Water Walker

Single glass of waterThe days were endless, the nights not long enough. She was tired, but too well-rested. She had all she needed to restore her health, but was weary of doing the work to rejoin the world.

Yet there remained moments–lilac’s scent, chickadee’s song, soft cashmere blanket lying beneath her cooling hands–that hinted shucking her failing body, she’d become what, rather than who she was meant to be.

The child with her own smile approached from the dark corner of the room. Thirsty, she received the child’s caress, the sweet water in a simple glass, finally hers to enjoy.

© Liz Husebye Hartmann (2019)

Extended version:

The Water Walker

The days were endless, the nights not long enough. She was tired, but also too well-rested. She had everything she needed to be restored to health, but her body was completely disinterested in doing the work it needed to get back in the world.

And yet, there were moments still that roused something in her spirit, made her believe that once she shucked her failing body, she would be free to become what, rather than who, she had been meant to be all along. And that maybe the long slog, the mistakes, the things that she still on occasion recognized as regrets, were all meant to be exactly as they were.

The lilac outside the window, for one, that nodded in the morning breeze, sunlight glinting off the dew of an unusually cool night. The perfume from its blooms through the window that she had insisted be cracked open at all times. The softness of the cashmere sweater that pooled on her lap where her hands lay cooling, as the sun crept around the lilac bush and poured over and around each bony finger.

Her feet and legs were already cold. Were it not her body’s usual habit to sit in this chair, in this position by the window, she might have slid stiff but boneless, to the floor. As it was, she stayed by the window, relishing the sun’s path across the sky, the surround of the lilac in color and scent, the soft weave of the cashmere.

After a time, the woman opened her eyes to a child in a far, now dark corner of the room. As the child approached and came into focus, she saw she had her own face as a child. In the child’s hands was a glass, simple as one of the milk glasses her mother had used for her and her four brothers, so long ago. The child stepped closer and loosened one hand from the glass to stroke the woman’s cheek.  She realized now how thirsty she was, and opened her lips to receive the sweet water and deliverance that was now, finally, hers to enjoy.

© Liz Husebye Hartmann (2019)

Carrot Ranch (11/07/2019): In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes Water Walkers. It does not have to be in the Anishinaabe tradition; in fact, it would be more interesting to see interpretations from across all nations and walks. It can be a title or used as a phrase. Go where the prompt leads!

18 thoughts on “Water Walker

  1. Pingback: Water Walkers « Carrot Ranch Literary Community

  2. Such a beautiful and captivating story. You balanced details well in both versions. You expanded in the right places to keep the story moving forward and you pulled back to their barest elements in the 99-word version. That’s a great skill!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Charli. I feel like I’ve really improved my flow and flexibility of the craft over the years, through your prompts, and TUFF, It should be noted how much you’ve helped!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved these…both of them. But I especially liked the second version (perhaps because I sometimes need things spelled out, or perhaps because it simply had more of your beautiful prose!)

    Like

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