Thursday, December 21, 2017

Imagining myself crossing right through his ghost

Having won this decisive victory over the children of Ammon I turn to cross the Jordan river back into our own territory. This is an especially cold, rainy winter day. The sun has been coming close to breaking through the clouds—only to withdraw again. By noon it grows into a steadier shine, but still, gives no warmth. Despite being wrapped in an additional woolen mantel I find myself shivering as I stand there, on the bridge, over the gushing stream. For a moment I reflect on all the soldiers that passed this bridge on their way to the Eastern hills, all the lives lost.
Frothy gray water—dappled with sunlight here and there—is swaying over the river bed, attacking its banks with a sudden burst. The only surface where the stream is completely smooth is right down there, under me. I cast my eyes over it and in a blink I think I catch a reflection. Rising from the deep, there he is: my trusty soldier, Uriah, reaching his willowy arms for me. 
Startled I step back. So does he, sinking down deeper. I hop over the bridge and with a swift splash I wade into the water, imagining myself crossing right through his ghost. Perhaps there is a touch, a light touch between us. Or else it is a caress, the slimy caress of underwater plants, wrapping themselves over my limbs.
Dripping wet I mount my horse and ride on.

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