“I’d love to visit you more often, dearie, but I’m awfully tired and get so thirsty…”
That’s how the conversation with [Great Aunt Mabel™] ended two nights ago. (The name has stuck as a pseudonym for someone very, very, specific.) The carriage came immediately to take her away, but she allowed me the grace of holding her hand to steady her as she was assisted into it.
It wasn’t until I was fully awake that I realized her implied request. I had been so completely fucked over by physical circumstances that I was doing the bare minimum to take care of myself physically and jacque shitte for anything else for several weeks. So the spot on the table where I would leave “my” glass of water had been bare of that glass for this time.
Last night, even though I didn’t get in from work until Fuck This O’Clock, I again did the physical minimum but I added “getting a glass of water” to that routine. The water settled in the glass as the glass settled on the table, and there was nothing more to see or say. Clear glass of undisturbed water. One each.
During the few hours I have slept, I kept seeing a theme play out in the seemingly disconnected, incomplete, and random scenes.
- A pool of water with thousands of newly hatched tadpoles. I could hear the little murbles of turbulence caused by their little tails.
- A swarm of midges over a perfectly still lake. The cacophony of the combined sound of their wee little wings was deafening even though I was so very far away.
- An immense murmuration of swallows twisting over a gleaned field. Their movements sounded like drumming and thunder, shuddering my bones.
- A swarm of ants devouring a fallen drop of honey. Each foot tap and each mandible clack combined to a roaring static that made my skin itch to hear.
- A pool of water glistening in the middle of the night, framed by dark woods that blotted out the stars from the midnight sky and surrounded by the bodies of shadows so thick the ground could not be seen. I could hear their uncountable tongues lapping up the water. Each tongue was so small. But together their thirst was so, so great.
Just before I woke, the scenes all ceased. I heard a familiar voice start near by and recede quickly.
“Oh, you’re such a good girl. I was so thirsty. You asked for nothing for it, and that made it so sweet.”
The glass of water was still on the table where I had placed it. But now the interior was completely covered with pinpoint bubbles, obscuring all sides of the glass under the surface. The glass was clean. The water was drawn cold and allowed to settle. But in my still clearing fugue, I had the strangest thought that each pinpoint bubble was where each spirit from all the scenes of my dream had lapped the water, taking it from the glass and leaving a wee little void behind.
I have the feeling that Great Aunt Mabel is going to be visiting more often.