Relaxed Reads: Swallowed



Shelby Driver

Editor’s Note: Each week, KSUBuzz will feature a fiction or poetry piece.

Once she swallowed a lake with her eyes. The lake water filtered out her blood and made it green. She let the pebbles grind down her bones until her skin stretched like a bladder, a hot water bottle to rest on the feverish earth. Sea grass grows from inside; her newfound nervous system. The fish speak for her now, they tell me they needed her and she, them. Her spirit was just too fragile and they were in need of a vessel. Her body, the vessel. She will carry them to the other side. 

I don’t know why she did it, but I know she loved the water. It was so clear, she would stand in the shallows and watch until her feet sank into the sand. Her face never made a reflection, the cold water would stare blankly back up at her. Little waves lapped at her knees, begging her to venture further in. She was mesmerized by the smooth rocks, fixated on them as they came together and made a path for her, taking her out to the depths. I would scream at her from the shore, wanting her and wailing for her to turn back. The rusty mausoleum of forsaken motor boats and fishing poles were her deadly playground. But she wasn’t scared. She was home. 

One day I finally did what she-and the fish-wanted, and drove her out to the Atlantic. I walked her out across the vacant beach in the middle of October. She gave me a nod, lake water spilling from her eyes and mouth. “Goodbye, my friend” I said, and a chorus of happy farewells rumbled from within her. I watched her walk out into the tide, her bare feet firm against the crashing waves. Toward the horizon she walked until her head disappeared beneath the murky water. The sea welcomed her with open arms, the fish swimming alongside their freshwater relatives within her. She was their vessel, making peace with land and sea. 

I’ll never understand why she did it.

Contact Shelby Driver at [email protected].