Flow my tears
I muffled the river so it sounded like the wind and rain. It kept me awake: as the sound of people coming and going fell away, as the background hum fell silent, so the river's flow became correspondingly louder, more defined, more intense. And though the total volume of sound can have been no greater, must indeed have been much less, the river drew attention to its solitary self, crashing where it had babbled, gushing where previously it had merely flowed, persistent and intolerable.
Eventually I put in ear-plugs, which I had brought for fear of noisy neighbours, and which I used instead to ward off the very sounds of nature on which the neighbours were intruding. They quietened the river, made its noise less specific, less distinct: and, once its sharpness dulled, it was diffused still further by the effect of the tent, which made its point of origin harder to discern, made it unclear, to me inside, whether its noise came from any given direction or from all at once. So its rushing seemed rather like the rushing of a wind, something possessing movement but no particular place: but it still had substance, texture, the way a movement of water always does, and therefore, wind and water, gave the impression of rain against the tent. It seemed to come from everywhere without, and I had to concentrate my mind, in the dark of the tent, unsure of direction and lacking sense of place, to dispel my uncertainty, to be sure that it was still the river and not a storm.
I wanted it to be a storm. I always do. I feel more secure that way, safer, enveloped, bewombed. When I was a child I always liked it when the rain began to batter against the window, when I was in bed, in the top bunk, thinking in the dark, struggling to sleep. As the storm got up the noises of the rain would merge into each other, no longer striking the window in separate drops but become a constant rushing against the house, like a river, like the sea. And I would imagine myself in a capsule, on the sea, within it, a capsule miraculously stabilised and upright, unaffected by the waves. Unaffected by anything, floating indefinitely, and me inside it, sleeping soundly, sleeping for as long as I wanted to, sleeping until everything was washed away that hurt.