The River &
The Woman Of Light
By D. Paul Fonseca
I had a dream. I was swimming in the river. Water rushed all around me, pulling me away from my safe place near the shore. Before I knew it, the water had swept me away, down the river. White foam roared in my ears and covered my face. Small pieces of sand and rocks touched my fingertips and toes as I jolted along, rolling in the water, surrounded by huge green and blue sea turtles. They swam with me, guided me through the rough spots, keeping me safe.
Then something brushed the soles of my feet like someone tickling with a feather, ever so lightly. Tiny objects brushed my hands, my palms and against my bare face and chest. I struggled to see what they were, but the dark water kept the mystery out of sight. I struggled beneath the surface.
When I came up for air, I floated, face upturned, spinning slowly as I regained my breath. I managed to see the sky, a rich, deep blue, and the stars waved at me, turning with the universe and the world swirled around me.
I caught some of the tickling things in my hands and in the moonlight I saw small, black lined characters, about a centimeter tall, swimming in a pool within my cupped hands. They were letters, apostrophes, commas and even some exclamation points all floating and wiggling in the water.
Suddenly my feet touched the sandy bottom. I dug in with my toes and made my way up along the shore, falling into the sand, my breathing heavy as I rolled onto the safety of dry land. I had made it out of the rush of danger. It was dark out but the moon was so bright I could see the water rushing by slow down to a more relaxed pace, ethereally mesmerizing, it quickly slowed its tumult.
My hands dug into the sand as I heaved myself free of the bank and came away holding a piece of paper between my fingers. The sound of the rustling paper surprised me with its loudness, now that the water had stopped its chatter. In my hand was a page from a story I'd written a long time ago, called "Until Dawn." Out across the sandy bank were other papers lying half buried there. I picked up each in turn finding other pages of other stories I'd written. There were hundreds of pages there, up and down the river bank, and across the way on the other side even more paper littered the shoreline. There were pages from dozens of different stories from every stage of my literate life.
I could see pages lifting up and blowing alongside the river, unsettled by a warm breeze. Some pages lofted into the air and went back into the water. "I don't understand," and as I thought this, the water lunged and came up onto the bank for me; huge cumbersome talons of fluid reached for me and pulled me from the shore. I screamed and went under, back into the water, flailing as I went.
A bright, white light penetrated me from beneath the rivers surface. An odd peacefulness spread throughout my body, not unlike resolving one's self to certain death, but peaceful nonetheless. Reserved. Calm. My body lay still as the water slowed once again.
I could breathe. A warm presence filled my being and assured me I was safe. I heard a voice in my head. A gentle, feminine whisper said, "Use your words," in the same manner I tell my own children to articulate what they want. The phrase echoed through the water in an eerie cacophony of reverberation, chilling me.
A light ascended before me from the depths. The light grew and took the form of a beautiful woman. She said nothing, only smiling at me in the most loving manner. Her long brilliant hair flowed and floated about the water around her, covering her, revealing her, and then embracing her body with its uncommon abundance.
She floated up to my suspended self while I hovered in the now still water. Face to face we eyed each other, mere inches apart. Her light radiated around me, warming me through, sending shivers of delight through my senses. In a moment her lips met mine. I closed my eyes. Her mouth was cold, like the dark waters of the river itself. Her lips parted as she kissed me and in that moment, I knew why she was there, why I was there with her. I heard my heart pounding, felt it throbbing within my chest.
"Use the words I gave you," echoed through my mind, a nonverbal message from her, but from her voice nonetheless. It was then that I knew it was her.
She was the river, my river, flowing though me, around me, about me, in its never-ending embrace of love and complexity. "Use my gift to you, and use your words, or I will take them away," she said.
My eyes flickered open in time to see her face one last time as she dissolved into thousands of tiny bubbles and disintegrated, though I knew her presence remained. She would always be there, would be here, would forever surround me and in the end, would receive me when it was all said and done. The river, my goddess had spoken to me.