A dream

A woman, waiting for a divorce hearing, finds herself on the banks of a quick little stream, very English, overhung by trees, with sun and shadow chasing each other along it, and a breeze, too, stirring the leaves and the water. She is walking in a meadow in long grasses, by this stream, wearing her engagement ring, which is a row of alternating blue and white stones, sapphires and moonstones. The clasps of the setting spring open and the stones of the ring fall and roll in the grass, blue and white stones rolling everywhere, tiny and glittering, more than the ring ever contained. She tries to gather them up: they slip like drops of water through her fingers and bounce, as tears bounce when wept with great force. The dreamer, who is not the woman now, “sees” the woman’s face with empty eyeholes like the empty sockets of the ring, and blue and white stony tears pouring down her cheeks. In the river, hidden under the bank, are “water-babies” wrapped like caddis-grubs in shreds of old leaves and broken snail shells, glued into a housing; they peer out, they hang in the current which rushes and bubbles past them but does not detach them. The tears and stones trickle into the river and melt like waterdrops on water. – from: A.S. Byatt – Babel Tower

 

 

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