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The Styx River

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I run down the shoulder. As fast as I can. The cars pass, sometimes. But I still run. I’m breathless. But…I still run. And then I stop. I breathe. I’m ankle-deep in this pure green meadow. I breathe.
The coral light falls between the clouds against the dark sky. The citrine sun dims, a little haggardly between the gusts of wind. I walk by the deep river, seeing nothing through the opaque current. I’ve been here before. Raindrops fall here, and on my outstretched hands, almost in prayer, those little cold needles tap on my skin. And my shirt is soaked; the cold wetness runs through my hair.
But still, I stay here. For a reason.
I shiver. The air is full of daffodil and honeysuckle, and rain. The warmth of my tears falls down my cheeks. I cry because I always cry when I think too hard of his face. I cry when I think of his honey hair gleaming with the sun, the sun that likes to shine on his beautiful face. I cry when I think of his cyan eyes; when I think of his lanky arms; when I think of his chapped lips. I cry so bad—the heart twisted around my ribs twitches to the sharp poniard sticking up in my insides. And I can’t speak. There’s nothing I can do about that.
So I am labeled, “Disdain,” because, I feel, he thinks I’m hateful. The tempest quaking from within my heart thrashes with more turmoil. I think, I nightmare, about the ways he thinks of me, and hear myself crying, almost voiceless, “SLANDER!” I look in the river, seeing the melancholy reflection of my face: depressed, confused, hurt. Maybe laughed at, mocked. The daffodil heads plod, almost in sympathy. My reflection vanishes through the heavier sweep of rain, and through the silvering shower, I feel my legs give way. I never look at my face again.
And at the back of my mind, I hear, “I still love him. I don’t know why. But I love him. More than anything. More than summer rains, the perfume of roses, the rainbow in the sky…my heart will only beat, or not beat, for him.”
I’m still lying there when the rain ceases. I’m still wet, still cold. I hold my legs closely to my chest. Fuchsia light separates from the dipping sun, so that the entire sky is a fusion of pink and black. The empty highway, not so far off, is bronze in the sunset. The cheap cars, the windscreens splashed with water, the headlights glazed, pass along, one every ten minutes. I’m still shivering. But the tears, they still fall. They still fall. Maybe they will warm me, when…
I will not come back here. When they find me, if they ever see my face beneath this Styx River, he will know that I wanted him to write the epitaph to crown my grave. I was predestined to do this. And so, I go in…





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