the river who was a dragon who was a boy
she doesn't wish to die. but the water is slipping past her lips, filling up her stomach and maybe her lungs. her little limbs are strong enough to fight the current.
- a mythical creature. sleek scales and soft silk-floss hair, something between fur and feathers. a white dragon. (a protector?) silver stones at the bottom of a river. pearls.
and then there is lightness and warm air. she chokes and sputters out dark river water that had been making her feel heavy. "don't be afraid," a voice, like feathers and cotton, tickles her ear.
the lonely maiden
she sits by the side of a river that never spoke to her. she reads folklore about dragons (that are colorful and cruel, she never finds any myth about ones pale and sweetly sad.)
but they are never pale or sweetly sad.) she lets her toes touch the water.
"talk to me." she commands the waters, but they do not speak. they do not have a soul, they are not a boy.
she studies and behaves. fortune favored the wise, not teenage tarts. she needed all of the help from fate she could get. so she stays put, honors her parents and takes out the trash. but she wants to take a train ride, she wants to run away.
the teenage wolves
with those girls from school, the pretty ones who giggle perpetually and toss their shiny hair. waiting in line for the bus - "chihiro, have you kissed a boy yet?" giggle, giggle.
they don't believe her. they are obsessed with comparing one another, of being identical. they have kissed plenty of boys, so chihiro must have too! they point out the pinkness of her cheeks and use it as evidence.
"was it that boy from before you moved here, what was his name - hiro?" they are vultures, utterly beside themselves with pecking at a bit of gossip. a while back she made the mistake of mentioning a boy she used to know. a very special boy, though she kept that bit of information to herself.
"haku." she corrects, tasting the name in her mouth. the one she hasn't spoken in so long.
they titter and playfully poke at her. saying, "yeah, that's it! so did you kiss him?"
the same as always, dipping her toes in the river that doesn't speak to her. scribbling on the margins of her notepad as she tries to figure out math equations. this is your life, she reminds herself, get your head out of the clouds. she sounds like her mother, like her father, her teachers, her friends.
on the opposite side of the river is a person. she doesn't look at him well at first - just slightly glances at him through her eyelashes so as not to stare, as people often do towards strangers. but she can tell that he is a boy, youngish. a teenager.
she goes back to her homework.
but then he keeps staring.
she almost becomes frightened for a moment, she remembers what her mother says to do if you think a man is following you. but then stubborn bravery gets the better of her, and she looks straight at him.
he is a few years older than her. with green eyes and dark hair longer than what is considered average today. he smiles very slightly at her when he sees that she is looking at him.
it takes her a moment to realize. first she thinks "I know you," and then she says "oh!" and then she starts to laugh, and then starts to cry and stands up on shaking legs. the boy rushes through the shallow river that separates them.
the crinkle of her smile make salty tears spill down her face. "I know you." she repeats to the boy, the dragon.