I look around the desert for a drop of humanity to quench this undeniable thirst. An oasis of empathy to soothe my unrelenting heart. Am I lost? My parched soul keeps searching for refreshment, fulfillment. Nothing interrupts the dusty beige view before me.
My aching feet continue travel over the shifting sand, moved along beneath the blazing sun by willpower alone, seeking solace, not death. Death may offer a seductive reprieve, but the allusive idea of solace is more intrigueing. My newly embraced mantra: Keep moving so as not to get mired in the quicksand again.
I never imagined choosing this separation from the land I knew, the familiarity; to embark upon such an uncertain, but necessary, path; searching for something I couldn’t name, or even picture, but it’s pull unquestionable. With each forced step forward, a footprint is left behind in the sand, soon covered by blown dust; my path hidden by an invisible wind.
I see a rglimmering eflection in the distance! Is it a promise, or a mirage of hope? Either way, I must tread after it, always the seeker, forever thirsty, it seems. Always drowning, but refusing to forfeit breath, determined to find the depths.
I reach the edge of this typical world, typical interactions; my lips cracked, throat parched beyond speech. Another promise steeped in illusion uncovered. My purpose is not found here. I feel small. Swallowed up in a dust-storm of expectations. All I can do is listen. Attempt to drink in their words. I cannot ask for help, unfulfilled by the empty cup offered. I must move on.
Continuing on, I will my weary spirit to keep going, to follow the safety of the sand with the promise of reaching the potential in front of us.Where sand is covered by the sea of possibility.
Now nearly nude, my clothing discarded or weathered, I am vulnerable to the burns of exposure. My softest places are covered by shreds, the rest are protected by callus. Hopefully, it’s enough to avoid the deathly sting of the rays. I want to enjoy the sunshine someday, to crave it’s warmth to give me life. This is too much. It’s brilliance is making me see things I don’t want to see, making me believe what I don’t want to believe.
Wait! Up ahead, I see a tree! My swollen eyes open wider, my heavy feet plunge ahead, hoping. Again. There is a crowd of people filling the shimmering area. Upon my disruptive arrival, I am politely provided a seat in the shade. I appreciate that gesture very much, but I am so thirsty and no one has offered me a cup of the refreshing water from the oasis, although I see them all drinking from their own. Can’t they see the desperation in my red eyes and dry smile? My weakened legs cannot carry me to the beckoning pool.
Finally, a man approaches me, holding out a water-filled cup for my tired hands to grasp. I’m much too thirsty to be skeptical. I gulp it down greedily, then hold it out in a silent plea for more. He gives me his own half-drunk cup, which I accept with a grateful smile. I didn’t want him to leave - I could feel my voice returning. I patted the empty space next to me under the welcome shade tree before taking a sip.
He took the seat next to me with a smile returned, then asked, “So tell me about your journey.”
I began in a cracked whisper, hesitantly. Was he really interested? Did he really want to know?
“I left my home, my being broken and empty, after realizing my entire existence was based on lies, my loyalty was misplaced. So I walked away. I tried to say good-bye to those whom I thought cared, but people were just angry, so I quit trying and left quietly, alone.” I stopped and looked up, meeting those bright blue eyes intent on me.
“Please, Keep going. How did you end up here?” He asked this in a caring voice, and with a gentle smile.
He did seem genuinely interested. I drank down the rest of the water in the cup and kept going with my story. It felt good to talk and I realized I wanted to know this stranger’s story, too.
“My reasoning is much the same as yours. Interesting our paths crossed here.”
“What made you come to me and offer a cup of water? No one else did, although they gave me comfort in shade.”
“You looked like me when I first got here - thirsty and weary. I have been here several days, noticing everyone carries a full cup of water, but rarely takes a sip.”
“How did this place, and everyone, get here?”
He just looked at me and shrugged.
“Come with me. We will both get another cup of water, then continue our journey together. This is a nice resting place, but I know of a place to call home just a short distance more across the sand.”
He took me by the hand, leading me through the crowd, to the sparkling water source. I did not resist, and my legs felt restless now. Strong. We both drank our fill from the glittering pool, then I followed the mesmerizing stranger as we stepped from the green grass of the oasis back to the desert sands. I looked back over my shoulder to see the conglomeration shimmering in the sun. We continued on. We made a good distance before I looked back again. The oasis was gone. I looked ahead and followed the man in front of me. I caught up shortly, and then we walked step-for-step, side-by-side in silence through the sand.
By twilight, we had reached another welcoming location. We decided to lay back on the lush grass and gaze at the stars appearing. Where were we now? Where were we going?
“Are you thirsty?” He asked me.
I was pleasantly surprised to find I wasn’t. “No, I am not!”
“Then we are home,” he replied.
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Great vocabulary and language! Very interesting story and I enjoyed the satisfying ending! Well done!
Thank you so much!
Some pretty phrases in here, "My purpose is not found here. I feel small. Swallowed up in a dust-storm of expectations." I'm not sure I understood what was going on (maybe I'm not meant to). Is she dead? Is she in heaven...or is she having a spiritual/religious experience? I suppose I'd like to know more about why she's taking this path. Since we're in her head the entire journey, it would interesting to understand her motivation (is she running away from or towards something), which would propel the story with more 'umph.' Also, a few t...
Thank you so much for reading and your comments! (Oh, those darn typos! Some are definitely mine, but that "smart" fill or whatever it is, can be so annoying!) I see your point about understanding the motivation more - it's a bit too personal and maybe dreamy (I personally have. never been lost in a desert literally) which makes it maybe a bit too vague to follow - although you are correct intuit she is "running away" but also "toward." It's more of a take on how she has seen society around her, their reactions. Thank you for the welco...
I ALWAYS have typos no matter how many times I proof-read. If you're aiming for a story that pulls the readers in (and that's not everyone's goal, some people just wanna write), then having more conflict or more understanding of what she wants to achieve (and the hurdles she must overcome, or not) makes for a more engrossing story. Right now, the conflict is the narrator versus the harsh environment, so there's defo room for more, especially as we're in her head and her thoughts are abstract/vague. If your theme is about her perception o...
Thank you so much! Yes, I am always looking to improve, and see how this piece could benefit from improvements all ready! I love your thoughts - makes me go "hmmm....." - that's a good thing. 😎