The Rushing of Water
My last ex-lover wore goggles around the house to conceal and carry her tears. She used an eyedropper to casually put them in my food and drink when I wasn’t paying attention. She wanted me to taste her pain.
Her theatrics escalated until we ceased to exist as a thing. I’m sure we were indeed a thing, an item, something I could have discussed with my friends.
This was Nami.
She did odd things, wore odd things. Nami was a model. Sure, she was attractive, but this wasn’t the reason I dated her. It was her weird behavior I appreciated the most. That, and the strong cocktails she made.
I considered the goggles a project of some sort. They were snug on the lean structure of her face, sitting high on her cheekbones, the single lens magnifying her eyes. If I looked past the silliness of the goggles, the stare behind them had a certain clairvoyance. I felt her eyes saying everything was okay over and over again.
Growing up, I was not afraid of water. Dove in headfirst. Held my breath. My goal was to touch the bottom of whatever body I was in, to comb my fingers against the drain of the pool, to squeeze the silt from my uncle’s pond between my toes, to feel the granules of the ocean floor.
But Nami’s eyes were unlike any water I had ever encountered. Her head was full of endless disturbances and crashing waves.
“I’m sorry. I wasn’t listening,” Nami said.
She referred to these moments as rushing. I never bothered to ask many questions. For a while, I could handle the waves. I chalked it up as another odd thing she did.
“When did this all start?” I said.
“Water is a never ending source.” Her eyes were aquariums without life.
“I have something to confess. I’ve always been composed of water. I mean, we all are. You know this, but the torrents have gained in strength since we started seeing one another. And I feel it growing.” Her voice was more nasal than usual. This was due to the waterproof seal of the goggles.
“Are those too tight for your face?”
“I’m okay, I’m okay,” she said, and made a slight adjustment to the frames and breathed out through her mouth.
At first, Nami only wore the goggles during sex. Then she started sporting them around the house. When sleeping. When cooking or making drinks. When watching television.
“Can you even see through those?”
“It’s like a dream. There is some clarity,” Nami said.
I came home one day to slip’n slides all over the house, water everywhere, and Nami slithering on her belly as I walked into the front room.
At first I thought this was possibly a photo shoot, that other models, dressed mermaid-like and goggled-faced, were just in another room getting ready, that this was completely normal.
But the house was silent with the exception of the rushing of water.
“Welcome to our ocean, dear. Wallow with me.” And without waiting for a response, she raised her upper body and legs, turned 180 degrees on her belly, and pushed herself back toward the kitchen.
The water was at my ankles. At the time, my footing was stable, but I felt I could drift away at any moment. Nami’s constant circling had created a rather strong whirlpool. I stretched out my arms inside the front door to reinforce my stance. Nami kept going round and round, faster and faster.
“I built this because of you. This is yours just as much mine. You helped construct this new body.” Nami no longer sported the goggles, and her voice was now lucid. “I could no longer contain it. Why hide it in your drinks anymore? Please, come with me.”
“Nami, shouldn’t we turn off the water? Perhaps clean up?”
“I cannot turn it off. This was you in my head.”
The water was deep enough for Nami to put her head completely under. She no longer needed the slip’n slides. Nami kicked harder and harder and kept going in hurried revolutions. The whirlpool’s cone gained in depth. As the water level rose, I lost grip of the doorframe. I swam frantically against the current and scanned the surface for her goggles. But it was too late. The rushing of water was the last thing I heard before I opened my mouth and tasted her one last time.
About the Author: Rob Parrish is an MA student at Mount Mary University with an emphasis in creative writing. He lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with his dog, Coltrane. They both enjoy naps and room temperature water.