Monday, October 18, 2021

Microstory 1736: River

For years, Po believed himself to be the only one of his kind in the entire world. He didn’t so much believe as it didn’t occur to him to question why that might be. He wandered the lands, enjoying the wilderness around him, and living in harmony with the other animals. He especially liked to live next to a particularly beautiful river. One day, he came across two tiny ground creatures. They were crouched next to each other, munching on the seeds all over the ground. This wasn’t the first time he had encountered these animals, or even the first time he saw two of them at once. For whatever reason, this time gave him pause. He knew that there was more than one tiny ground creature, and that there was more than one other kind of tiny ground creature. There were different flying creatures, and swimming creatures. Many of them looked alike. There seemed to only be one Po. How could that be? Why did everyone else have at least one other companion, but he had only himself? This was the first time he felt sadness, and loneliness. He didn’t care for it. He kept moving, and came across a pack of the large brownish ground creatures. No, not those large brownish ground creatures, but the other ones. There must have been a better way to distinguish them. Po had a name, why did none of the others? They probably did, but he didn’t know how to communicate with them, so there was no way to know who they really were. These...antelope, he thought he would call them, were about the same size as him. They weren’t exactly the same, but they were certainly closer than the medium-sized tree creatures, right? He wasn’t an antelope, but maybe he could start pretending that he was. He got down on all fours, and started trying to live with them. Never before had a creature been afraid of Po, but they showed fear now. They ran away. Or maybe they were just irritated by him, because they could easily tell that he was a faker.

Po continued on, hoping to find a pack of his own. He communed with the big gray floppy-eared creatures. He stood with the pink water-loving sky creatures. He always failed. Some of the animals moved away from him when he approached, while others just ignored him, but they all knew he didn’t belong. His sadness not only stayed with him, but grew larger in his heart. He eventually realized that he had to give up the pursuit. There were no other Pos, or whatever he was meant to be called. It was a name he made up for himself. His first memory was of a creature flying overhead, whose call sounded like that. He never did meet the flyer again, so it seemed fitting that he should steal it. Seeing now that his entire life was meaningless, including his name, Po returned to his favorite spot in the whole world. He stood at the bank of the river, watching the glimmering water race past him. He knelt down to it, hoping to catch one more glimpse of the gorgeous orange swimmer with the big mouth. He saw other pretty swimmers, but not that one. Burdened by his terrible despair, Po stuck his face in the water. He loved feeling it brush up against his cheek. He liked to press his nose against the rocks on the bottom. He normally removed his head when his chest began to hurt, but this time he chose not to. He stayed there, and let the tightness claim his body. With the last bit of his strength, he opened his mouth, letting all of the water in. If there could only be one Po, there might as well be no Pos at all. The river took him away. A moment later, Eridana came by, looking to find a pack of Eridanas like her, but she found no one.

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