Water and Storybooks

Inspired by one of my dreams, from a few days ago.  I’m honestly confused as to what exactly it means . . .

Grey water, a sheen of rainbow oil threaded through it, lapped at my neck.  A cold chill nipped at my skin, but inside I was impervious to it.  The sinking ferry, yards away from our reach, floated like a phantom on the river, its lights dead.  For days we had fled the waters, the floods rising to overtake us.  Now it was just me.

Blue cardboard cover, embossed foil, soft watercolors, baby-proofed pages, white text on a dreamy blue-black-pink galaxy of color…

My hand clung to the iron railing of the ship, where melancholy strains of music, a dirge, floated through air thick with slate fog and engine exhaust, down onto the murky surface of the water.  I shook my head, sending flying droplets from my stringy hair, spitting strands from my mouth.  My clothing was now skin-tight, soaked with river water.

Flipping through thick pages, glossy with illustrations, happy smiles depicted with ink and print.  One, flip—two, flip—three…

I hoisted myself up onto the deck; there were no helping hands.  I scouted out the place around me, dripping water onto the faux wood deck.  The entire ferry was listing sideways.  Pulling the waterproof backpack off my shoulders, I plunked it onto the deck.  I unzipped my backpack and fished through it.  Fingers numb and cold, I untwisted the cap from the thermos, drinking now-lukewarm tea that I had hastily put together when the news came and the flood along with it.

Sweet, creamy—a primal instinct to drink.  Savor it and swallow it.  Warm, full, tight belly.  Nourishment, provision, thirst quenching and satisfying…

I finished three sips and reluctantly capped it again.  Clouds rolled in, thunder rumbling ominously.  I saw a million pins pricking the surface of the water.  It was bad enough as it was.  Perhaps it was my imagination.  But the bow tipped, dipped, slipped—into the rising tide of the river water.  If rivers had tides.  They did now.  Liquid splashed through the railing over my already-soaked sneakers.

Humming in the background, the low sonorous drone of a lovely voice.  Nursery rhymes chanted through an intensely close feeling of vague contentment…

I looked behind me and saw two men, shadows merely, standing inside the ferry’s roofed section of the deck, talking to each other in hushed voices.  “The Coast Guard is supposed to arrive soon.”  The one speaking checked his watch.  The other looked on mutely.  My mouth opened and I stepped toward them, hands open and extended.  The mute one stared me in the eye, unblinking.

Finger following the words, letter by letter, quiet patience sounding them out.  Peek a boo, baby!  Peek a boo!  Hands flying, closed then open.  Mama’s gone and now she’s here…

They both vanished.  The deck pitched down towards the bow, water eating its way up the deck to where I stood.  It was at my knees, now, and my fingers loosened from the iron railing.  The water advanced higher, higher, higher—a necklace falling against my collarbones, now a choker of polished grey-blue agate.  The water coaxed my head to tilt upward, and my eyes turned to the sky in an effort to breathe.  Involuntary tears mixed with the spray of the flood, and my lips tugged into a smile.  I saw no stars, but I knew they must be there.

Where’s your toes?  Giggles, soft laughter, like golden rainwater.  Yes, yeah!  Good job!  A soft croon, pure love, tangible.  Where’s your fingers?  Hugs, kisses… Where’s your nose?  Can you show me your eyes?  Now where’s your hair, honey?  Yes!  Laughter-stressed syllables, words broken by smiles.

Darkness as night draws near, orange firelight glowing in the distance, far, far away, an ardent burn of untranslatable happiness-contentment-security.  Soft, plush things nearby, known so well, familiar.  A view from above of the most beautiful sight in the world.  Provider.  Protector.  Guardian.  I’ll always love you, I’ll never leave your side…

And as mama whispered a lullaby, she wrapped her little baby in a blanket of blue…

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