Her new name tasted different by daylight.
This was what it felt like to feel the rain again, for the first time, wet rivulets splashing against her face and the river. This was the feeling of a map being drawn by mist and carved from aged wood, the same way your eyes seem to burst the world into life after dreaming, as every single day itself seems newborn.
We could pretend that this was a new story, something of a sort that has never bloomed before. But all stories have their roots in a somewhere else, in buried seeds that drip their way into the earth and the past. It is neither the first time it has been told, nor the last time it will be given a new gloss and fresh attire.
So let us not pretend, let us follow, watch from somewhere on the shore as she steers her small craft toward freedom. Look how, for a moment, before we lift the haze, we are offering her many choices, a stream without end and the promise of endless water.
These were her fears:
That she would be caught before her voyage ended (because our past is always catching up with us, just as you turn your head towards shadows)
That she would lose sight of herself and not recognise who she had become (because these things are possible in life, but more so here, where different rules apply and we are always divisible into our unseen selves)
That the river would end, and she would be left behind (because even though the territory exists, we have not yet reached it, not knowing how tomorrow will unfold its unspoken hours)
There were hopes, too:
That the river would bring her back to where she was going (she had once heard it said that if you waited long enough, you would one day embrace air your ancestors had sighed, and sharing the taste of their past, you would feel their truth and lies together)
That there would be no end (one tranquil afternoon, before she was old enough to detach the days into their calendar parts, she remembers running and falling through fields of dandelions, once or never or always, with her mother beside her. Those pollen days, before she had seen cruelty and known suffering, she wishes might have lasted forever. What would be their echo now? )
That the light would hold its spell (there being no name for the god who tints the day its proper colour and hues the sky, she knew not where to direct her prayers, but wished she knew. There were many things she wished, but wished too that unmet days would offer up new answers, these being among their promises)
Of course, we know that the moon should come into shape tonight, a glorious onion that peels itself blind, turning its radiant back on us while basking in its purloined light. And like a kind thief, or one dripping coins from its stash as it flees the scene of quiet misdeeds, it will offer a little of its heist. When her breaths become pronounced, and there is ocean light, discovering that she has entered open waters, she might look upon the golden canals and silver channels. Has she become accomplice to these kind misdeeds? Might she gather up these flickering treasures and keep them for herself, much as they have fallen loose upon the floating earth?
Even if and when the hours take her from where they have kept her until now, she will find her course firmly held in place. At a distance, we might remove a pin from a small wooden box, and mark her location on the territory, imagining that we are seeding some tomorrow on paper, fixing a point for a return.
And beneath the unimpeachable neon, calling her back to life again, we imagine her reaching down into the field, gathering up pollen grains beneath robed wings and coating the land in dust.
Try to hold the name in your throat, before the wind shifts, before the moon pirouettes, before the tide sings itself back out.
She turns again, looking.
Tomorrow, she will try on a new name.