots and let itself hover. The air was comfortable. A post-coital embrace. A hot bath after a difficult interview. Shortbread, warm from the oven and crumbling.

If the water had ever been scuba-diving and ever felt the moment of realisation of flying, controlling the rise and fall of its body with a balance of breath, if this, then the water would say that this feeling now, this is like that.

The water is rising, not as water, as mist. Air. Particles. The water cannot believe how blue the sky is and is almost embarrassed to think it will become part of that, it will stain it with its whimsy.

The water has reached the roof of the sky, and the water particles, embarrassed, are huddling together. It is like the beginning of an office away day bonding session where the organisers chirrup, “Split up from your friends, now, let's all form a new group, ready for the first exercise.” The water cannot bring itself to do it.

The water coddles together and becomes clouds and the clouds are the most patient in the sky. You have never seen such patient clouds, or maybe you have, maybe they all are, but you have never been this patient. The water has been drops of rain and it has fallen on mountains and it has become the tiniest stream and it has gathered and become more than that and it has carried on until they are all oceans and you listen to this like it is the corniest cliché you have ever heard and maybe you would be right, maybe you are, but my heart feels like it is caught in a bulldog clip and I am staring at the world, and I don't know. It feels like something, there is something happening. I feel I could be breathless. I look to the sky.

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