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Submitted on
September 28, 2013
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last fall i stole my friend down by the tama river. we sang. we danced. we skipped dead fish like rocks and watched them get swallowed by the undertow. we got sick off of bad chinese food and went skinny-dipping and then a week later she drowned herself.

her uncle was a yakuza, i think, but he really just wanted to be al pacino or something. anyway, she loved him a lot. maybe that’s why she went down the way she went down; cement shoes. not real cement, but it was the same idea. she had two cloth bags with yellow-painted cinderblocks inside, and they were tied to her ankles like the prisoners’ chains from o brother where art thou.

in my mind’s eye i can see her, limping dreadfully close to the edge of the current, her left hand gripping at her breasts through a loose t-shirt. kneeling by the wastelands, elbows in the gravel, crawling forward out into the water. angry like a dermis under wool, all teeth and salt and sand. sleepy, submissive, sublimated.

and then just sinking. just like that.

i’d gotten a text from her asking me to meet her down by the river again. she said i was the only one she could trust. she said she was crossing over the sanzu. i thought to myself she’s not even buddhist, and then i clutched at my phone and ran. i don’t remember getting on and off the train, or texting her back are you drunk? and stay where you are.

the water wasn’t deep. it was only about ten feet or so. there were three heavy lines in the dirt from where she’d dragged her feet and head—there must have been an easier way for her to die. less meaningful, more mangled. i wish she hadn’t put herself through the trouble. i wish i wish i wish a lot of things.

i followed the lines down into the river. i called out her name. i ducked downward—the water was fucking freezing. but i felt something, soft like an underbelly beneath my foot, and it crawled its whole self all up into my gut like a hookworm. i jerked northward, the sting of water in my throat and in my eyes. i floated on the surface there, coughing and hacking, and then drilled my body right back under.

the rest of me was up there on the waterline though. still floating.

her body was heavy, and her right foot was tangled in thick riverweeds. i couldn’t pull her out, i could barely even see, but by this point i knew it was her. i knew. who else could it be? i panicked, crawled back to shore, threw up a couple of times, and called 119. while i waited, i kept on thinking to myself she’s still under, she’s still under. i sat out on the rocks by the river, my clothes soaking wet, and i think i could’ve fallen asleep there, far below the center of the sun, if the sirens hadn’t knuckled down and corkscrewed me out of it.

it wasn’t difficult for them to get her out. it made me feel kind of jealous, honestly—they called my parents, tried to send me home, but i’d wanted to see the body. her limbs were small, knotted, and very very quiet. her eye sockets hunched forward and shut, her mouth a plane of land. it’s all so vivid a memory, and yet i can really only recall two things with great certainty:

when they found her, she was sleeping with the fishes.

when they found her, her hair was in her eyes.
death is not a metaphor; death is not a meaning.

(or: your body can speak if you've got nothing to say).

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Daily Deviation

Given 2013-12-07
Magnius159 Dec 7, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Very nice to see this get DD :)
Taschasan Dec 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
That was a really excellent piece, truly wonderful.

(The only thing I don't understand is the second part of the last line: "her hair was in her eyes." What does it mean?)
MindlessThinker Dec 7, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
i think that what it 'means' is open to interpretation. i'm not one of those people who makes a conscious effort to make my writing 'deep' or anything. i just write what comes to mind and it's pretty stream of consciousness tbh. 

admittedly i think there's a lot more to the last line than what shows on the surface, but think of it this way; instead of asking 'what does it mean', read it and let it resonate with you until it means something to you. who gives a shit what it means to me; i'm just the writer. you're the lens.

but if you're curious, i'll tell you how i think of it: when your hair hangs in your eyes, usually your vision is obscured. you're not seeing the whole picture. there's bars and gaps and pieces of things where that picture should be, and you're brain tries to put those pieces together to form something coherent but most of the time its nothing like what's really in front of you.

take that as you will.
er49563 Dec 7, 2013  Student General Artist
I like you.  That is all.  xD
MindlessThinker Dec 7, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Taschasan Dec 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Ah, OK, thank you very much for the explanation. (It should have come to my mind, since especially in German one even says "die Haare in den Augen haben", instead of "in front of"...)
This strikes a chord inside me. Maybe it is because my turbulent past, dealing with the depression that still haunts me.....such strong words, such wonderful writing.... This was a most definitely well-earned DD. I will be favoriting this, and hopefully more will read it and have it strike them too.
Love that ease of flow in the first paragraph leading to her drowning! What a graceful punch to the feels
MindlessThinker Dec 7, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
'a graceful punch to the feels'

i'm cataloguing that as a witness testimony to my general personhood.
lintu47 Dec 7, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Congrats on the DD! :dalove:
Have a nice day! :heart:
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