“They need someone to show them. They need someone to tell them.
They need some one to touch them. Will you?”
“Yes.” The sound was raspy and garbled at first – odd for a single word to sound garbled. But I heard it. My voice. And so I repeated it, until it was clear. “Yes, yes, yes, yes! I will.”
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As I heard myself say the words, something changed in the water. It sliced its icy claws into my calves – piercing deep into the marrow of my bones – nearly hollowing me out. The cold slit its way into the arteries and vessels trying to blockade the flow of life that kept me standing.
Perhaps it was not the water that changed. This crystalline, pure, refreshing river did not turn malevolent in an instant. This eye-opening, ear-unplugging, life-giving flow did not metamorphosis into a tearing beast of tide by just a few simple words. Maybe it was me that changed. A revelation. An unveiling. An epiphany of sorts.
The river has not changed one iota. Not in years. Ages probably. The river has remained clear, fully revealing what it holds. Never hiding its depths. The river has remained pure. Never allowing the pollutants that cover me (and no doubt those on the distant masses) to contaminate it. The river has always held the power to illuminate, revive, and cleanse. Although constantly moving and rushing to an end unseen. Although surrounded by dirt and grime, the river does not bend according to the whims of the bordering earth. Instead it carves and enlarges its own banks. It engulfs the filth that attempts to encroach upon the river’s destiny.
The only difference here is in me. In drinking of the river moments ago I have undergone the metamorphosis, not the river. Perhaps the slicing and clawing I felt was simply the shedding of my personal chrysalis – not as the beautiful Blue Morpho or regal Monarch but more as the Twany Emperor. Encapsulated in a shell of my own creation just moments ago.
Was it moments? Time does not seem to hold much weight in this place. Moments, minutes, hours – it seems like a lifetime ago, a distant era where I was barely existing.
I was blind – seeing only shadows. In a world as quiet as a catacomb. Numb to both pain and joy. Yet after consuming the water I can see, hear, and, now, feel. A definite and sure cleansing occurs everywhere the water has touched. I can only perceive this on the inside where I have ingested the river, but it is visible on the outside. Where the water has spilled down my chin the skin is clear, dirt is erased. Where I hold the wine skin my hands are clean as they have not been since my birth… I’m experiencing a re-birth in these moments.
I am compelled to now let the water cover my whole body. Wash me completely – outside now as well as in. Let the icy grip plunge me under, until each hair is pure. Until each wrinkle around my eyes is empty. Until my whole self is as angelic as the girl who awakened me. Until the chrysalis is completely shed and washed away forever.
Even now. As the cold challenges me. Frigid fingers jab me and push me. It is a bitter cold that demands movement for warmth. Stay still and let the cold freeze you to death, or move and live. Move I do.