Like Water

A boy and a girl travel cross-country to one another, trying to decide whether to run away from their family and religion to marry.

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3. TAXI

“You should have seen her, man. Whatever you can imagine in your head; well, it’s not enough. She has eyes like motel pools before night. Not the gross ones, with all the rats and rubbish. The clean, turquoise kind. Yeah, like that. Her skin was this perfect caramel wedged between chocolate. And her… You get the picture. I was so hooked, I didn’t know what hit me. But all I could think about was not just how atheistically pretty she was; I mean you could tell in a look she was ten layers deep beautiful. I bet her organs are perfect and pink. I bet her heart is shaped like a Valentine’s Day card. I mean, I’m getting sick just thinking about her.” The driver noticed for the first time in the whole journey, the boy was totally still. Now he was calming slightly, he could tell his voice was naturally deep, and he had to be at least twenty two.

The boy had said he’d seen her at a coffee shop. Then, as luck would have had it, a job vacancy had turned up within the month. He said he would never in his life try so hard for a job as he did for that small shop.

Twenty two years old… That was nothing. The boy still had the ends of the Earth to reach. It was like he was still under the impression if he went any further in life, he’d topple right over a flat edge. By now they were getting into the grit of the traffic; the cars were like gambling machines. Stuck in obnoxious colours, but the minute the lights said “go!” they sped off like they were twirling in the machinery.

“What’s her name?” The taxi driver said, had having almost forgotten his own voice. Dazed, the boy took a minute to reply. 

“I was just getting to that.” He wasn’t, it had taken him twenty blocks to get to seeing her the               first time. “Her name’s Vidhi. She’s the goddess of destiny. The name meaning, not my Vidhi…” My Vidhi. Ezra smiled at the idea of placing the sly ‘my’ before her name. He toyed with the ring of his own, through his pocket, thinking about how much it would make a dent as time went on. Tan marks, sagging skin morphing around it. He wasn’t scared by the idea, for a minute, but slightly amused. 

“My name’s Ezra, anyway.” The boy said finally, and the taxi driver found it weird that he wasn’t just this temporary character that came alive in his taxi, but a real person.

Just then, Ezra realised something. In all his life, with his five brothers and large family and larger community and schools and summer camps filled with children like him, he had only ever thought with a we, instead of an I. It made sense, of course, that’s what the Jewish prayer book.              said. Everything was about them as a whole, what they could together. But now he thought of Vidhi again, and her pool-eyes and raven hair and her bracelets dangling on her soft, smooth skin. She had looked so radical, like the breaking sun, because it was the first time he’d used the word mine. It was the first time he’d really thought for himself.

When he’d met her, he didn’t think about what might break them, and that it was worth whatever he had to shatter to kiss her skin or tell her that he had spent his life looking at faith and only now felt like he’d joined a one man cult of worshipping her. It was nearly as bad as witchcraft, but at least then he could brew a potion to feel the same. It turned out, he didn't need the magic after all. 

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