What can you do when you’re lost, when you’re desperate to be found even while you’re certain no one is looking for you? Perhaps everyone has forgotten you were ever even there.
Here I am, lost and afraid, wandering a vast desert of dry, cracked earth with no hope in sight from horizon to horizon—to horizon and beyond. I hear snippets around me, transient conversations, fits of laughter, inane chatter about nothing at all, so close and so unreachable. I am apart from everything, a part of nothing.
Sometimes I think I can see traces of a river ahead. It beckons me. I can already taste the cool water. I can hear it too, like the tinkle of a soft bell singing sweetly in my ear.
Come closer! It sings. Come to me, you poor, drifting soul.
Drifting. Yes, I am drifting, drawn away by the very winds of fate I had once cherished, I had once believed would never lead me astray. And yet that’s just what they’ve done, luring me here to this empty place, this maddening pace, this … exile.
The river ripples…
…And is gone yet again. It is a tortuous, teasing temptress that seeks to break me. But how can it, when I am already broken?
Help me! I cry out in the rasp of a whisper that had once been a voice.
I fall to my knees.
A hot breeze, the breath of embers brushes my cheek as though to wipe a tear despite the dead riverbed my eyes have become.
The voices return, familiar and haunting. They laugh as I weep. They live as I die, all for want of them.
Help me, I cry again, without words.
I close my eyes, lashes falling like brush over the riverbed until I can almost believe it was never even there.