Thursday, November 23, 2006

Vignette: Getting Out of the Rain

It was always the rain.

Every drop seemed to contain a moment of his life – his first kiss, his first love, the first time he made love, his first kill, the first time he ceased to be seen – the first time he ceased to be remembered.

The first drops always started like that – all the firsts in his life. And as the drizzle turned into an honest-to-goodness shower, he would then see himself listening to the white skinned men and women teach the children to read and write; holding his long dead wife in his arms; helplessly watching the massacre of his tribesmen; walking unseen through the crowds in the malls; watching his father make fire from sticks; listening to his grandfather’s tales of legendary heroes and wonderful gods; sitting under the stars, roasting a boar he caught, centuries ago.

Like raindrops they would fall, and flash before his eyes - his memories - without order and arrangement, slowly and then in torrents; and then again, like the rain, they would fall to the ground, forgotten. So many moments, so many recollections of things past.

He stood there, drenched and muddy, in the middle of a rice paddy in the middle of nowhere, feeling the rain, watching the rain. Watching his life. And then forgetting.

What were those moments to him anyway? He had long since learned that no matter how vivid they seemed, memories were memories. Pictures of things long gone.

It was like knowing that his wife was warm – another memory flashed through his head, along with the cackle of weak thunder – but he could not remember how it really felt like. Even if, after all these hundreds of years, she were alive, her touch, much less her embrace, would be as alien to him as the feeling of being completely corporeal.

For the fist few decades he spent countless nights crying over images such as these, but he soon learned that those pictures in his head were simply pale reflections of his past life. Was the image of his father anywhere near like what he really was when he was alive? Before, he could have probably said; now was a different matter.

Another peal of thunder; the rain and the wind had gotten stronger.

How long had it been? Two, three hundred years? He had lost track of time somewhere; it didn't matter anymore. What difference would it make? He stared at his muddy trousers, trying to remember when and how he got them. There were no such things when he was alive, that much he was sure of, but where the hell did he get the trousers he had on?

More thunder, more rain, more memories. His mind seemed to mirror his physical state – solid with one thing, ethereal with the next.

For a while he wondered where he would go next once the rain had stopped. But then he saw his wife again, encased in a raindrop. She was smiling at him. He said her name just before her crystalline bead hit the ground.

He watched more of his life, and forgot.

His life. So like the rain.

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I never have staked a claim to being a writer; all these years, despite my privately harsh criticism of some who deem themselves artists of the literary sort (sentence construction and grammar lessons, people! argh.), I have always said, to those who would bother to listen, that I try to be a writer (the defenition of which I tend to separate from what I do for a living). There are too many things I need to learn first, more people to read, more criticisms to take.

So here I am, trying. Learning.

0 told me off: