The water hurried across the pebbles, swirled around the larger rocks and raced along the rapids. Everything it touched was soothed, smoothed and softened. Ragged edges were washed away and the result was long, flowing curves.
The air was fresh, the breeze cooling and the music of the surrounding forest was muted into a sweet lullaby. The rich smell of the earthy loam and that of the sticky, sappy pines was diluted here at the banks of the rushing river.
Water, she thought, made everything better. Its sounds could lull you, its touch could cool you and its taste could ease you. Water is gentle, but inevitable. It is light and yet determined. It can heal, clean or even erode. Water is the key to all life.
She sat quietly on the river bank, contemplating water and its place in her life. Her mind and body were often filled with confusion and pain. To her it seemed as though her suffering stretched on forever in front of her. However, water had always calmed her. And whenever life struck her down, she would seek out its purity. It didn’t matter if it was a still lake or a small chattering stream or even, such as now, a surging, swollen river.
Sometimes all she could get to was a warm bath, but even that was better than nothing. Bathing was mundane for others, but for her it was what kept her from aching, inside and out. It was her bulwark between contentment and chaos.
For most people, a barrier made of water would not normally inspire confidence, but for her it was something tangible. By its very nature water moved and shifted constantly. It protected her from her greatest fears while at the same time smoothing her rough edges, soothing her soul and softening her pain into something close to manageable.
As she sat there, some small fish flashed by before her. Their sleek, gleaming bodies moved fluidly within the current. If only, she thought, if only I could live in the water like they do. If only I could be somewhere other than here. She felt as though she was on the outside; she felt as though she was forever looking in. And this was a feeling she had had for her whole life.
I wish, she thought, I could be someone else.
With those words ringing in her mind, she slowly stood up and reached out her hand, submerging it in the river. It was absolutely perfect; cool, languid, ever moving on. However, soon that was not enough. She wanted to be one with the water.
No other thought crossed her mind; no inner self awareness turned her back. She eased slowly off the bank and lowered herself into the surging tide. The river seemed to embrace her and she welcomed it wholeheartedly.
The water swirled around her and it gently pulled her into its dance. Together they flitted down the stream, one within the other. Time passed and still she glided along, her thoughts myriad though fleeting. Eventually all consciousness washed away completely.
Three days later, her body washed up on shore. Those who found her were surprised by the serenity of her expression. She looked peaceful and content.
Her death was reported as an accident. Authorities assumed that she had fallen into the river and had drowned. It was considered a tragedy.
Water had, in the end simply washed her away.
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