The Water Bearer

He gave my dubious response a dubious look, as if he might suddenly clam up; as if getting me to see this connection were vital. But he obviously wanted to tell his story.

“When you hurt a person deeply enough, even a very good person, sometimes that person will want to hurt you back,” he proceeded after a minute. “It’s just so with a place, even a very good place.

“I knew such a place once. It was a pool of water very much like that one over there,” he said, swiping his hand toward the dark little smudge that was the pond.

Then he opened up like some terrifying night-blooming flower.

And he told his story, scattering it like dark pollen, just as I have set it down here.


It was 1923, the height of Prohibition and bathtub gin, Irving Berlin and jazz.

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