Jealousy

When he told me he was leaving me, I disguised myself as a river so he wouldn’t see the tears flowing down my face, avoiding my jutting nose, creating little eddies in my dimples. He had fallen out of love, was feeling trapped. Each word sent ripples of pain in ever-growing screaming circles. The throbbing in my head, red-hot searing imprints, memories of ever-lasting words of love. Did they mean nothing?

I willed the river deep below. He was still talking, oblivious to the now underground river. He could safely ignore it, poison the deep subterranean waters with his thoughtlessness. I was part of a network of forlorn souls crying secret rivers feeding the world. Behold the Water Diviner, who rearranges us at will, sending hot lava flows one way, saturated brine streams another to corrode the next relationship, destroy the next milieu. The Water Diviner goes by the name Jealousy. He knows where to tap to raise the water, how often and how long. The bottomless reservoir of pain is dark and cold, numbing and scary. It contains washed-out bones, picked clean through acid tears. They lie jumbled and desolate, an underwater catacomb with no visitors. New skeletons sink to the bottom, forming a coral-like structure, brittle and beautiful in its chaotic manifestation. You would think the bones came up from the bottom, came to life from the sediments deposited over time, all the miseries of the world forming those haunting sculptures white on black, solid on liquid, beauty on despair.

What hides in the shadows of the bones? A mossy, furry substance has developed over the older memories, softening the hurt and changing the landscape. As people die, the bones turn to dust, a chalky residue that stains the cheeks of the next spurned lover, the next broken-hearted. The flow of tears is uninterrupted from trickle to full-on torrent. There is always fresh torment to ensure an ongoing supply. Sometimes pockets of air are born from the decay and bring to the surface old hurts to revisit and make new. They stink of unresolved situations gone moldy.

In this black night, the bones glow. Their uncanny beauty comes from within, the hurt eerily transmuted by an alchemy not well understood. When you plumb those depths, the real world feels like a dream, the new one like discovering the hidden face of the moon, with its musty air and weightlessness. Everything is upside down, no rules apply. Who is to say that thing is right, that one ugly? No, each one must make sense of it by himself, live by the rules he feels applies. This new world is governed by new words that have yet to be uttered.

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