By the fifteenth month of the drought, the lake no longer held her secrets. Everyday she would go down to it, the water flowing in waves upon the surface of the lake. Like the water had flown out of her in a short burst.
And it would help her walking down to the lake. She would not feel as lonely as at home.
It would help her count each day that the lake’s surface sank into the sand, each day it fell more and more in defeat to the dryness. And in that defeat, she found herself loosing her opportunity to succumb to the dryness of that sand that absorbed the lively waters of the lake; her lively waters of the lake; and the whispering river running into it; attempting to fill it up, all for nothing. Or perhaps for something. Something, being her ability to count the months since the young, young woman would have been born. Since the daughter should have been brought into this world like the drought had brought dryness to the lake, killing it.
Every day she went down to the drying lake and listened to the river whispering water into its ear, and imagined it pour the same way her eyes poured and whispered the same way she wished for her husband to whisper soothing words of calm in her ear so the flood, the river, could flow to its void, flow out, flow done. She would wonder if the source of the drought were anything alike her’s. Perhaps, the flood had had an unborn son or an unborn daughter that had made the river’s flow disappear, fade, vanish, and die. And now it cried its tears out in attempts to fill the lake, a lake of life and a lake of death.
The Crystal Wall — Part I
Six months before the drought...
”It’s happening! Get the towels! Aaaaaah!”
The woman rested her back against the wall behind her and her husband’s bed. Resting her hand one second, clenching it the next on her round stomach; both it and her screaming and trying to push out its contains with every clench.
”Get the towels, I said!” her words made her husband’s feet dance as if it was both music and a whip that slammed upon them.
”Here, darling.” he said softly as if his voice was sneaking in the same way his feet was. ”Here are the towels.”
He looked around anxiously, attempting to find something to disappear into; something he could spot to bring to her help so he did not have to ask.
But finally he surrendered to the words he feared the most.
”Is there anything else I can help you with, sweetie?” he smiled stretching his mouth’s two edges as far as he could.
”Get this baby out of me!” she screamed clenching her hands on her round stomach seemingly moving downwards while moving her head backwards in a growl.
Everything continued as any other birth would. The woman’s clenching of the husband’s hand, the screaming of the to-be-mother and the quiet one of the man’s hand being grinded to bone-dust, the soothing words whispered to her by him doing anything to comfort her.
”What is it, my love?” he said. Sudden fright rushed through his veins and out into his grinded hand that called for air.
She remained quiet for a few seconds, felt her stomach one inch at the time.
”What do you mean, darling?” he said; head swaying back and forth as if someone had hit it with a sledgehammer of anxiety and sent that anxiety rushing like a strike of thunder through his body and striking his mind the hardest.
”She stopped kicking…” she said in a mere whisper. ”Her little feet stopped kicking…” she said again as she felt her stomach more intensely than before. ”She stopped kicking!” Her voice grew from a whisper of the mind to a rumble that shook the walls surrounding the man and the woman; now alone.
”Perhaps it is a sign for us to go to the hospital, my dear.” he said meanwhile the anxiety rose within him like a flower growing out of the dead soil; a flower with spikes stabbing the air it touched, stabbing his mind. ”Shall we g—”
His wife cut him short.
”She stopped kicking!” she yelled, now even louder. ”Why is she not kicking?”
”Yes, sweetie. So shall w—”
”She stopped kicking her feet at the walls of my stomach, Dan!” her voice cracked as if a dam had been broken at her last few words, sending chills down her husbands spine.
The thought of the hospital was washed away by the flood of the cracked dam; his wife’s tears, and replaced by nothing else but the sudden winds slamming against the only window in the room. A window covered by a torn, fragile cloth.
This he stared out at; as if dreaming himself away into a parallel universe were things were different.
Those were the sounds; the wind knocking on that window and his wife’s crackling voice.
The wife sat up in their bed, felt her stomach more intensely and dramatic after each and every touch, until every touch was that of a beating in a fierce attempt to press the stomach down; press the little thing that breathed moments earlier out, out, out!
”She stopped kicking!” she yelled again, desperately, desperately; tears forming in her eyes and running down her cheeks leaving trails never to ware off.
Her husband backed away slightly as if to hide from the crackling yells of his wife. Her crackling face. Away from the crackling dam that could crackle but more and grow from small beams of water to a wave the size of a mountain burying them both and the child. Then, quickly he walked up to her side and laid his hand on her stomach; wet and running like the tears from her eyes.
At his hand’s touch the moist surface felt cold. And it sent cills down his entire spine and all the way through his body, to his feet. He laid his hand upon his wife’s and took hold of it, felt the chillest of winds as if they’d pushed through the window on her hand; cold. But not cold like the stomach’s cold, more a discrete way. He felt tears rush to his face and was out the room as quickly as before during his crusade to aid her.
The wife; head resting on her pillow; hands clenched on her moist stomach, closed her eyes and let the tears run wild inside her eyelids. And instead of flowing out and dripping on her cheeks her tears formed crystals behind her shut eyelids. Crystals instead of water drops. That was the moment she realized the baby had no name. But in the second that follow as the clock ticked, it had one. She had one. Crystal.
Although Crystal was never born, it felt to her mother as if she were her true child. To her, it was as if she always had her child with her; always carried her, close to her heart, deep in her stomach. But never feeling her heartbeat. Never feeling her breath on her chin, or hearing the cries and screams on a thundering night. Never feeling her kick the walls that surrounded her. Never feeling, never feeling.
With walls, alike those Crystal was embedded in, Crystal’s mother surrounded herself. Built them from the crystals she had formed in between her pupils and her eyelids. She put them out and surrounded herself with them; built a crystal clear wall, transparent, and let all see her suffering but all unable to ask or speak.
After her husband had run out crying, he had kept silent around her, the walls separating them.
Despite the crystal wall he would break his hand through, lay it upon her stomach as before and feel after the bumping of a heart, the breath of a lung, or the cry of an eye. His gaze would wander between his wife’s eyes and her stomach. A fearful gaze staring at them both, alternating between them both. But Crystal’s mother did not care, for some nights, she would dream of Crystal. The baby would be kicking at the walls, screaming, yelling to come out from her mother. To finally come out. To finally see the world with her own eyes instead of the eyes of her mother.
In some of these dreams, Crystal would step out of her womb, as if she had merely been resting for the last eight, nine, thirteen, fifteen months and preparing for the world outside. Crystal would stand in before of her mother’s eyes; the crystal wall gone.
Crystal had already learnt to walk. Already learnt to speak. Already learnt to say; ”Mommy”, and each time this simple word was sent through the air, the dam healed and merely leaking out a few last drops of her mother’s crystal tears. And she would imagine filling the lake on the other side of the road with her broken, salt-filled tears.
But it would only be a dream, and she would wake feeling her moist stomach as cold, as silent, and as lonely as when she went asleep.
The Abyss — Part II
The morning was clear. Not a cloud were to be spotted on the sky. It had opened up like a mind set free. But that mind would not have been Crystal’s mother; Crystal’s lonely mother; childless mother. For this day she felt anger. She felt a heat rise within her, starting from her stomach, reaching her heart, and finally reaching her mind and dripping out her soul.
She imagined it being the tumbling heartbeat of Crystal, even though she knew it could not. Or could it? Could it? She let the thought rumble in her head together with the heat and the beat; increasing the heat she felt rumbling, the burning anger she felt towards the contents of her stomach. Despite there being nothing to feel anger against.
After so many days, after so many months, she felt the heat evaporate her tears; making them unable to push through her closed eyelids. Instead they rose to the top of her head. And at the top of her head, they made her mind boil, increasing the heat but more.
She walked across the road, away from the house, to the river that yesterday had flown like her tears had done in bed last night when Crystal, just in time, had tried to push out of her body, but had gone silent. Her heartbeat too. All in but a dream.
The road’s small rocks danced around her feet when she walked across the road. The heat from the clear sky, the sun shining down, made them float upon the gravel road, wave at her somehow. Behind her, her and her husband’s house rose into the sky. Not far, only but two meters. Its roof cracked and its walls the same.
She would not look back. Not again.
Instead she looked before her. There she saw the lake, not yet seeing the river flow into it for it was hidden behind a wall of the greenest-taunting grass standing between her and it with its arms proudly at its sides. But as soon as she passed through that, the river came into view, and she froze. She felt the heat she had just felt stepping over the road disappear, freeze to a cold silence; without any tears, and merely sink into the ground in the same way the water had sunk into the sandy and dusty floor of the lake. It was dry. The lake was dried.
She looked further up were the river had flowed into it. It was dry. Were it used to be sent out crashing at rocks and sand. It was as if the sky, without clouds, had taken the water as a replacement; tauntingly supplementing it.
Crystal’s mother laid her hand upon her stomach and imagined filling first the river and then the lake with the contains she wished to come out of her.
She looked down at the dry abyss, walked closer, closer, closer.
And, disregarding its dryness, let her feet tumble beyond its edge into its abyss where felt a last gasp of dust and dirt and sand as she imagined a voice breathe out; ”Mommy, I’m here.”