Standing in the river.

If anybody walking the road were to stop a moment and look over the wall, they might see this. Now, it is past her knees, and just the tips of her fingers pull at the tension of the surface. If you were to join her you may notice that the water is reaching towards her hands, rather than her pushing into it. You won’t though. That is why she is here. Just to stand, alone.


She likes it. The sound of it. She comes here to stop thinking. Here, everything manages to stop. It starts with her toes; and when they stop, no longer tingling, she goes deeper, and plunges her hands in too, with the palms open, and her bones turn to dead metal, and all that’s left in the world is a shirt and a head.


She can see the sky in front of her is dark, but behind she knows the sun is bright. The yellow-orange water tells her it will sink though, but the river will stay. Light and cold. She steps further. It’s reached her sternum, her handbag is long gone, the feeling is leaving, but there’s still so many words going around and her head can’t hold them all. So many people and voices making sounds. The water holds her, its presence is firm and constant.


When the surface reaches her collarbones, her breathing will deafen her to the noise. She will just be.


Although her eyes shut minutes ago, she smiles, with nobody to see it. She sees everything through closed eyelids. The muddy slope down to the stream, her abandoned shoes (ha!) and the bronze scum cumulating around the edges of the water.


She allows it to pull her and she leans to the left, swaying with the weight of the current, and she sees them all, the voices, all the noise and the questions, the demands. She sees them but finally, doesn’t hear them. She relaxes further, leans at a more unnatural angle. She feels something glide past her face, with the sharp flatness of the other: something not of the river. A dead leaf or an old ATM receipt. The current presses on her. She leans more, filled by the white noise of the moving water, and breathes in silence.


© Lydia Allison 2012

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