(inspired by a dream)
(inspired by a dream)
There was a cliff, below which lived a pod of alligators. We used to walk there together and peer over the edge, silently drawn in by their cool and steady existence. Occasionally, two of them would have an apparent disagreement. With a quick thrash of their tail in the water, it was over. But that thrash. It was so quick and so powerful. First silence. A slight bump. The violent thrash. And then stillness again. Like it never happened. Intoxicating.
Amy and I were best friends since grade school. We knew everything about each other. Well, I guess I mean that we knew everything that you're willing to tell another living human. There are things that you tell your dog or your cat or pray about that you would never repeat, even to your best friend. I know that, I'm not naive. I suppose Amy had a few things deep within that she never told me, that she never told anyone.
The last time that I saw Amy she came home to visit. She had been living in Thailand, teaching English to children over there and I was so excited to hear everything she had to tell me. I hated that she was so far away for such long periods of time but she always brought so much life with her when she came back.
What an intoxicating and lovely evening we had had. The air even seemed to caress my skin, and smelled of gardenias. "What else should we do before this night is over," Amy asked. We looked at each other and decided to go back one last time to visit our alligators. We drove there peacefully, arrived and linked arms and walked up the familiar as our own kitchen table cliffside. Snuggling down onto our bellies, we could see the moonlight glinting off their reptilian backs as they slid through the water.
"Do you think they feel anything," Amy asked me in a whisper.
"What do you mean, of course they feel things," I replied.
"I don't know," she countered, "they just seem so hard. So focused only on one thing at a time, so different."
"You're just being silly, Amy. We've been here a million times, what's so different now?"
"I don't know," she said, "maybe I'm older. Maybe I'm just drunk. But they seem to have something that they want to say. Something we can't hear. Something ominous."
"Ooooh," I gently made fun of her, "something ominous. Okay, I think that enough. Let's go home," I ended with a smile.
Amy got off the ground slowly and hugged me hard. With a smile back and a slight stumble to the side, she seemed to glide right off the edge of the cliff. I hate to say that it was beautiful, but she fell with grace like an angel through the sky. And then the violent smack of her body against the water that will never, ever leave my mind as long as I shall live. And then the thrashing. And then stillness again. Like it never happened.