She was tired. Her belly, her legs, her head, her entire body felt like a huge weight pressing relentlessly down on her. Her heart might burst out of her chest at any moment, splitting her blouse.
What would her heart look like?
Would it really be that nice shape you got on greetings cards?
Do all hearts take the same form?
Are they deformed by heartache?
She thought about throwing the water can on the ground, letting the liquid spread, soak, muddy, blend into the path that had burned the soles of her feet, eaten away at her veins and drained her of strength over the years.
She thought of her children, who would be awake by now, waiting for her. Children she hated!
She’d been told when she was twenty-three that her uterus was spent. If only it would stop spending once and for all! She was sick of it, that piece of her that inflated, filled up and deflated year after year, dumping into her arms and care another blob of a person.
No. She would not go home.
The ravine looked at her, its mouth open in an irresistible smile, calling her to a final encounter.
She knew that smile and did not have fond memories of what came next. But it would have to be everlasting one day. And what if it were today, at the break of dawn? She and her water can, together forever in the ravine’s smile.
She liked her water can. She took good care of it. She had, on occasion, at times of anger or uncertainty, scoured it once, a dozen, a hundred times, until it gleamed and her rage, or uncertainty, became lost in the silver shine. With the wooden bottom she’d had to have fitted, when it started to leak and a twisted rag no longer did the trick, it had gotten heavier, but that wasn’t the cause of her discomfort.
Chuck herself into the ravine. She had nothing to lose. In fact she’d never lost anything. She’d never had anything to lose.
Ah! People said she’d lost her virginity, though she never did find out what that was.
On the edge of the ravine, with the can of water on her head and her skirt beating in the wind, she thought of her children and raised her hands to her chest.
What did her children have to do with her heart? Her children… How she loved them, oh lord!
She rushed off to meet them. The youngest would be calling for her.
She ran leaving the ravine and her dream of freedom behind.
When I came across her on the beach, she waiting for fish, me pursuing other desires, she shared this bit of her life with me, by way of reply to my saying how nice it would be to catch a wave and head off to other places, other sands, other Christmases.