March 20, 2010 § 2 Comments
While I was backpacking in the UK this week (just came back), I listened to a lot of Laura Marling and ended up writing a short story version of the song “Alas I Cannot Swim” and the impossibilities of love.
I’m going to post here but it turned out to be a bit longer than expected (for a 2min song). Hope you guys out there like it (and sorry any spelling or grammar mistakes)
1: From the edge of the deep green sea
There was a boy. He lived by a very deep and dangerous river. The boy worked all day, helping his father to keep the crocodiles away from the sheep. He could never rest if his father was sick, because his father always did the night shifts and the boy did the day ones, while his father took care of the sheep.
The boy’s father never slept. He was always grumpy and sad. The boy thought his father was sad because his mother – the boy’s – had died giving birth to him – the boy -, but the father never said a word about that. In fact, the father never said a word about anything at all.
From dusk until dawn the boy would sit by the river with a gun. He sometimes would shoot a crocodile, but that didn’t happen very often and so his days were empty.
He wasn’t sad – the boy. He didn’t expect anything, because he didn’t know what to expect. His life was all that he knew and no one ever said that there was something else.
The boy lived day after day and night after night the same way. He used to get a chair and sit by the river and watch the other side of it. The other side was empty and it was an endless field of green grass and yellow flowers.
One day a man came and started to build a house by the other side of the river. He came everyday before the sun had came out and he would stay until after the boy had gone to sleep. When the man finished the house, he started to build a fence by the river, it was long and it had spikes pointed towards the water.
The boy noticed his father was worried. He – the father – glanced at the other side of the river and shook his head without ever saying a word.
The man didn’t come for 2 days. The boy was sad, because he liked the man because the man had golden hair and the boy also liked the house because it was blue with white windows and a red roof. However, the man came back. He came with a horse and a carriage. He took bags from the carriage and he opened the door and suddenly, without knowing why, the boy’s heart jumped weirdly. He held his breath and he saw the girl. She had a long golden hair like the man’s and a pale skin. The girl wore a green dress with tiny red spots that shined and glittered in the sun.
The girl stepped off the carriage and smiled. The boy, oh, the boy had never seen a smile before and just like that, he realized his life was incomplete and it would always be until he could put his arms around the girl. For the boy had fallen in love, even though he didn’t know that word or the meaning of it.
The boy’s father put his hand on his son’s shoulder and nodded towards the house. The boy didn’t want to go. He wanted to stay there and watch the girl while she walked around admiring the house. The grip on his shoulder hardened and he reluctantly went inside the house.
2: To wish impossible things
The boy felt weird. He felt desperate and anxious when he woke up. His heart was thundering and his stomach was as if someone had entangled it. He sat on his chair, with his gun and he kept staring at the house in the other side of the river.
He felt uneasy until the moment the door opened – and his breathing stopped – and he saw the girl. His arms relaxed and he could breathe again. The girl carried a bag of seeds and she dropped it on the floor next to the house. She looked up and across the river and she saw the boy.
The girl smiled. The boy blushed and looked down. She picked up a rock and she threw clumsily in the river. He looked up and she waved. He waved back slowly and she walked away to the field behind the house, carrying her bag of seeds.
Everyday the boy would wake up before dusk and he would sit and he would wait for the girl to leave the house and smile and wave and walk away. For a while that was enough to make him happy.
One day, she came closer to the fence and she picked up a yellow flower and touched it with her lips and threw it in the river. The boy saw the flower following the river’s flow and he ran. He ran as fast as he could because he knew the river turned right a little bit far away and he knew the flower would get stuck in the sand and he knew he wanted the flower. The flower did get stuck in the sand when the river turned right and the boy did pick up the flower.
He ran back to his chair and he showed proudly the flower in his hand. The girl laughed a loud laugh and clapped and the boy heard the most amazing sound he never knew existed until then. He held the flower and he decided to go to the other side of the river. He wanted to put the flower behind her ear, between her golden hair and her pale skin.
The crocodiles. The boy knew they were somewhere, just waiting for foolishness like a boy that would try to cross a river to get to the girl on the other side of the river.
The boy didn’t sleep that night or the next or any night for a week. He couldn’t eat and he didn’t want to eat either. His father never said a word.
The boy had an idea. He got up and he started to build a boat. He would build a boat to cross the river. So, he stayed all night and all day building it, while his father watched and shook his head.
The boy built the boat and he dragged it to the water, while the girl watched eagerly. And the boat sank, because the boy had never built a boat before. The second boat sank too, as did the third and the fourth. The boy grew older and taller and his black hair grew longer, his blue eyes became wiser and his arms became stronger. Nevertheless, he didn’t give up and the girl would send him a flower and a kiss everyday.
One day, the boat didn’t sink and the girl clapped and laughed. The boat floated and the boy slowly tested his weight on the top of it. He tried to move the boat to deeper waters and the boat sank with his weight. The boy ran back to the chair and he saw two eager reptile eyes staring at him from the water.
He worked for weeks and he tested more boats before one finally didn’t sink with his weight. The boy climbed on the boat and the river’s flow took him away from the girl. The boy built oars and tried again.
He crossed half of the river and he saw those eager reptile eyes moving under the boat and waiting. The eager reptile eyes hit the boat and the boat turned it and the boy fell in the water. The girl screamed and the boy tried to hold to the boat while the eager eyes kept coming closer. A gun was shot and the eager reptile eyes disappeared. The boy looked at the river’s margin and he saw his father holding his gun and smoke coming out of it. The father shook his head and spat on the ground.
The boy saw the movement of other eager reptile eyes coming in the distance and he saw his father holding the oar to reach it to him. He grabbed it and went back to his chair, but not before one of the eager reptile eyes had sank his teeth in the boys left foot. The father shot the crocodile and took the boy inside the house and the girl stared at the trail of blood left behind.
The boy fell ill. He had a fever and was in a constant delirium. The father sat by the river everyday, looking out for his sheep and staring at the girl.
The girl would sit by the fence and look at the boy’s house and look at his window and the boy would sit by his window and they would look at each other all day until the man with the golden hair would call the girl and she would go to the field behind the house.
Our story ends now. It ends one day that the boy was so sick he couldn’t sit up and even though he wanted more than anything to look at the girl, he couldn’t make his body to move. The girl cried for him and as she didn’t get an answer, because the boy didn’t have the strength to talk, she grew desperate.
The girl didn’t know what to do. Her heart was heavy and she couldn’t breathe. She felt faint and she started to think the boy didn’t like her anymore, that he had given up on going to the other side of the river. She cried when it came to her mind that he might be dead and that he had died and she hadn’t kissed him. And the girl was decided she couldn’t take it anymore.
The girl climbed the fence and she looked down and called for the boy. The boy wanted to see the girl, because he could hear the pain in her voice and he didn’t want to cause her pain, because he loved her. He slowly moved up, trying to sit down and look at her through the window and he did, he was in pain and he growled and screamed but he finally did.
He sat and he saw her on top of the fence and he smiled. The girl smiled too and her heart grew bigger inside her and she felt happy because the boy still loved her. The girl wanted to hug him and never let him disappear again. So, she jumped.
She jumped in the river and the eager reptile eyes started to come closer. The boy screamed and his father saw the girl with her golden hair and pale skin and he saw the pain in his son’s eyes and the father grabbed his gun and started shooting all the eager reptile eyes.
But they didn’t notice the girl was rapidly sinking, because alas, she couldn’t swim. She screamed and she sank and the boy saw her sink and there was nothing he could do about it. He cried and he cried for her, but she never answered back. He saw her golden hair being dragged by the river’s flow away from the house and away from his view.
That night, the boy cried. He cried and screamed and the father wept his tears. The father left the next morning and he left the sheep. The father left to go find the body of the girl, because he wanted his son to touch the girl at least once. So, the father kept walking by the river’s margin to try to find the girl that was now dead.
The father found the girl and he dragged her body on his old man’s backs and when he got home he saw the dead sheep and the eager reptile eyes swimming away and he went inside the house and he saw the boy. The boy didn’t move and the boy didn’t breathe. The boy had died and the father wept, holding the girl on his arms.