Of Prophets and Rivers

I sat with an old man on a weathered bench near the bank of a section of river most don’t come to anymore. He welcomed me without pause and offered an apple from his pocket. I wasn’t hungry but took the apple anyway. It is not often we are offered something of value so I deemed it unwise to turn it down. He said it came from a tree in the backyard of a house he once knew. I questioned how he came about it and he laughed and said some fences will never be high enough, some walls built to crumble.

I liked this man, instantly, his cryptic way of speaking made me smile. In his words, I felt something I had thought a forgotten part of me. We relate in a way not often found, for I once too knew of a house. A house where love blossomed and hope grew like wildfire, spreading from room to room. But then one day I realized it was gone, taken as if by a thief in the night. No, that’s not true, I had given it away, let it go. There is no one to blame, it happens, so often, so easily. The man asked if I was a prophet, if I was here to offer him some words which may lead him to somewhere again. I told him no, I was wondering the same about him. I guess we’re both out of luck. We’re not the first to sit on this bench, he reminded me and more will come. It’s places like these which bring about change. I nod in false understanding, as I really don’t know what he’s talking about, although I wish I did.

He stood to leave, bid me well and reminded me, he’ll see me again. For years converge and pass by, like the confluence before us, but never as indifferent as we think. I thank him again for the apple and he tells me no need because he didn’t give me anything that didn’t already belong to me. I take a bite of the apple, it’s both sour and sweet at the same time.

I think, perhaps, it is possible we are all prophets when someone is willing to listen.

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Originally published at Spillwords

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