The Other Side of Sadness, part 3

Wasula couldn't remember how she came to be living in a mustard tent in a ravine, tucked discreetly behind the sad and festive roadside memorial. But she didn't even think on it. She carried out each day precisely the same as the one before, and never gave a care to the concern of monotony or redundancy. Her life was breathtaking and simple. She was in the company of friends. And she had her pick of three tails, she could wear any of them at any given moment, and she delighted in the whimsy of it. Though, as truth would show, the whimsy stopped just after the fact that she had three tails to choose from, because in her happy habits, she always wore them in precisely the same order, to the minute, day after day.

Today she slipped out of the tent and wobbled up to a full stretch, teetering on her mossy legs as they acclimated to the soft morning soil beneath her. She wiggled her toes as they awoke. She raised her arms up high above her tangled head on an inbreath, and then soared back down, nose to knees, fingertips to toes, on her outbreath. She felt her spine come unlocked. Her jaw unhinged. Her ears popped. Then she flew her arms once more above her and rose all the way up on to her tippy toes. She let out a high-pitched squeal, like a piglet scared and darting away from a farmer's hands, and then collapsed her arms to her supple sides. She rested her palms on her waistline and hinged herself from side to side, squeezing out every last chill from her belly on up her spine. She tossed her head back quickly, releasing the last of the sleepy energy. Then she strode over to the patina'd mirror where her three tails lay waiting, like hens snuggled into their nests. Wasula eyed them carefully. Her instinct told her which she should grab, but still, she hesitated, as she did every early morning, toying with the idea that perhaps today she'd choose one of the others. But facts are facts and habits are necessary, and so she grabbed the tail with the baubles and the trinkets, flipped it over her shoulder, and headed to the creek.

It wasn't so much a creek as a memory of a creek. The only water that rushed through was runoff from the light snowfall that would accumulate at 500ft. Or after a heavy rain as it rushed down the hill. And still, with a confident swagger Wasula carried herself on her mossy legs to a shady patch of river rock. She sat. She picked a twig out from between her toes. She smoothed the mossy fuzz on her shins that had gathered dew from the early air. Then she grabbed the silver tail from across her shoulder, poked her toes inside, and wiggled her lower half in to its snug and fishy embrace. She pushed her fingers across her forehead, clearing the matted tangles from her view. Then she braced her arms into the ground on either side of her, lifted her backside off the ground, gave her fluke a loud smack against the river rock, and then slid herself in to the creek, the creek without any water. The rocks and pebbles slid around her, fluid and liquid, and as her body sank down into the depths of the ravine's underbelly, they closed once again over the spot where she had just been sitting only seconds before.

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