The Well

I sit, at midnight, with a bottle of wine. My wife, my newborn daughter and my dog are all asleep in the bedroom. The fish, behind my head in his tank, is not asleep. He swims gracefully, unrushed, seeming to explore anew his three-gallon world. The family downstairs are not asleep. I hear their new baby screaming and footsteps pound from one end of the apartment to another.

I sit here and I write because I feel that something has changed. I have a daughter now. and though it may seem less significant it is certainly worth mentioning that my wife is no longer pregnant. Through becoming less pregnant she has been injured, physically. These things have happened. And I will now take another swig from the bottle of wine.

Boy, it’s a trip how all those things people always say about having a kid are true. That’s not the trippy part. The trippy part is that the things they say are true in ways that you never imagined. You don’t understand until it happens to you. And when the understanding hits it hurts a little.

You get to understand two sides to the thing. The first time the kid screams til its voice goes hoarse and then keeps screaming you understand why people lose it and shake the baby. You start thinking it’s doing it on purpose just to push you. Then – hopefully – you apply a little critical thought. That’s when you start thinking that this kid is scared and suffering. You see just how helpless it is. Some would say this is a ploy. This is what the baby wants you to think. Those people may be right, but just because it’s a ploy doesn’t mean it’s not true.

That’s when you start to see yourself differently. You see that the kid is a nomad, wandering through the desert. She’s lost and scared and blind from the glare and the dust. She doesn’t have a friend and there’s no place she comes from. You are the well. With a good well a whole civilization can be established. A good well is clear and unpolluted. A good well gives succor even in the driest season. Some pulls may have a taste of bitterness, or a sulfuric funk; but this is called “minerality”. This is the character, the special magic of this well which is like no other.

Oh, the wine is almost gone. Soon, this spirit in me will be out. Then I can go back to bed. The family downstairs seem to have gone quiet. Peace has been found where it lay in some corner. Even the fish is still now. He hangs suspended near the bottom, his head pointed up at around 45 degrees, faintly drifting. Goodnight sweet fish.

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