The Curious Centre — Pt. 2



/ story

A group of friends go camping for five days, and two of them pair off on the morning of day three to find out where the river goes.

I woke up early and walked to the river, relieving myself at the side of a tree before sitting down along the shore. My stomach grumbled once, twice, and then resumed its silent resignation while I continued to ignore it, my attention focused instead on the water tumbling by. The words that had brimmed and spilled out of me last night were no longer there, having been spoken, and again I was like an empty vessel waiting to be filled. The morning was quiet, and I listened to the trickling stream and the birds cawing and chirping intermittently. The mountain peaks on the opposite side of the river were turning orange as they caught the light of the morning sun, and I watched the range transform as new shadows fell and different features were accentuated by the light. I followed those shadows as they traced the morning's progress amidst further splashes of pinks, yellows and golds, because there was something in the textures formed by the eternal rock and the sun's fleeting rays which held my attention. Grander and lesser peaks shone through before fading away, causing the mountain range to seethe in slow motion.

I was by myself for several hours, I think, when I noticed Grace was walking my way along the shore. When she came to a stop in front of me I pointed to the mountains over her shoulder and asked her if she had noticed how they change. She said she hadn't.

“Gods used to live up there on those peaks.” I said, pointing again because she had turned back to face me.

“What does that mean?” she asked.

“Maybe ancient poets saw something we didn't, when composing their myths.” I said.

“Gods used to live in the water, too.” she replied, sweeping her arm around to gesture at the river, allowing the momentum it stirred to carry her whole body through the motion. She stood there with her back to me, I guess to focus on the current, for a moment; it remained in the shadow cast by the surrounding trees, the sun not yet high enough for the camp to feel its warmth. I asked her how the fast was making her feel, now that it was day three, and she turned around rather sheepishly to admit she had just eaten a dozen or so flowers. “They did nothing to help.” she added.

“Don't think about it.” I suggested.

“It comes and goes.” she said, and I nodded. I got up and moved toward her, and asked if she would like to walk with me along the shore to see where the river goes.

“To the ocean, dummy.” she said. I grinned.

“Well I wouldn't know. I've never been there.”

“To the ocean?” she asked. I nodded, and so she took me by the hand and said, “Let's go!” And off we went.

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