Cast a spell of love with WITCH by David Cain
Now available at Amazon http://a.co/d/bmLzIet
Cast a spell of love with WITCH by David Cain
Now available at Amazon http://a.co/d/bmLzIet
Witch is first and foremost, a comedy; light, fun and funny. Secondly, it is a real romance, a story of the love our narrator has for his wife, the witch.
The concept of Witch arose, in part, after reading about the English witch trials that slaughtered random people for bizarrely inoffensive reasons – she has a cat, he made a drawing, they mumble a lot. It wasn’t even a philosophical religious thing – people were just mean.
Then I was thinking about modern witch comedy with the dopey husband domineering his loving witch wife and I thought, no real witch, even though she is wielding awesome magical powers, would ever tell anyone she is a witch, not even her husband. People burn people for being witches. No one must ever know. And she’d certainly never tell a dopey husband.
If she won’t confess, what can her husband do but compile evidence. Either she’s a witch or he’s crazy; he needs to know which is truth. So it begins.
Witch is much less serious than I make it sound here but there are layers of stuff going on what amounts to an open view of my adorable narrator’s heart and soul.
The real effect of Witch, I believe, will be to love the narrator and love the way he loves his wife. I think that part of the story is difficult to escape. The funny parts are funny if you think they’re funny. The love is real.
Interestingly, it’s a whole another book if you hate the narrator. Still funny but different. Witch is in the eye of the beholder.
I won’t bother to liken it to some post-war German fiction, the Mayor of Casterbridge and Browning’s poetic monologues. Lots of cultural references too, particularly for my generation to pick up on.
I have been writing this book because I believe my wife is a witch. Our history together has provided ample evidence to conclude that she has and uses magical powers. I’ve seen too much, been a party to too many weird things, to deny the supernatural qualities of our experiences together.
Looking back on the years I’ve shared with her, armed with twenty-twenty hindsight, I suspected that she was a witch from the very beginning, on the very first day we met. Nothing that has happened since has persuaded me otherwise, in fact, most of what has happened confirmed my suspicions.
In a way, I should have been flattered; she showed me who she was right away, revealed her true form, bared the witch within, so to speak. Having been with her all these years, I realize now that she has never shared her true identity like that with anyone else. From the start, I was different. I like that.
I wasn’t thinking about her in those terms yet; I wasn’t ready to begin accusing anyone of anything. I say I was suspicious but honestly, I never dreamed that she was really a witch. I didn’t think anyone was really a witch. I wasn’t open to the idea. I dismissed the connections, the visions and coincidences, just assumed the strange things that had happened were the result of an overactive imagination, fueled by the usual assortment of cocktails, beers, being under-fed and over-tired. I wrote off the experiences as a short bout of madness. Assuming that I was wrong made far more sense to me than the idea of her being a witch. Insanity made more sense to me than supernatural powers.
I call her a witch but that may not be what she is. Witches aren’t the only ones with supernatural powers so having powers doesn’t necessarily make her a witch, but you know what I mean. She’s clearly formed in the shape of a human being; she spends her days doing ordinary human things.
I don’t think she’s an alien or some other kind of supernatural being. I don’t think she shows any signs of possession. I haven’t seen her shape-shifting or anything dramatic like that. I suppose she might be a sorceress, a wizard, or a high priestess in some dark occult religion, perhaps. I’m just going to call her a witch. The title suits her. I can wrap my head around that.
The thing is, the reason I’m writing all this down, is that lots of strange stuff has happened since I met her and I want to make a record of it, just in case. Sometimes it scares me senseless. I don’t know what I mean.
If something should happen to me, I was going to say, but I don’t think anything bad is going to happen. Our time together has been phenomenally good. I would have to say that spending time with a witch has been very beneficial.
I guess I’m trying to make a record, in case some one needs to understand what has been going on with her. I’ve been a front-line witness to years of witchy behavior. I just think I should write it all down.
At the very least, it’s an interesting story. Maybe that’s why I want to write it down, because I don’t have anyone I can tell my story to. I’ve been alone with the knowledge. I can’t even imagine who I’d seriously discuss this with. They’d think I was crazy or laugh at me. Married to a witch. I’m dying to tell someone about it but I’m going to keep my mouth shut, for my own good. This will have to do.
Let’s get one thing straight: I’m not calling her out, not accusing her, not trying to bring her to justice or salvation or whatever I would be doing if I made her witchiness public. So I haven’t called any church elders; I haven’t been in contact with a witch hunter. Nor have I forbidden her from cleaning the house using magic. I’m quite happy, being married to a witch. It’s very nice.
I joked about the house cleaning but from what I’ve gathered witchcraft doesn’t work that way. She can’t just cast a quick spell and make the house clean or transformed into a medieval castle. That would be a good trick, of course, but that would be more of a Jeannie sort of thing. Witches are subtle in their use of power, certainly more subtle than that. They don’t make things happen as much as they smooth the path that leads wherever they want to go. They help or hinder.
I’ve seen a few weird things but I’m never going to prove anything using undocumented visual evidence. If I’d taken pictures or video or something, we could talk but eye witness accounts aren’t reliable. I have to be realistic; I may have been seeing things that weren’t there. Visual evidence is not a big part of my case, anyway; I wish it were. If I had seen more unexplainable things, it might not have taken me so long to reach my conclusion. That said, I have seen some weirdnesses.
My case is an accumulation of things I’ve seen, heard and experienced. It is an incomplete record of the events that transpired; lots of stuff may have happened that I don’t know anything about. Although I live with her, I can’t pretend to know everything she does magically. All I can attest to is what I’ve witnessed, what I’ve seen, heard and felt.
For what that’s worth. I’m not sure I’m a good witness or even a reliable one. Not just because I don’t always pay attention to details and miss lots of things that go past me. I think she messes with my mind, so even what I know is suspect. It isn’t a great place to start but it will have to do.
I’ve never seen anything float or magically blink into or out of existence. I haven’t heard any objects talk or seen anything suddenly transform from one thing into another. Just to be clear, there haven’t been any parlor tricks, no stage-type magic, no bright balls of light and big bangs. Nor does she ever wave a wand. I don’t even think she has one. There is a stick on her witch shelf but I don’t think that proves much of anything.
What I have seen, let’s say, that might prove she is a witch, has been her success. It seems like luck is always on her side. She can do things that I’m not sure she should be able to do, things I know I couldn’t do. There are lots of things I can’t do, but she does things I don’t think anyone could do. She has a knack for doing the right thing at the right time in the right way to accomplish the right result. It’s uncanny.
She can foresee the future, too often for it to be mere coincidence; she always seems to make lucky guesses, always has the right cards, so to speak. She knows things, things she shouldn’t be able to know, like who’s going to win or what exactly I’m thinking.
She frequently talks to animals and plants and clay and food. I think they listen to her. And I’ve never heard any voices but I suspect some of them respond. Stuff goes on that I really don’t get.
There is evidence in the first time we met; I think being a witch made my wife an incredible photography model. She is still the best I’ve ever worked with. From time to time, I get inquiries about some of the photos we took and we didn’t take that many. Search for “witch photo” and one of her pictures will be in the top two-hundred fifty hits, six years after we took them. And, believe me, there are lots of witch photos on the internet. Way lots.
Of course, our photography sessions were the weirdest sessions I have ever been through. Not just once, but twice. And then the pictures worked out in a way that I think I can fairly claim only a witch could have arranged. That’s my theory, anyway.
Being a witch certainly made her a superb business manager. Compared to me, no question. When we met, I was pretty much floundering, trying to get enough work to get enough cash to get my business started. I barely made rent, sometimes.
Back then, When I made contact with someone who hired photographers, I would bug them daily trying to get work. They’d usually tell me they’d find something for me but not now, later and later rarely came. Sadly, that’s how I got most of my work, annoying everyone I knew until someone gave me a job, taking pictures, doing design work, arrangements, junk like that.
Pushing so hard, my popularity, never my strongest suit, started really crumbling. People wouldn’t answer calls, stopped responding to emails, started crossing the street to avoid me because they knew I’d have to say what I had to say, that I’d ask them for work and they’d have to say no.
Even so, I did all right, most of the time, but I wasn’t getting ahead. I started having doubts about my career choice, and considered getting a desk job somewhere. I might have given up. I was getting desperate. That was when I met a witch.
When she was arranging work for me, she’d call some guy up and hand me three jobs. Then she’d call another guy and I’d have five more. In the first week, she arranged more work than I found in six months. There was hardly enough time to do all the work she found. She kept me on track. I started to get ahead.
After a while, the grind of production started wearing me thin, so I told her that I wanted to change our direction, take me out of the trenches and start letting me provide the visions. Two weeks later, I had a new office and a whole new game plan. It was like she snapped her fingers and made it all happen. I didn’t even struggle with the transition. She told me what I needed to know, where to be and what to do. I paid close attention, did as I was told and the inevitable victory was won.
With a witch, I’ve gathered, success is just business as usual. When obstacles arose, she took care of them. I can’t swear there was magic involved but the way our troubles vanished was clearly incredible. Our deliverables were on time and our competition invariably fell short. Her grasp of the details was nearly perfect. I don’t remember her ever missing a trick. Unbelievable, really. Fantastic. Supernatural.
As a wife, as a friend, as a partner, a witch is where it’s at. She knows me and knows my needs and desires. She knows what to say. She knows how close I want her to be. She guides me through life casually, sweetly, delightfully. Every day is a pleasure.
Am I spell-bound? Am I under her control, voodoo hexed and enslaved? Am I happy because she has cast a spell that makes me happy? Am I her minion, her human familiar? Do I have any free will at all?
I’m sure I’ll never know. But I don’t mind.
Having said all of that, I feel a bit stupid, saying my wife has magic powers. I’m not a child, immersed in wizard novels about fairy tales and fantastical elf-lore. I don’t even like that stuff, really. Some of it, maybe, I mean, I’ve watched the movies but I don’t take it seriously. I keep my feet on the ground.
I’ve always believed in ghosts and stuff like that. I don’t know if I’ve actually seen a ghost but I have felt some creepy paranormal stuff, energy and cold and unexplained noises while hanging out with friends in abandoned buildings when we were younger. We’d try to contact the spirits when we were feeling bold mostly because we were drunk. Once there was a loud crash in the distance when someone shouted at the ghosts we couldn’t see but we’ve all had supernatural experiences. It’s not that weird. The world is full of dark energies.
And witches, apparently.
I know what most people know about paranormal stuff, the occult, hauntings, vampires, wizards, all that junk. I watch the shows, see the movies. Some of it seems cool but most of it’s just for fun. I’d never really given it any thought. I never really thought it would impact my life.
When I think about it, though, apart from your basic Halloween witch decorations, I didn’t know that much about witches when this started. It wasn’t even a question I thought to ask, no more than I’d ask about mummies. They’re Halloween costumes. I wonder if werewolves are real. Shapeshifting is cool.
I used to work with this young woman sometimes back when I first started taking pictures. Annette would be like my assistant when I had big jobs that needed more than one person. I don’t know how we started working together but we had a rapport that made getting the job done easy.
I didn’t really know Annette that well but we talked sometimes during the downtime we’d have to endure during some of our jobs. One day, she casually mentioned that she was a real live modern day witch. I made some stupid jokes which I could tell annoyed her but then she told me lots of stuff I never knew about witches. That’s what got me thinking, when Annette said she thought my wife was a witch.
She was the first to say so and the only person who has brought the subject up since. Maybe there’s some kind of spell around my wife that prevents people from noticing. Maybe Annette is protected because she’s a witch too. Something to consider.
When she told me that my wife was a really a witch. I asked her how she knew and she told me. She was right about everything.
I’m no authority on witches although I do have personal experience with one or more of them. From what I have gathered, witches could be described as people who still follow the oldest religions. They come in every shape and size and nationality and walk of life. No culture or time period has been free of witches. Because they observe pagan ways, they are connected to nature far beyond your average tree-hugger; the connection isn’t rational or even emotional. The connection between witches and nature is spiritual. This other-worldly connection is the root of their power. They can do things, they know things, they can see things and foresee things. Yet you may never know when a witch is right next to you, even though you see them every day.
What you will see, if you watch carefully, is a person who perpetually enjoys an inner peace, a connectedness, a serenity that controls and dampens the world rushing in chaos around her. The energies she commands glides her though life, like a melody, like a summer breeze, like a rainbow on the wing. She may whisper and mumble, she may wave her hands and unfocus her eyes while you are talking to her, but she’ll know exactly what you mean and precisely what is really going on. Witch life is a style, a power, a universe unto itself.
On those wings, we keep soaring higher.
After Annette opened my eyes, I started binging movies, shows, videos, stuff like that, to learn everything I could about witches. They have an interesting culture.
There are objects usually associated with historical witches. My wife owns a wide assortment of things that any witch might have; there is no disputing that. But other women I have known have had the same kind of witchy things in their homes and I don’t think they were witches at all. Crystals and Celtic designs and Tarot cards and spirit bowls and incense and candles. What woman doesn’t have candles? I don’t think we can conclude anything from owning witch type objects. It’s just more evidence, piling on.
She has most of those witch type things on a shelf. I call it her witch shelf. She never responds when I say things like that, like it isn’t worth responding to. Of course, I don’t know if it’s not worth responding to because it’s true or because it’s ridiculous, I’ll probably never know. I’ve tried to talk to her about being a witch but she either walks away, changes the subject or makes a joke out of it. I don’t know what that means but I am convinced that she will not talk about it.
There are other things she has on her witch shelf that are less generic, like the witch books. They aren’t very good reads, lots of circles and affirmations and goddess talk that goes round and round in, well, circles. She said they are research but I don’t know what she’s doing research for. Having them on the shelf is not conclusive that she is a witch but it is evidence. Church ladies don’t have witch stuff on display.
Lots of popular culture shows witches hanging out in groups, stirring cauldrons and dancing in the moonlight. I don’t think my wife goes in for that kind of witchery. I mean, I don’t think she really spends any time hanging out with other witches.
Not that I’m aware of, anyway. I suppose she might be turning into a rabbit and hopping off for a coven meeting after I go to sleep. They say witches sometimes transform into animals so that they can play tricks on us mere mortals, without the limitations of human form. Or they fly on brooms. Lots of witch stuff is supposed to happen at night. I wouldn’t think I would miss her leaving the house after bed but I do sleep pretty soundly. And she may be casting sleep spells on me. Time reversal spells. Who knows?
But, seriously, she doesn’t have any witchy friends like that, wearing witchy symbols or talking witch talk. I think she’s more of a loner. I’m pretty sure they have loner witches. That’s probably a thing.
So it’s not the company she keeps that makes me think she is a witch. It’s the way she behaves, some of the weird stuff I’ve witnessed and our continuing successes that make me believe in her witchness. I guess I don’t really have any proof. Maybe she isn’t a witch. But it sure seems like she is.
Of course, its not all about the good stuff that has happened since we got together. There have been times when it frightens me. I don’t mean that she has caused me fear but thinking about her being a witch has scared me. I don’t know. I suppose she scares me. In a good way.
She’s always been pleasant to me but I’ve been careful to stay on her good side. It’s important to me, in fact, because, if I’m being honest, I’ve always been a bit afraid of her. I sort of did that instinctively, from the beginning. I knew from the very start that I did not want her mad at me. It wasn’t anything she said or did. There wasn’t any violence in her behavior or even in her language. She was always kind of sweet when I was around anyway. But I glimpsed her power, I guess. I felt the force of her psychic energy. I could feel the cold push of her intense will. After an hour, I’d seen enough to keep me subdued and obedient. I fear her lovingly.
But I’ve also done business with her, watched her deal with people who did not please her. She can be very forceful when she needs to get her way and some people are foolish enough to stand in her way.
She doesn’t show any anger but I believe are two patterns I can discern, when she has been crossed. First I suspect that she somehow causes them pain in ways that never quite come back on her. People who have crossed her often experience the worst luck in the wake of their encounter. They trip, fall down stairs, get hit by falling objects, go blind, stuff like that.
Then I suspect that she foretells a terrible future for them. And it happens. I’m not kidding. People are ruined, broken, disgraced, ostracized. They get sick and die. I mean, I don’t know if she cast a spell and made them die but she did predict their demise. She tells me when deals are going to fall apart, when companies are going to collapse, when partnerships are doomed and she’s always right. It’s spooky. And scary.
Actually, to be safe, I long ago adopted the attitude that she’s always right. It seems like the best approach to life with a witch. Do what I’m told and enjoy the benefits. And it’s worked, so I’m sticking with it. I’m doing too well to jeopardize this gravy train of happiness. Besides, she is always right.
I haven’t mentioned writing this book to her. I hope she doesn’t mind.
Message in a Bottle
by David Cain
(a sample from my next novel, Message in a Bottle)
I took a job by the river. Other jobs offered me a little more money but I really liked the location of this place, down by the river. My office was small but it had a wonderful view, overlooking the river, perched above a beautiful spot where dark waters rushed between rocky shores. A large perfectly clear plate-glass window presented me with a panoramic view of a lively scene, the undulating flow of a murky surface, erupting in splashes between green and grey boulders, cutting through the marshy beginnings of a distant forest. I could watch patrons of the restaurants and shopping district as they milled about the promenades along the opposite shore. An airport upstream provided the intermittent roar of big jets as they began their ascent over the path cut by the water, but tucked inside my office, I felt the planes more than I heard them. The view made up, in part, for the poor salary I received. I needed more money, don’t we all, but I didn’t really mind the trade. I compensated for the pay by spending part of my day staring out my window.
I often sat in my fat office chair and mindlessly watched the boats roll past, big commercial ships loaded with freight, small cruise ships filled to the brim with drunk passengers on a temporary floating bender, tiny fishing vessels with rugged and weary men, trying to make a living or trying to escape their troubles on the shore. Sometimes an old couple, decked in fishing gear, would sit behind their poles for hours on end, seemingly never speaking a word. I wasn’t sure if that was good or bad. At least they spent their day together.
Only rarely did I spot a fish from where I sat, the occasional sparkle of scales in the sunshine that might dazzle me momentarily, even less often the jump of a slender specimen as it fought its way upstream. Most of the fish I managed to catch a glimpse of had found themselves caught in the beak of some great fisher bird or dangling from the line of one of the grizzled fishermen. Up high in my office building, I was spared the stench of fishy waters. I didn’t mind that bit at all.
The birds, and there were millions of them, were mesmerizing, constant flocks swirling in the air pockets swelling above the cool rushing water, patient waders and some who perched nearby, calmly watching the water for some prey to appear within striking distance. Large birds of prey would circle overhead, watching activities far below until their round paths descended and fell in a brutal strike on some unseen victim. Vultures would signal the end of one feast and the start of another, more macabre feeding. A scene so full of life was also full of dying.
Sometimes a freight train rattled across a bridge a few hundred yards upstream, the steady three minute rumble of shifting weight and creaking timbers. From my vantage point, I could only see a few cars of the train at any given time but the building shook slightly for the whole period of its passing. The trains only went in one direction, east to west. I sometimes wondered how they managed to get home.
A sidewalk wound and crawled along the shoreline in a park created by the city to beautify this mostly useless bit of land, with occasional benches to provide respite and a place to ponder the slightly savage ecosystem that flourished so near our peaceful community. I would sit in my office and watch the silent dramas unfold as some lady sat down to nibble on her tiny lunch before some young rake in a t-shirt and skateboard would sit beside her to chat. She didn’t seem to mind. Busy little office workers would meander down the sidewalk, lost in thought, oblivious to the bounty of nature that surrounded them, worried and concerned and stuck within their minds. Sometimes, a pair of young lovers would wander slowly along the shoreline, treasuring each moment spent, hand in hand, lost in each others eyes. An overly efficient speed-walker sometimes used the sidewalk as a course for his exercise, preparing perhaps for some great competition of fast walkers. More than one lonely traveler took a slow stroll, wishing some other fellow river lover would come walk beside them, maybe chat a bit. Joggers and dog walkers, I saw every breed.
My imagination often took hold of the people I saw. I couldn’t help make up stories about them. I’m sure none of my guesses were anywhere close to the truth but it was a fun way to pass the day.
One morning, I had come to work early, avoiding traffic and getting a jump on the day. I was eating a bagel spread with cream cheese while I sipped my coffee and marveled at the beauty of the river scene laid out before me, beyond my glass wall. The office was perfectly quiet and the weather was mild that day, the sun rising into cloudless skies, the wind a gentle breeze. Blinding bits of sunlight reflected off the unsettled surface of the mighty river that raged below. A crane swooped into the scene and found a place to stand in the water, ready to extract some poor breakfast from under the gleaming surface.
As I finished my bagel, I looked Into the distance, along the long sidewalk, and saw a lone figure walking slowly in my direction. I say that walked toward me only because the general tendency of his motion was to walk toward our offices but his progress certainly didn’t make his destination obvious. He would stop, stand and stare at the water, turn back, walk several meters and then stop again. A few minutes later, he would resume his sauntering pace, headed back in my direction. He stopped again and almost headed both directions at once, undecided and unsure.
I watched the clown, for I had so dubbed him for his strange patterns, with more attention than I might usually pay, staring because, for no real reason, he amused me. I made up stories to explain his strange behavior, entertaining myself with the possibilities. I suspected there was something at the end of his journey that he dreaded, that he was taking two steps forward, realizing his fears and taking another step back. I tried to calculate his rate of progress and decided that he might reach the spot in front of me by lunchtime.
My calculations were upended when the man suddenly adopted a steady, determined pace, covering a hundred yards in a matter of minutes. I watched, fascinated for no reason at all. When he stopped again and turned toward me for a moment, I felt the slight shock of an unexpected recognition. I knew the fellow.
We had attended University together, some six years before. I had been an engineering student while Tim had been studying literature. We didn’t have any classes together; he lived down the hall in my dormitory. We had friends in common and eventually became friends in our own right. I liked him; he was a dreamer, full of ideals and a readiness to suffer, if that’s what it would take to reach his goals. I think he wanted to be a writer; a poet or a novelist, something like that. His dreamy approach suited him better than engineering suited me. I respected that.
I watched him with greater interest, knowing who this wanderer was. I had to change my stories; now the question was what was Tim doing, walking so strangely along the river? What did he dread, up ahead? What was on his mind? Knowing Tim, as I did, brought a whole new range of possible into my imaginings. I doubted he was worried about his job or his car or anything mundane like that. I suspected he was having some kind of existential crisis, questioning the very values he had inherited, searching his soul for some deep, philosophical answer. Or he was in love. I had a strong feeling that was probably the right answer.
As he drew closer, his jacket and slacks coming into focus, I could see that he was holding something strange in his hand. Occasionally catching the sun with a gleam of sharp light, I thought it might be a weapon at first, a large knife or a silver gun perhaps. I began to grow worried, concerned that Tim’s indecision had a sinister side, one of impending self-harm. He definitely was more of the suicide breed than a suspect for murder. I didn’t think he could kill anyone, frankly. So my eyes were wide with wonder, watching carefully, trying to discern his intent as he handled the thing he held. Then, as he passed the thing from pocket to hand and hand to pocket, I realized it wasn’t a weapon he had in hand. It was an old glass soda bottle.
He never made a move to drink from the bottle and, from what I could see, it appeared to be empty. It may have been an illusion, the shine of the glass disguising the dark brown of the cola I suspected once filled the void. The way he handled it certainly gave the impression of emptiness, for he turned it over and over without any regard for up and down. Yet he held the bottle warmly, almost lovingly, as though it mattered to him.
As he came close to my office building, he pushed the bottle deep into a pocket and started to climb the boulders that lined the shore. I felt a twinge of concern as I watched him clamor up the huge stones, worried that his leather dress shoes were wholly inappropriate to rock climbing. He seemed to slip once or twice but kept his footing and continued to advance toward the shoreline.
For a moment, as he stood atop a large rock, looking like a hero silhouetted against the dawn, I had another moment of anxiety, afraid Tim was about to throw himself into the raging river below him. The rapids were dangerous and more than one person had lost their life in its turbulence, accidentally or on purpose. I thought for a second about running outside, shouting and calling, trying to stop him from doing something we would all regret. Another moment of suspicions and I would have; I’m sure of it.
Instead, he drew the soda bottle from his pocket and kissed it as though saying goodbye to a loved one. As I pondered this strange show of affection for what most people would consider trash, I watched him lean back, cock his arm and Tim threw the bottle with all his might over the river that streamed madly past him.
A small splash marked the water where the bottle struck and then it disappeared beneath the surface. A few moments later, I saw the bottle bob back to the surface, sparkling in the morning light. The current caught hold of the glass bubble and it began to roll, jump, dunk and bounce along the surface of the river. Tim shaded his eyes as he tried to follow the bottle’s journey.
I never considered the idea that Tim was merely disposing of trash, throwing the bottle for lack of a stone to throw. The kiss, if anything, seemed to speak of greater concern but his whole demeanor seemed to speak of the importance of the glass container or, more likely, the thing contained within. I suppose, if it had been someone else, I would have thought them strange but wouldn’t have assumed something bigger was going on. But I knew Tim. He liked dramatic gestures. He loved living life romantically. He has a young Werther’s style. I was sure he was dramatizing his sorrows.
Sitting thirty feet above the place Tim stood, I could see the bottle as it floated downstream for a long time, much longer than Tim could see it go. At one point, I saw the bottle headed toward a large rock that rose above the waterline and feared that it would smash to bits. I don’t know why I cared what happened to the bottle, except that Tim cared and so I cared with him. The rushing water carried the glass treacherously close to the mass of granite and then suddenly thrust it away, saving it from the calamitous smash that I thought inevitable. The bottle continued its journey unscathed and vanished into the chaotic green distance.
Tim sat down, cross-legged, on the boulder. I couldn’t tell from the distance but it seemed as though he had buried his face in his hands, as if to cry. Maybe the sheen of his cheeks was a trick of the light but it seemed consistent with a veil of tears. I felt like I could see his shoulders shake with a sob. Finally collecting himself, he stood up and stared a while longer at the path his bottle had taken. Then he rose, climbed down from the rocks and began to walk away, determined this time, with no indecision or distractions. I saw him disappear from view behind one of the buildings downstream.
I shook my head, shrugged and turned on my computer. I had work to do. I couldn’t spend all day watching the river roll by.