The river is so immense that she thinks it’s the sea.
And she almost forgets where she is.
A different continent, a different life. Even a different century. Strangely surreal.
She reaches over, her hand trembling faintly. The water is cold under the late fall’s still brilliant sun.
But it’s so real. She couldn’t be closer to her river. And he listens.
She unburdens her sadness, and he accepts is. But doesn’t respond. Or maybe he does. The waves gently lapping at the gritty sand, only a few inches from her feet. I’m here, he says, lay your grief on the water and I will absorb it. But I cannot rebuild you.
Can loneliness last a lifetime? Must she endure forever? Is she deserving at all of a ray of sunshine that doesn’t last one day?
Does her existence matter? Even in the scheme of things?
A speck in the fabric of the ever-turning world.
Dutiful, always. An eternity of sacrifice. Be quiet, she orders. To herself. Her voice is too faint to matter to anyone else.
There is a point when woman (a mother) becomes part of the landscape. She forfeits feelings, desires, dreams, passions. Total subjugation to duties, others, ‘what’s right’, what matters. Expected to accept it peacefully.
Bear it, she tells herself. Let the universe run its course, hang on to karma, to a vague promise of heaven.
The river seems calm. He is her friend.