July 12, 2007

An Old Dream, Three Times

Once, a long time ago, I walked out of the city and over the hills until I reached a cliff overlooking a rocky shore. Peering over the edge I saw you standing there alone looking out to the sea. So I went down to you. "Hey", I said, but you didn’t answer so I too looked out at the sea until the light began to fade and the tide began rising around my feet. "Can you build me an island," you asked. "Sure," I said and I began to throw stones. All through the night and day after day, I threw rocks until they were no longer splashing in water beyond but falling onto one another. Tides came and went. Seasons passed. Birds began landing on the pile to rest bringing with them seeds and bits grass, and before too long a tree began to grow. Then, another. "I built you an island," I said. "But where will I live?" you replied. "I’ll build you a house," I said. And once again I began throwing rocks through the days and nights, until I had built a castle. When the last stone fell, I looked over to you, but you had already left leaving only a trail of footprints towards the sea.

We are lying on a bed in a field. I turn and say, "Well, what do you want to do now?"

You say, "Lets throw rocks." I laugh and say ok.

We climb down a tall white cliff to the ocean, but I don't see any rocks. Sensing my confusion you motion for me to wait. A few moments later a wave pulls back to reveal a ribbon of smooth stones and pebbles that stretches to the horizon. We both begin picking up pebbles and throwing them as far as possible into the sea. We do this for a long time.

Eventually I hear something and look over and see that you are crying. "What's wrong?" I ask.

"My heart," you say placing my hand on it. "You're breaking it." And indeed I can feel it breaking in half. Frightened, I ask what I can do--something, anything--but you say, "I’m sorry. There isn’t anything to be done. Nothing." You continue throwing stones and out of desperation I do too. We do this for a long time.

I don’t look over now because I can't endure your tears. The rocks we throw begin to form an island and then a tall castle. I feel myself age and grow small and weak. We continue across the months and years until the beach is sandy and white. As I struggle pick up the last pebble I am impossibly ancient and tired--my hands are shriveled beyond recognition. But I can’t bear not to look any more and I turn to you. So many years have passed… I am scared that I have forgotten your face, but you are still as beautiful as the moment we first met. My wrinkled flesh embarrasses me.

"What now?" I ask.

You says nothing, but reach into your chest and remove a broken stone where your heart once was. You drop it on the sand, slip into the waves, and swim away.

The waves break around my feet and I stand there full of longing, but to old to swim, looking at the castle. I do this for a long time.

I walk through a dark night until I feel stones beneath my feet and hear the sea. I hear someone following me.

The moon rises and in the moonlight I see a girl beside me. She is sitting on a rock and I can’t see her face but I know we’ve met before.

"Hey," I say but the girl turns away. "Is anything wrong?" I ask.

The girl throws rocks into the water and having nothing better to do, I do too.

Eventually, an island forms, so I throw more rocks as fast as I can.

"You don’t have to do this," the girl says.

"Just let me finish," I say. So I keep throwing. Hills form and then a mountain.

"Let’s swim now." I say, but the girl is gone and I’m left alone in the moonlight.

posted at 03:22 AM by raul

Filed under: night musings

TAGS: beach (3) dreams (11) journal (3) pebbles (1) repetition (1) rocks (1)


07/12/07 12:05 PM

When I was a teenager my dreams were always about me walking around naked and getting pelted by rocks. I like your versions better.

07/12/07 12:13 PM

beautifully set out; entrancing. Now I see a book forming...

07/12/07 06:46 PM

loved it! beautifully written too.

07/12/07 07:36 PM

07/13/07 07:55 AM

ha! thanks for that michael

08/02/07 08:04 PM


11/09/07 07:53 PM

if I had one, I'd tell a child.

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