Lit Mag Short Fiction

The Water’s Worth

“When the well is dry, we know the worth of water.”  While I understood this saying, I never truly grasped how it felt to be bathing in a pool of glass-like water one day, and the next day, enduring a desert-dry throat and sandpaper tongue, yearning for just a drop of one’s past splendor.


Truly, that is how I feel now. The world before me is a smudge of color; objects are recognizable only from memory. Words in a book seem like centipedes wriggling across the page. The leaves on the trees are nothing but a smattering of green. Each individual leaf smudges together to form a single alien shape. The hands of the clock in the living room have faded into nothingness, and the time of day is accessible only by verbal communication.


It was just a week ago when the world was in sharp clarity. Each object had sharp, clean angles, and I could identify every little blemish and texture. I could distinguish every single leaf on a tree and recognize the squirrel creeping up the lawn. I could note the two birds perched on the perfectly in-focus branch and identify them as robins.


But now, I can see no birds, let alone tell what species they are. Everything is hazy, as if a fog has descended over the world. I rub my eyes, put a fan near them, and wash them, but the mist stays. No matter what I do, I will never feel the crystal clarity of the past.

For just a moment, I put on my mother’s glasses. Everything sharpened and became dizzyingly perfect. Even colors became more vibrant, and the world felt so fresh, so new, so lively. But as I slipped the glasses off, the splendid hues, clean panes, and intricate details of the room faded to dullness, and the all too familiar fog descended once again.

The fleeting taste of water deepened my yearning rather than quenching it. I peer into the empty well. I know that soon the long drought will end, but I too understand that there is nothing stopping its return in the future.


So when these barren, desert lands of death and suffering eventually return to their lush, ardent hills of splendor and majesty, I must cherish each moment. My well has run dry, and indeed, I have discovered the worth of water.

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