Running toward the world within the flooded streets


Sofia Hargis-Acevedo

This is the moment within the flooded streets. The moment before I reach the world I have created where my mind is still a blur.

She stands there, motionless, peering into the dark abyss beyond the streetlights.

Barefoot, she stands in the flooded streets. The water is cool, and the hem of her red, plaid, pajama pants were carelessly soaked. Her sweatshirt was warm against her frigid skin, and her hair was in a messy knot on the top of her head.

She takes a timid step forward, and the water sloshes underneath her feet. She continues to walk, each step light and filled with untamed curiosity.

In this realm, there is nothing holding her back. Nothing is stopping her from walking toward what is unknown. She strolls aimlessly through the flooded streets, allowing her mind to conjure up elaborate stories in lands of amethyst and emeralds, warm skies and frigid seas, and tall grass and sunflowers.

Within the flooded streets, she has created a new world for herself. She has created a world with tall white pillars and gold, leafy crowns. It is a world with olive trees in every corner and grape vines intricately wrapped around houses. It is a world where the celestial sound of the lyre echoes throughout the sky, lingers in the trees, and takes root within the soil.

In this world within the flooded streets, Achilles and Patroclus hold one another with unconditional love. Achilles sings to him, as Patroclus stares in awe, tainted with adoration and protection for his companion. She watches the two from a distance, entranced by the world she has created for herself. Her mind foggy, she continues to wander through the scene of grapevines and olive trees.

She felt as if her feet weren’t touching the ground. She was running with such urgency that her footsteps were no longer light and curious, they were intense and tenacious.

She happens across a rocky beach, not far from where her journey began. She sits between two boulders, her head resting on one and her feet on the other. She closes her eyes and allows for her foggy mind to be cleared by ultramarine waves crashing against her rocks and salt water spraying her skin. 

A gust of wind then sweeps her off the rocky beach and into the warm, summer air. She is now soaring through the sky, looking down at the world she has created within the flooded streets. Her head is in a haze, her breathing is steady, and she is blanketed in the tranquil clouds that float across the bright sky. 

She continues to fly through her world; she speeds through the clouds and across the waters as her fingers run across the surface. She is overcome with feelings of overwhelming elation as she races past Achilles and Patroclus once more, where they continue to sing and embrace one another. 

Eventually, however, the winds are taking her to a world she doesn’t recognize right away. It has been so long since she has been outside of the world she has created that everywhere else seems foreign.

She was still lost—until the winds dropped her and she landed on her feet with a quiet splash.

She is back in the flooded streets.

She shakes her head in denial. She wishes to go back to where the skies were tainted in gold and the seas were deep and plentiful. She then does what she never deemed possible with her naive mind: 

She ran beyond the streetlights.

She felt as if her feet weren’t touching the ground. She was running with such urgency that her footsteps were no longer light and curious, they were intense and tenacious. She was doing everything she could to return to her world.

She was approaching the finish line, where the streetlights end and the darkness begins. She was drained, but kept racing through the flooded streets. Each stride she took brought her closer and closer to her world until she was finally able to reach out and throw herself into the darkness beyond the streetlights.

She was expecting to find herself returned to the world of grapevines and olive trees, of Achilles and Patroclus, of salty waves and warm winds. She was expecting to be entranced by the celestial lyre and enchanted by the golden skies.

Instead, she woke up.