Reflection by Hugh Cron

It’s strange how a summer’s day can be unsettling. Especially amongst the shadows of the trees. The bird song is sweet but I don’t like it. The breeze is warm but it chills me and even though I am cold, I’m covered in sweat.

I reckon that I’ve been wandering for about an hour. I thought that it was me being lost that is unsettling but it’s not. I don’t like the body of water that I’m walking towards. It whispers to me. I try to ignore what I can’t hear. I want to get away from it but the whole area pushes me closer. My legs are so heavy. They only lighten when I walk towards it. I’m too tired. I relent and walk to the water’s edge and sit.

I now feel dread. My feelings have escalated without logic. My body is tired and even though I’m terrified I feel the ache in my legs subside. So now I have no pain, only fear.

I stand but the lead returns to my legs when I try to walk away from the water. I know it wants me but there’s no way that I’m going in. I’ll sit and wait.

It hasn’t got dark. I’m not sure whether or not I am happy about this. Maybe it’s just my perception of time that isn’t working but I don’t think so. I checked my watch when I heard the birds sing and it had stopped at 2.00pm. I don’t know if there is any significance of that time. I don’t really care, I would just like to get away.

I stand again and face the water. Maybe I can trick it by walking backwards. No. That hasn’t worked. I’m a yard closer to the edge. I have no option but to sit again.

The water is still whispering and I still can’t make out what it is saying. I concentrate but there is nothing, only pitch and tone and forgotten words.

I’ve been avoiding looking across it, but now seems as good a time as any. I need something more or less, just not the same.

It looks still although a very gentle ripple interrupts it every couple of minutes or so. It holds me.

I contemplate my own madness. Maybe I’m holding myself here. Maybe time hasn’t stood still and it is dark. I hope I’m mad but know I’m not.

I could try being vocal. But the more I think on it, the more I realise that the water will consider it rude. It’s talking so I can’t.

I could send it my thoughts. But that’s stupid. It knows what I’m thinking.

I’m sure I’ve been here for hours, maybe days. I don’t feel hunger or thirst. I’m not tired and the sun hasn’t burnt me. I feel well. I am scared but I’m well.

I listen again. I just wish I knew what it was saying. Then I’d know what it wants from me. And why is it making me feel well?

I look across it once more. There’s no change. I see the ripple. The birds are still singing their sweet unsettling song. I won’t move away. I am healthy. It still whispers.

When I’m not so scared I’ll learn to love it.

Hugh Cron

8 thoughts on “Reflection by Hugh Cron

  1. It’s really too bad that most of your talent is spent supporting the rest of us Cats With Thumbs on Sat. Your ethereal “…only pitch and tone and forgotten words…” sent me to M. Arnold…”with tremulous cadence slow, and bring the eternal note of sadness in…” And this piece reminds me of one of my long agos when I had gazed, dopesick, into the Puget Sound. Lovely work, which ends, as all things must, at the sea

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    • I have an admission, I had to look up ‘Puget Sound’. My geography humps the big one!!!
      It may still as I checked it on Wikipedia! I do think Salish Sea is quite onomatopoeic.
      Thanks so much for your kind words. It is an honour for me that you read my work!
      All the very best.
      Hugh

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    • Thanks Dave.
      There aren’t many of my stories that don’t have an adult content…I must be slipping.
      It’s great to see you around the site, it keeps it vibrant.
      All the very best my friend.
      Hugh

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  2. I believe this powerful little story is a dream that is reflecting the turmoil this man is experiencing. Fearing madness, he must decide between life and death. The dream has allowed him to face his fears and see them diminish, which gives him hope. I loved it, Hugh. I picture him waking up a new man with his watch still ticking. Coincidentally, I am presently reading a new bio of the marvelously mad poet Robert Lowell.

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    • Hi June,
      You are very close to what I was going for. In my mind, his fear of the water was due to him contemplating suicide, even though he wasn’t realising this. If he overcame that fear, he would do it.
      I wanted to play around with fear being the thing which would have saved him. Now whether he did overcome or not, well that was entirely up to the reader!
      Thanks for your very perceptive comment!
      It’s great to have a wee chat with you!!
      Hugh

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    • Thanks Bruce,
      Just like June’s observation you got what I was going for!
      I am honoured having you comment on one of my stories.
      All the very best my friend.
      Hugh

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