Friday, 22 July 2016

The Other Side Of The River


Photo by Nick Manning

          

The Other Side Of The River by Jenny Brigalow

The rain had gone.  Anita Patel observed the wide expanse of water that sparkled and rippled beneath a clear blue sky. Water lapped and frolicked on the muddy river bank as it raced to the sea. She breathed in the freshly laundered scent of the world. Drops of water glistened like jewels, shivered and dived from the blue canvas roof of her tent. She smiled and dug around in a canvas bag with fingers sculpted by arthritis. The biscuit tin rattled as she drew it out.
A small shadow fell.  Anita looked at her visitor. Without a word she held out the tin. Little Joanne put in a grubby hand and took two bits of pale, crumbly shortbread. The child stuffed one piece in her mouth and disappeared. Far away to the west, thunder growled.    
                                                          ***                                  
Samantha Thornton lifted an earring in each hand. The pearls were tempting. They screamed "culture". But the diamonds shouted "success". Tricky. In the end she opted for diamonds.  She leant in close to the mirror that dominated one wall of her dressing room.  Then, earrings swinging like chandeliers, she slipped on her shoes and went to her bedroom. A shaft of sunlight blinded her and she rushed to smother it. As the drape swished shut she glanced across the river and her pretty, painted lips tightened.
But time pressed on. She grabbed her clutch and keys, clip-clopped out onto the deck and sped down to the garage. The Mercedes engine roared into life, the automatic door opened and she was away. As the wheels ate up the bitumen she made a mental note to contact her local MP. She hadn't paid four million for a riverside mansion with a view of scabrous tents and the great unwashed. It was an outrage.
                                                        ***             
In the deep of the night raindrops drummed on the tent roof and ran in a rivulet through one corner. But Anita was unperturbed. She listened to the frog's love sick calls and remembered. John had walked all the way to the farm in their courting days, come rain or shine. She had been young then. Now she was old. All she had now was the river. Until they moved her on.
                                                        ***               

Wet, weary but well pleased, Samantha shut the door and headed for bed. She was glad she'd worn the diamonds. She had been in sparkling form. The deal was practically done. 
                                                        ***              
Hour after hour the rain fell in silver sheets and lightening cracked apart a pregnant sky. The river rose. Water fretted at the jetties and clawed greedily at the soil. To the west a dam shuddered into surrender. A tsunami tore through a valley and finally met the swollen waterway.  Like a surgical scalpel the raging river sliced through the land.  Mansions swirled and shattered. Small tents sagged and were swallowed. It was all the same to the river. It was all one land. 
                                                        ***             
Silent and serene in their grave, Anita and Samantha were drawn irrevocably toward the sea. 

Photo by Nick Manning


5 comments:

  1. The rich and poor
    Went hand in hand
    Mother Nature sweep
    Them from her land

    The filthy rich
    The homeless poor
    Will stand together
    At deaths door

    Which will get
    The skyline view
    And who will get
    The burning hue

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  2. A sad slice of life illustrating Mother Nature's power over the petty foibles of man (or woman). All else disappears, at least for a time.

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    Replies
    1. Forgot to say I enjoyed this, well written and I didn't expect the ending. . . I expected the women to meet.

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    2. Hi D.G. Hudson, thank you so much for your feedback. When I started the story I expected them to meet too. Just goes to show that the words have a will of their own!

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