By Mary Williams, UK/Mexico (Published in Issue 3)
Nature looked her best in Jalisco during the rainy season. The usually arid countryside sprang to life with tiny green leaves that covered the branches of the mesquite trees and the earth swelled up with a daily soaking of torrential rain.
Lilia took care not to trip over a pile of rugged stones on the ancient Mexica path to the Cola de Caballo waterfall. She could see the valley below and far in the distance the rise of steep, bare rock that ended abruptly on the horizon. All around the sky was infinite, clear blue and still.
The harmony was interrupted only by the sound of her own clumsy footsteps as they hit the ground. Disproportionately harsh she wished that she had wings to fly and thus render her movements noiseless. She stopped and let birdsong penetrate her hearing, a heavenly orchestra, and then she resumed her quest.
She never thought that she would walk to her death as her first thoughts of suicide had been accompanied by images of the bedroom she shared with her sisters Claudia and Miriam. Then she imagined her lifeless body as it was carried out of the dreary flat, passing by the inquisitive neighbours and being the cause of a distressing memorial service on the outskirts of Guadalajara, and she realized that her final act required some planning.
She had not been born for a long life, she had arrived to the wrong world, a cruel and insensitive world, a wasteful and a man’s world that she could not change whatever here efforts and despite her youth and her strength. She knew that if she continued her desires would be belittled and abducted, she would be radically changed and become unrecognisable, even to herself. During her short existence she had seen the terrible inner scars left by abuse and pain, and then, at the end, the world made light of all suffering and turned its attention elsewhere.
She felt a dull ache in the back of her throat but had prepared herself for sudden attacks of emotion. There would be no tears, no memories or slipping into fruitless lines of argument that could distract her from her resolve.
Her pace became easier now as she progressed towards her goal. No one would ever follow her again as all the people she had known were far away, as if on a cloud way up in the sky. They would see the short testimony that she had left behind and decide for themselves.
The waterfall was still not in sight and the path widened its way around the hillside in the full rays of the sun. It was wider now and smooth beneath her feet. There was a call in the distance, a person, a sound. Let it be. It was already gone. Life and death are so close that they fuse together like a woman bearing a child. She had felt their intimacy for as long as she could remember, she saw it everywhere and knew the fear their unity inspired. They were welded into one like the players in the Olmec ball game that ended in a ritual beheading to placate the mighty underworld. How proud the lucky player must have been as he walked to his destiny to join with the sun, and how sublime their expressions are sculptured into colossal stone heads for all to see.
She passed by a copse of pine trees, tall and still in the mid-day sun, so motionless that they could be stone. Who would dream of making tall trees from stone?
And she went by undisturbed by herself or the thoughts that passed through her mind. return was inconceivable; she was moving forward aware of everything, every moment of her existence and every sensation in her body. She was entirely happy.
The river came into view now as a thin ribbon of silver glistening through the rocks. It was deceptively quiet, deep and cool, separated from its surroundings like a lone snake exposed by chance to its enemies. No one would have suspected that it came to a sudden fall so long that the water split into beady threads like the windswept tail of a galloping horse. But Lilia wouldn’t be seeing that, she would meet the river just before the fall where the water massed up to a deadly breaking point to drop instants later over the ridge.
She had left the path and was making tracks to her target. She slowed down to step between the stones and passed a giant cactus, half black and rotten with decay and half green and sprouting prickly fruit.
“Do you mind if I go through?” she asked the open air.
There would be no answer, only the intense stillness of the heat. Two, three, four steps more and she had arrived. She stared into the water, transparent as if to disguise its mighty current. It made no sound up there, only later did it crash onto the rocks below. She stroked her white embroidered blouse and glanced down at her brown legs and leather sandals. She took a last breath, closed her eyes and took just one step forward into the void.