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It is impossible to tell which features of the river were made by nature and which

were made by us, who are also nature. When I felt I’d floated long enough, I held onto a

branch, strategically positioned by nature or by us, to snag myself, and waited for you to

round the bend. You didn’t and then you still didn’t. Either they caught you and they

dragged you back out, or you drowned, or you decided not to follow me. You were in the

river or you were out, no way around that but impossible to tell which. Well, I thought, as

my arms tired, there’s nothing I can do about this current; it’s a rule enforced either by

nature or by us. I too am either in the river or I’m out. No matter how much I wanted to

see you, nature only gave itself the ability to see reflections, never what casts the



The sunset turned off and on like a lightbulb wired to a switch. That’s just how it

is in this part of the world at this time of year, a bystander commented—like we didn’t all

already know. I walked into the wine allotment store and tried to steal extra bottles by

placing them inside my jacket. They caught me at the register and I handed the extras

back, because of course: no one’s jacket is that big anymore. I walked through one of the

old castle courtyards, looking for the right stairs to climb, a safe place to drink the

allotted wine, no more no less, and wait the whole thing out. The pink of the sagging sun

was a bright, brilliant knife blade, flashing into black then back then black again. I

watched it as I waited, because what else could I do: there is no lightswitch to control

your own sight, except the eyelids, and even they can only shut out so much.

image: Carabella Sands