The Woman from the Water: In which she returns

She rose out of the water in the middle of the afternoon. Her dress stuck wetly to her body and drops fell rapidly from the gathered gray fabric at her ankles. She immediately started walking forward not stopping to wipe the water from her eyes or pull the strands of hair from her face. The wind was her friend and moved the drops and strands to their place without her asking.

She walked steadily on the face of the water, the waves lapping at her heels and toes. How long had the water held her underneath? It would one day hold her again. But today it would have a break.

As she neared the shore, she wove through the few people pretending it was still summer and playing in the cold water. Perhaps they were the ones who would one day join her underneath the waves. Today, they did not see her.

Soon she reached the end of the water, stepped over the edge of the pier, walked down its full length, and headed into the streets.

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To the Streets: In which I make my way back

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I walk out the glass doors and briskly head down the street in my worn, dirty clothes. There’s a thought of running, of flying, of going away, but I’m bound by these chains that will let me go only so far, so I settle for a careless walk, for as long as the energy beneath my dirty feet will take me.

People stream by dressed in pressed suits and done nails and neat haircuts. I’m not the lowest of the low on the street, so I get by, but not without the clean people’s sidelong glances of judgment and false concern. What is she doing here? Why is she this way? I feel them ask silently, none of them caring to wait for the answers that will only defile their air and waste my time.

But it’s all the same to me, so I walk farther on. For all the weight and short length of these chains, they’re not strong enough to keep me from the wind, from the lights, from the sounds continually in my head. The shackles bite my ankles and I leave a trickle of blood on block after block of these city streets, like permanent breadcrumbs for judges to follow if they try to come get me. But I don’t really mind and I’ll walk as far as I can go, right to the edge: Here I am, on the verge of the water again, with only me and ununderstood powers to keep me from slipping to a final end.

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My Weakness: In which I float away

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I drift away from the shoreline, letting the tame waves draw me further and further away with each gentle rise and fall.

I am facing the shore and all I have left behind: the high buildings, the changing lights, the car horns and the blaring music, the people streaming over concrete, stopping on corners, briskly crossing the middle of streets.

I have left you there, in the city. You stayed ashore. I asked you to come with me, into the darkness of the cold of the water at night, but you stood still and waved your hand “good-bye.”

Now there’s more and more water and darkness growing between us. I see your form that’s been the light of my life grow smaller and smaller as I float away. I can see your steady, anchoring hand still waving.

I continue drifting and look away from your diminishing figure to the scene behind you. I am far from the shore now, but the buildings still look tall. The lights blend together but their reflection gleams in the water around me. I can’t distinguish the cars, but I can hear their horns, their rushing into the woven streets.

I don’t know what I will miss more, you or the city. In that skyline that meets definite, full streets below there was endless possibility. In your firm, faithful form there was everything I ever wanted. Would I again find endless possibility and everything I ever wanted if I swam back to you now? Maybe their existence fades as I float away, none of us never to return.

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Lost in Zooropa: In which a friendship develops through music

Vorsprung durch Technik
Be all that you can be

As we drove through the midnight streets of Chicago, his voice clear and beautiful next to me, I felt as though I really was in Zooropa, in whatever magical place that was supposed to be.

It was February and the cold air made the city lights look crisp as we drove out of the South Side. We were leaving a party Doug had let me host at his apartment for my friends since I no longer lived in Chicago. One of these friends, Robert, had flown in from Texas to ask me out after six years of friendship. I was still feeling a bit of the high from getting my nose pierced the night before. But the emotions of these events were crowded out by Doug’s even, sincere voice. If anyone knew what Bono was singing about, it was Doug.

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