A River

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Once, very long ago, when the world was flat, and the stars were gods, and the sun circled the earth, there was a river. This river cut through much of the known land, and was hundreds of feet wide in some places, making very hard to cross. It went on, streaming through the prairie. It creeked through the plain and it brooked past the trees in forests. It swept on and on for miles, as far as man could see, and father than he could ever wander. In those days, no one ever really wandered.
There was such a man, who lived just at the edge of the river, alone. It gave him what he needed. He fished there. He grew a small garden there, and he tended it to his liking. He lived a simple life. Alone there with his thoughts, the man was content. Sometimes, though, he would look beyond the river, or rather, across it. He would look at her.
Over the water there she lived, just like his mirror. She too cast her line, and planted her seed and lived by the flow. She too, was too far away. She too, would look across at him. They always carried on this way, as silent, would be lovers. They watched each other. When the
storms would come they’d send each other signs by the smoke of fire. Any way they could, they’d help each other, but what they really wanted, and needed was that one day a year.
When the moon reached its yearly center in the sky, for one day, each year, the long fast current would slow. The great depth of the water would shallow, and the lovers could meet in the middle for only a short while and hold each other just before the fear of the rushing tide pushed them back to their homes, on opposite sides, apart for the year, banished to only the smoke signals, and life across from a lover, not beside.
One year, on such a day, or night rather, the river slowed, and shallowed. The man and the woman ran to each other, trudging heavily through the wet mud of the river bed. They met in the middle. He held her in his embrace, and she smiled. He smiled too. They stood there awhile just staring at each other, sharing the company they longed for, but could rarely keep. He kissed her. She kissed him back. They kissed long and slow, and enjoyed every moment of what they had. The water began to rumble ‘neath their feet. The man, looking suddenly stern, kissed his love one last time and made to turn for home. His love held, steadfast. He looked at her with question. Then, he knew. How could he not? The water amassed quickly at their feet. They held each other there, awaiting their demise, awaiting death, wishing to be nowhere else. To them, the crops and the comfortable life beside the river was nothing without each other. To them, a moment of their love in heaven was worth an eternity of their lives in h*ll.
The river took them. So suddenly, they were being hurled downstream. Everything was a blur. They could see nothing. It was cold in the water, and so dark. Still, they held each other. As breaths gave way and water filled their lungs, they held each other, plunging together into whatever lay in store for the afterlife, bound by love.
They opened their eyes. They were not dead. They lay in each other’s arms next to the river, now a small stream in a lovely meadow. Here the grass was green, and the daisies grew wild. The lovers looked at each other the way lovers do, and all that could be said was said in a kiss. Here they would build their life.
In the forest, not far from the meadow, the man cut down many trees, and worked long hours in the night forging logs to build a home for his wife and himself. The woman made a salve from pine sap and bee hive honey and spread it in between each log as the man constructed the small cabin. They planted their garden by the stream. The woman tended it. The man fished in the stream and he hunted dear and snared rabbits in the woods. Their life was simple.
The lovers sired children. There was plenty of space for them and they ran and played in the woods and in the meadow, in the land by the stream. So, the lovers became parents. The father taught the children to hunt in woods and fish the river. The mother taught her children to tend the garden, and keep the cabin. Together, the parents gave their children the best life they could give and watched their young ones grow and eventually move to live their own lives. The parents were happy, and old.
One evening when all was dark and the man and his love were finally alone, a storm began to brew. The wind ragged on and the rain pelted from the sky. The women stood naked in stream, immersed in the power of the storm. Her man came to stand beside her and he took her hand. They turned to each other and looked at each other the way lovers do and they were happy. The water amassed around them. The river took them. That which gave them life together, took them away together. Their moment in h*ll, gave them eternity in heaven.





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