The absence of the river was of no importance, unlike the wound festering in the absence beside me.
In the years before the sky weighed heavily on my head, I used to peer at the river from the dilapidated terrace that stood as testimony to seasons and the people that fluttered through as rapidly as time. The river was a distant, solitary blue vein contaminated with green and little boats disrupted its tranquillity. I thought of it as water – the faces beneath sprawling hats called it their itinerary. It was as predictable as their lives. They never sought what lay beyond.
One day it faded, changing geography and culture with its disappearance. The villagers despaired, reluctant to explore a land without water. I could have told them there was water elsewhere – I had completed my voyages on water, and land was a necessary transition to the mind of a restless wanderer. Their faces shrivelled; their hands gnarled and stiff, until only their eyes remained, trickling tears to entice the river into existence once again.