The Wishing Well
I sit in a well and wait. People say that it is a wishing well. I have been here for a while but not been able to think of a decent wish yet. So I do not know if it works or not. Perhaps it is a broken wishing well or one with a twisted sense of humour – one that fulfils the spirit of the wish if you ask for the letter and the letter if you ask for the spirit. I would kind of like that.
It’s a really nice well. There’s ivy twisting down the sides and different colours of lichen and moss. It’s made of bricks and everything is dry and strangely warm. There is no water in the well as such, but I can remove some of the bricks at the bottom and gain access to a vein of rushing water.
But why do I sit in a well? Well, I haven’t fallen in if that’s what you’re thinking. I’m just…taking a rest. Life can be so difficult, don’t you think?
The easiest way to explain is by saying that I was tired and wanted a place where I don’t have to deal with all the difficult bits like who to love, who to pay, who to vote for, what to think, how to help and – my favourite of them all, unanswerable as they are – why?
I felt like a snow globe that some demented kid had been shaking nonstop for several years and I wanted a shelf to be put on and watch my bits settle down. Maybe then I would finally realize that this bit of stone over there is actually a castle, that there are three black horses in the meadow and that the road really does wind up all the way to the mountaintop – that sort of thing.
Now, perhaps you are a literal-minded person, in which case I should say that I wasn’t really hoping to find a castle or any other potentially medieval real estate in my soul. I’m speaking metaphorically. But if you really are literal-minded you wouldn’t bother with questions about the soul to begin with and would never know just how fortunate you are – I mean, look at you! You found a wishing well! Congratulations. Of course there is an odd person sitting at the bottom of it, but how often have you found something perfect to the last detail, especially if you just stumbled across it out of sheer dumb luck? It might still work despite that, don’t worry. Perhaps I even am the special ingredient, that secret spice that makes your wishes extra wish-y.
Come to think of it, I haven’t even asked: Is this your well? Is that why you are here? If that were the case I’m sure it can do with a resident oracle because I can tell fortunes – and really can’t be bothered to go anywhere else right now.
I’m just here to wait it out, that one rough patch. Meanwhile I have invented the world’s first human repair shop and – lo and behold – if they’ve got a few screws loose, humans don’t need much more than a little space of their own and an equal amount of quiet.
You can stay here with me if you want. Just do me one favour and leave your troubles at the doorstep…well, figuratively speaking, since I haven’t really installed a door…just stuff them in your shoes along with your socks. The ground down here is dry and warm and it’s really not such a bad idea to stuff your troubles into your shoes and walk around barefoot for a while. Moss can grow on human toes, by the way, if you have ever pondered this particular essential question of life.
It’s not really your well, is it? Thought not. You are a drifter like me. That’s good. Although strictly speaking I am not drifting but sitting at the bottom of a well where the drift is, I daresay, negligible.
Have you ever looked at a place you know very well only it was night and you could not recognize it? Happened to me one night when I looked in the mirror and that’s when I knew I just had to find my own private well now. I mean I’m not a place but sometimes I’m not really so sure.
Where are you going? You can stay if you want. I mean I know that I’m not doing anything but on the other hand I’m not doing anything either, if you know what I’m saying.
Don’t go. I’ve figured out my wish. I wish you would stay here and keep me company. Now I guess I will find out if it is a wishing well…