Splash from a leaping trout
In the speedy spring stream, the thoughts flowed smoothly, and the sounds slipped gently, and the voices made tiny phrases with elegant verbs and exotic adjectives, woven into gentle themes.
The young woman had been listening to the teasing narratives since she had first touched a stone in the rushing spring river, weeks before, and felt the smooth chill edge of the water slip around her wrist, teasing and tickling it and marking the place where above met below. Where she saw the tiny ripples of a salty tear expanding on the surface. She lifted her face to see a fish arc like a smooth curved arrow into the surface, leaving a tiny spray of drops that sparkled.
Above was the sunlight carried on air, too loose to feel, too fragile to hold, marked by the progressing seasons. The dandelion fluff could dance in the breeze, pretty seeds and hope. Sounds of songs could edge away from the fields where the harvest was still a thought. But the girl could not touch the air, she knew. She could not fly away on the whisper of the breeze. Her dreams were lifted after they slipped away in the night, and she could not save them in her pockets.
Two shiny frogs at the edge of the stream sat and waited for her, courtiers with watching faces. They knew the form of the fairy tale, and they knew the way an Ophelia could flow past, taking the carefully folded pages of meaning with her, taking the untold part of the madness away, downstream. Streams in spring are strong and sure and clean with newness.
The girl removed her soft brown shoes and set them side by side at the edge of the stream. She extended her neat pale foot toward a large flat rock. It was slick and hard under soft pink toes. First one foot and then the other. The cool glass surface of the water distorted ankles and feet. Her skirt was held up, twisted into her hand.
As she stood on the rock, she let the skirts fall, hems sinking, swirling, tugging. She touched the roundness below her waistband and knew that the air was not ready to hear the infant breath, nor the answers to the questions that would slide into the world with the wet babe. She breathed in the early summer air, and stepped into the river, a birth in reverse, sliding and wet and shocking. She felt the weight of her drenched clothes, and the chill of the clean water. As the water closed over her face, she saw the shape of air bubbles reflecting in the rays of the sun. A plump fish swam upstream.