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Fall in Light: Jeff Buckley

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Perhaps it was the sunset, painted orange and beautiful behind the metal bridge. Or maybe it was the sultry croon of the distant island, equal parts mysterious and inviting; irresistible. Begging to be explored. Standing on the bank, he surveys the scene. A cool breeze sifts through his hair.

Beams of light dance among the shadows as the water moves before him, peacefully: lapping at the earth, retreating, repeat. The stillness of its surface beckons to him––he, the pattern interrupt. 

One step and it engulfs his boots, weighing them down and coaxing him further. It feels good, cathartic. The cold cuts through the evening humidity in languid tongues, rising deliciously to his waist. The black material of his pants clings to him comfortingly, reassuringly. His clothes become a perfect mould.

Leaning back, he gives himself to the water’s graces. Trusting. It holds him fast, buoying his levity and rewarding his blind faith. The preoccupations of his mind dissolve, thoughts of impending responsibilities miles away. Usually an incessant presence in the recesses of his mind, the clicking of time slows. A bubble of elation rises in his throat: he opens his mouth. The gurgle of the tide harmonizes with him softly, a duet that echoes down the bank, under the bridge, and through the trees. This is where he belongs. He thinks his heart might burst with adulation.

“You need coolin’, baby I’m not foolin’.”

A canopy of lightness, synchronized, dances around his head. The fractals of color reach him even under the shadow of the bridge, defying physics and kissing him with their magic. He’s always believed in the magic; of song, of light, of love. He can feel it, always, like gentle breathing on the back of his neck. The sensation manifests in his soul until it cannot be contained––it explodes as music. It’s a painful, beautiful, torturous cycle. And as the water carries him farther from shore, he feels closer to the brink of explosion than he’s ever felt before.

“Want a whole lotta love.”

Stars blink through the orange sky above him. He doesn’t remember ever feeling so at peace. The yearning in his soul, it seems, is finally in equilibrium with the state of his heart. Years of searching, years of pleading, and yet here, one with the water, he realizes the answer has always been within. He closes his eyes, relaxing deeper into the waves. The love he feels effusing from the depths of the earth is overwhelming, consuming him with a passion so fervent that a tear escapes from the corner of his eye. It slips down his temple and joins the river, washing away with the current. 

“Want a whole lotta love.”

A dam opens behind his eyes and water pours out of him, like something inside wants to escape into the murkiness. The relief is immeasurable: he feels weightless. He floats for what feels like hours in the light of the setting sun, its warmth caressing his cheek. When the current picks up, he relinquishes control and allows himself to be washed farther downstream. Away from the waking world. Completely at the mercy of mother nature, he wonders whether this is the closest he might get to the realm of dreams.

Pillars of water crash against each other, the sheer power ricocheting his body to and fro across the wake. There’s no use struggling against it: he knows this. Opening his eyes, he notices the sky has turned dark. Silhouettes of trees lace his indigo-blue vision. The beauty makes his heart ache. 

A blanket of water covers him once, then again, his voice fading to the night as his soul sings of love. He’s completely submerged now. But even through the filmy water he can see the moon sparkling above, constant. The music of the river whispers softly in his ear. A weight is dragging him down, sucking him farther and farther away from the light. The force is too strong to fight. Is he still crying? He can’t tell anymore.

His lungs are shrieking, fighting against the pressure to collapse. It hurts, but he keeps his eyes fixed on the moon, the beautiful moon. The farther he sinks, the clearer his mind becomes. This reconciliation of the soul––an inexplicable inner peace––is something only the river can grant, and it necessitates something in return. It gave him this, and now he must give himself. 

“Play the music, play it loud. Love, Jeff.”

Into the depths he falls, absolved, in light.