A Murmuration of Starlings


They dipped their feet into the cool water gingerly, cautiously, rope-being-loweredly. This was new. Shyness prevailed; two lonely souls became the point of origin, diffusing in eddying whirls around them before breaking barriers of time and reality—whispering, “This is present no more.” And it wasn’t.


Lowering their bodies into another body of water more fluid than their own, their fears seemed to seep like tea to the bottom of the river before being carried away. They were treading into the unknown now. Currents carried where they will here. The couple held hands tentatively under the water, as if they weren’t ready for the world to see the tiny fist they created—these fists weren’t yet ready to shake in defiance at the world. For now the fish alone would see those fingers laced in camaraderie.


And then they talked about things. Conversations pulled/pooled. Two separate realities were co-existing for a moment in time, under the blatant pure beating of the sun. Every-day did not exist here. Fears were forgotten like childhood memories. Under the water, under this clear blue sky, was no place for the head—“This is summer, summer! the heart says, and not even the full of it!” as their hearts beat the words of William Carlos Williams like a lover’s song.


They talked about escapism. Life had been building up a coffin around each of them and they hadn’t even noticed until they were about 6 feet from the bottom. You could see it on their faces like little starlings—they hungered for life. They were the sort, if you caught them looking longingly at the horizon, their eyes would be mirroring their hearts; fluttering like the little wings of a paper bird. And, as if by some divine providence, a train came into their vantage point. It stopped. A real-life metaphor for escapism.


Their grip tightened under the water. Here was their chance. Life did not deal in subtleties as people often did. They wanted to escape. They could escape. They could hop a train to anywhere. They could yell, “Fuck you, responsibility! Fuck people and their projections of who and what we are. We are freeeeee!” And the wind would carry it call away. No legacy. No nostalgia; just current moments rushing from present to past like a train without a track and miles and miles of space for the heart to flutter across—diffusing life into everything and digging nails out of graves.


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