an individual only

After drowning the flashcards, Yuki refused to abandon the living room fountain. She could be persuaded to leave to go to the bathroom and to get a quick sponge bath, all the while straining her slippery body to once more plunge her hands into the fountain.

Her hands searched endlessly over the impossibly steep vertical false rock cliffs of the fountain, stratching out the tiny plastic ferns that lined the crags. She drew her face across the small waterfall, dislodging the placid clay Chinese philosophers who had been leaning over a too-delicate bridge, their miniscule hands bringing pipes up close to, but never touching, their mouths. The clay philosophers crumbled in the base of the fountain, melting into the ceramic blue green glaze. Yuki kept rubbing her face against the rough surface until she had scratched off most of her skin.

Amy took her back into the bathroom and swathed her face in the largest band-aids she could find.

"Stay out of the fountain, great-grandmother, please. I'll make you new cards if that is what you want. Just please, stay out of the fountain. I don't want you hurt." Amy called over to Sophie, who came down from the windowsill long enough to translate this.

While Amy and Sophie were busy making new words, Yuki slipped out of their grasp and plunged her hand back into the waterfall--trying to reach the words she knew must be lurking in the depths, in the whirring hum of the fountain. The words slipped through her fingers as easily as the difference between air and water, nuzzling her hand like the gaping mouths of old koi, and then rushing off before she could feel them. Her hands twisted and grabbed for hours until she could feel the words trusting her again, slyly, shyly. She relaxed her hand until the words swam up through the fountain and rested in her fingers.

Slowly, she closed her grasp. She had them. They must be the words she wanted. They had to be. "I want some rice."

Amy and Sophie looked at each other, then back at the fountain.

Yuki repeated the words she had grasped. "I want some rice."

Sophie shrugged her shoulders and went to the kitchen to get a bowl.

Amy danced around the living room before hugging her great-grandmother tight. "You're back, you're back, I knew you wouldn't leave us!" she said into Yuki's bone shoulders.

Yuki repeated lovingly into Amy's hands, "I want some rice."

snow falls / thick in / urgent flurries / an individual only / from sky to ground / crystal edges / melt to / murky puddles

the word is / the sound / of water / dripping from/ ancient symbols / tiny particles / of merging / realities

Follow us all: Amy/Anna, Sophie/Yuki, Kit/Richard, minor characters or sift through water leavings and river journeys.