The wheel is always moving, its melodic heaving of rushing water is always thumping in the back of our minds. We like to imagine it is meaningless, yet we fear it’s progression so much that we never speak of it.
When the crows shriek I am cradled and time stops. I am no longer at it’s mercy. I am the rock parting the current. The wind bites at my fingers hidden in the sleeves of my sweater but I don’t mind. I am finally in control.
The crows are gathering to watch the humans relish in hope. “You are foolish and naive,” the crows warn them, but they do not heed to their warning. Their squeals of warning only entertain them, for they want nothing more than to believe they figured out how to soothe the rapids.
Cruel caws of the murder opened the floodgates.
I am whisked me up my stairs, I am not in control. My fingers, now numb, are grasping at something that is right in front of me, but I can’t tighten them quick enough. It slips away out of my sight. I’m plunged back into my life. It’s 1:04 AM.
At 10:32 AM I awake again. I hear the wheel creaking as I take the drugs that drown the sound out. I can still hear it violently churning rushing water for the rest of the day, but I pretend not to.
Reality surrounds me; I am constricted by the events I can’t avoid. The water jolts to life: it wraps its hands around my neck and delivers a reminder of an abandoned father. It forces me underwater. Pressure builds in my lungs; I will never be free of my fear of drowning.
I maintain a facade of functionality and resume work at a part-time job without a word.
In a parking lot I build a dam. I relinquish myself to temporary comfort. For 11 minutes the wheel has nothing to move, the river is eerily still. The feeling of another hand against my own introduces me to a symphony. The wheel is no match for the sound of understanding; the sound of words filling spaces bodies can’t occupy. When our lips brush against each other, unable to resist the magnetism of the other, I foolishly believe I won’t fear drowning anymore. It is 10:22 PM.
It’s easier to avoid fixation on the river when the drumming of a heartbeat inhabits the brain. The rushing water calms; the way it ebbs and flows is meticulous and purposeful.
Days pass, and I let them. I do not fear the river, I am pacified by a different drumming.
At 3:24 PM I thought of nothing but the violent current longing to engulf me. I knew I could not conquer it. I used the last of my strength to build a sanctuary where we would remain untouched by what would inevitably come.
The only sound that can dominate over that of the progression of living is the deafening silence that accompanies acceptance. Fingers entangle themselves in hair as we look straight ahead. We know what comes next.
We ignore the water rushing past us and remain naively protected. Head in lap, hand on knee, water eager to break through the weak seal. Eyes lock. We know what comes next.
It’s 4:50 PM.
The water crashes down. The current rips us apart, our lungs quickly become filled with water. We are heavy.As I walk home the crows screech “We told you so.”