My River

October 19, 2009
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My feet crunched in the snow as I made my freezing journey to my secret place. My secret place was my heaven, my sanctuary; it saved me too many times to count. The woods were quiet; there was no noise, no echoes of any kinds. But only a few more feet I would hear the rushing water of the river. My river. It held many memories; it saw and heard everything I’ve been through in its presence. Finally I heard it, the roar of the water, suddenly my numb fingers and toes didn’t matter. I nearly ran to the sound, but I knew it would do me no good if I got hurt. Then everyone would know where I really was. When the river came into view my worries lessened and my heart lifted. I sat down on my stone, it had my name carved into the side, and it was as close to the river edges as I dared to be. I stared into the icy blue water and replayed all the memories that included this river. I was ten, fishing with my father before the mayor had banned it. He had suddenly set down his fishing pole and grabbed my face between his hands and told me he was leaving. He turned and left and I never saw him again. I remember I finished fishing, I didn’t chase after him, and the next day the river watched and listened as I cried for him. I was thirteen when my mother brought me to the river for a picnic and told me about her cancer, the river watched as I cried in my mother’s arms. I was scared of losing her to that awful disease. The next day the mayor made it against the law to have a picnic at the river. I was fourteen, the day after my birthday, when my aunt came to find me. She told me my mother had lost her battle, early that morning. My river watched as my aunt stood by and observed me cry and beat the ground until my fists were bloody. She didn’t hold me. I am now sixteen and I come to the river every day after school to release my trouble from the day and to get away for my aunt who I now live with. She hated me, I hated her. She thought I was at the library every day after school, studying for some test or reading a book. I hadn’t stepped foot in the library for almost a year. She started hating me when she found out I stole my mother’s ashes and spread them here. She would never understand that this river was my mother. It was forever in motion, never slowing down, just like my mother had been before she got sick. It brings me comfort just like my mother’s arms did when she hugged me. Its water was cold, just like her hands before they took her away to be cremated. My river made me feel closer to her, like she was still alive and there. We had always come here and talked about what was on the other side, made plans to break the law and cross. To never come back to this insane village that my father had brought us to, the mayor believed our village was a village of God. You crossed that river and you brought unspeakable evil into the village, that’s what was on the other side. Unspeakable evil. My mother never believed this, sometimes I thought she had been to the other side and had never told me. The sudden ringing of my phone caused me to jump and scream, it echoed through the trees. I looked at the screen and saw my aunt’s name flashing at me; she was calling to remind me of my birthday dinner. I pressed ignore and sighed shoving it back into my pocket. I wasn’t ready to leave my river; I wasn’t ready to leave the only place I felt alive. I stared at the water and watched it race by, it has never frozen over, even on the coldest winter nights.
“Are you Lisa?” A voice called, making me jump and spin around, but no one was there. “Over here, across the river.” I slowly turned around and focused my eyes on the source of the voice. “Are you Lisa?” I nodded, frozen to my stone unable to move an inch, “Today is your sixteenth birthday, am I correct?” I nodded once more, I couldn’t form any words, and they got stuck before I could even open my mouth to utter them. The boy smiled and walked to the edge of my river. He stared at me; from where I sat I could tell his eyes match the color of the icy river. He was tall and much too skinny, black hair fell across his face. “It’s time to cross Lisa; your mother told my father that it was my job to come on this day, at this very moment.” He reached his hand out waking up my senses.
“My mother, you knew my mother?” I stood and walked forward until the tip of my shoes touched the water.
“I never knew Tammy personally; she contacted my father soon after she found out about her illness and asked him for help. You need to cross Lisa. She wanted you to.” He held out his hand again. I walked further into the river, the water soaking my jeans and wrapping itself around my ankles, the coldness of it made me gasp.
“What’s your name?” I took another step towards him, my eyes on his hand wondering if he would disappear if I took my eyes off of it.
“My name is Billy, hurry Lisa the water is much too cold I don’t want you in it for too long. He took another step towards me so his ankles disappeared in to the icy water of my river. I've sat by the river many times, I’ve never been its water, I never knew its true depths. So when I took one more step toward him I didn’t have time to scream as the water sucked me under. I couldn’t feel any ground underneath. It took the air right out of my lungs; the freezing water stole my warmth squeezing me with its freezing hands. I pushed myself upward and struggled to stay afloat, I was cold and numb, I wanted out. My river had turned on me and I wondered if the things said about it were true. I turned my head to see Billy holding a long stick out towards me, I quickly grabbed it and he pulled me out of the water with strength I didn’t know he could have with such a skinny body. I clawed my way out of the water as soon as I could and screamed wanting to push the numbness away, I wanted to be warm. Billy pulled me off the ground and wrapped me in his coat, without warning he swung his arm behind my knee and the other arm behind my back. He somehow knew that I couldn’t stand on my own. I watched over his shoulder as my river, my heaven, my sanctuary, nearly my death, disappeared behind us.

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. said...
Nov. 25, 2009 at 1:27 pm
This is so extremely sad! It's an amazing story. It's so sad that her father left and her mother died and that her aunt is mean. I don't understand the ending though.
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