Rive of Remembrance

March 3, 2011
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It felt like years since I’d seen a Sun that wasn’t consuming me. Tearing and burning my skin to the point where I could barely walk without feeling excruciating pain. My mouth felt like it had been blowtorched profusely and little needs were digging into the flesh of it. The lips that had once touched cool water now felt like an arid remembrance.

I sat down for a few minutes, under the shadow of a bush, and looked back on how happy I used to be. Playing catch with my son Aaron, and if the occasion called for it, playing dress up with my daughter Sierra. I focused all of my attention onto them and suddenly got up. I started to walk swifter than I had in days. With each step came more hope. In the distance I saw a roaring black river.

I kept stumbling, but somehow managed to regain my strength and continue on my trek. The overpowering heat of the sun felt like stakes being hammered into me. The rocky ground launched rocks and bushes at my feet, causing me to stumble, but not fall. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a rattlesnake singing a mysterious song that seemed familiar to me. The low, deep tone reminded me of the days when I lived with the natives in the Amazon Rain Forest. We used to perform a ritual called the puka, which involved a deep rattling instrument and gargling. When you put them together it formed an ominous song depicting how the world came to be.

I was almost to the roaring black river. It was the first gleam of hope I’d had in days. Although I viewed it as a river, it seemed to lye motionless. Even though everything else as disorientated and spinning because of the state I was in, that one thing remained still. I felt my heart beating slower, and my breathes getting shorter. Finally I summoned all of my remaining strength and lumbered the final steps to my destination.
I slunk down in victory. I’d made it to my goal. My fall was cushioned not by cool water as I’d expected, but by scorching hot tar that seemed to go right through me. I jerked my head from side to side but saw nothing. For a minute, I was not alone though. My son’s hands clasped mine and my daughter’s toes crawled up against my back. The feeling was so real to me that I started to cry. In that moment I was not hot, dizzy, or thirsty. In that moment I was sitting in a roaring river playing with my two children. Slowly, I tilted my head up towards the sky. Then I dove into the water, never to come back out.





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