The river flows both ways in my world. All rivers are meant to flow towards the sea, irreversible, an inexorable passage ruled by the moon, by gravity, by the pull of the rule of nature. All rivers are meant to flow towards the sea, but one of them do it reliably for me. The river flows both ways in my world: against nature, and with it. It flows and spills it’s banks, it dries up and is re-sourced again from a drop which turns into a trickle, becomes a stream, a tsunami of water and foam and change sweeping away everything in the way. Houses move like childs toys.
Cars float like bath toys. Climb the electrical wire posts, shimmy up like a pirate or a rebel, refusing to go with the flow, or be taken by the tide, watching the destruction and the muddied waters, the razing of everything that was solid and immoveable before the water got to it. A woman is standing on a rooftop. She is wearing a white dress. Her feet are bare. She is only a little way above the tide, not high enough. In front of her is the water that wants to be where she is. Behind her is land which hasn’t yet been wetted by the salt and the silt, by the sewage and the disease. None of it matters. She picked her hill to die on. She chose her spot. She decided her place. She raises her arms to the sky, a small cold Moses, but the water does not part and she doesn’t prevail. Instead I turn my head away from the screen as the water gulps her down in one hungry swallow.
There is a damage which comes from being close to a lot of death that happens all at once. I never go with the flow. I avoid the flow if I can, I jump from branch to branch, from limb to limb, from bank to bank. I paddle with everything I have to reverse my fortunes, to reverse the fate that calls to me, to escape from the destruction which envelops me. The same water that carries the rest of you towards the sea takes me the other way, the opposite direction. I watch the little boats, the cruise ships, the yachts, the rubber rings, the swimmers and the day trippers in their swan peddle boats with candy striped awnings and the barrel paddlers heading out towards the Falls to tip themselves over, test themselves against the fury and shock of nature. They rarely win. The flea-bitten-peanut-throwing monkeys of the cheap seats applaud their stupidity and daring, then losing interest when no one gets their head dashed to smithereens on the rocks.
The natural rules are not in place for me. My waters are cursed. My rivers defy convention. Things are never how they are meant to be, but not uniformly different either. They defy expectation. They dodge logical explanation. Things are just different in my world. I deal in increments of moments that build into slabs of time. I develop coping mechanisms. I am tired. I have been swimming too long, too far, against the grain, the tides and the rush of traffic heading out to the cool calm waters of the seas that islands and garden oasis are placed within. There is a place to rest, but not for me.
Apples float. Sky falls. Water travels in unlikely directions and there is no way to a home that I have already forsaken.