Falling Into The River
Posted January 11th, 2012
…and now for something completely different.
What follows is a short story I wrote as part of the preparation I am doing for my women’s writing experience I’ll be offering this March. I’m taking the questions for a spin, if you will – to see if they hold water and lead me somewhere. They did. I had no idea this story was in me and out it came. I’m still figuring it out what it means, but thought I’d offer it up as a testament to the power of writing for revealing what’s inside.
A woman looked down at her bare feet and saw how they stood firmly on the ground. She felt rooted. Strong. Powerful. She knew the tribe admired this about her. People would gather to watch her stand by the river. Young children would imitate her.
But it was hard to be good at something for long periods of time. And it was boring. The woman grew weary of people watching her and began to resent their stares and admiration. What once was so satisfying was now falling flat. The dirt which used to feel so rich and textured and most under her feet, felt dry. Like talc. The dust irritated the lining of her nose.
She looked out at the river with longing. It would have an answer for her. It always did.
She watched the eddies swirl with envy. She watched how the water danced among the rocks and between the low hanging branches. “It’s living”, she thought,”it’s alive and celebrating its ability to move.” Even the daylight joined in, sparkling off the ripples on the surface.
The woman looked down once again at her feet and noticed something she had missed before. They were webbed. Her breath caught in her chest with the realization that she was born to live in the water.
She looked back at her tribe, knowing they wouldn’t understand what she would do next. A little girl caught her eye and smiled at her.
With that, the woman fell into the water and the cold, luscious movement of the liquid washed away all her dryness. She felt more alive than she ever had before. She understood the water and how she no longer needed her feet to hold her on land.