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Like Running Water

Fiction by
Xavier F. Aguilar

Cover art
© Aaron R. Aguilar, 2011

About the Author

Like Running Water

It Came From the Sky

Same Namess—
Different Faces

Also by X.F. Aguilar:
Garment of Flesh
In Autumn’s Grace
From My Father’s House




When Darcy Wiggins was confronted by her husband with the news that he wanted a separation she didn’t even whimper. The element of surprise wasn’t there as she shrugged off the futility of a relationship gone awry. Only for a minute did she stare into the gleam of the polished toaster and contemplate the events that brought a couple to its breaking point. Then it was over. Darcy understood that life was for living.

“Ok, Roger,” said the reticent Darcy, “I don’t even want to know her name. I saw this coming for a while. It happens to the best of us.”

Roger stood about a yard away from his wife, wearing a plaid shirt with the long sleeves rolled up to his elbows. The red and black design went well with the dark chinos that Darcy had given him for Christmas.

“Oh, come on, Darcy,” blurted Roger, “there is no one’s name to know. It’s just a growing apart . . . it’s discovering different interests . . . it’s like you said . . . it happens to the best.”

No more was said at that time. Darcy turned her back to him and moved to the sink to do the dishes. The soapy water bubbled and the light coming through the window touched their play to cause the woman to become transfixed by the movement and luminosity.

She listened to the door open and close behind her and knew Roger had gone outside. As the steam from the hot water rose up toward her face, she submerged her hands into the heat and her delicate shoulders quivered from a coldness which enveloped her body.


“How can you be so nonchalant about the situation,” asked Donna, as she combed her red hair. Donna Revea had been Darcy’s best friend since the day they met as seniors at Highcrest High School.

Darcy turned to look at her friend. “If I could change it I probably would and because I can’t I’ll just learn to live with it.”

That was the quality Donna liked most about her friend of five years. She wished she could be more calm and cool in stressful situations. She saw Darcy’s strength in being able to confront every obstacle as though it were a natural event. It was too often that Donna would become angry in a restaurant or store and Darcy would always know what to say or do to appease her friend’s fiery temper.

“That’s a nice philosophy,” commented Donna, “but is it ­livable?”

“For me . . . yes, for you . . . I don’t think so.”

Darcy smiled broadly as she twisted a blonde curl around her forefinger. She watched an expression of humor cross over the redhead’s face and she was happy she had such a friend.

Outside, the winds of March rose up and kites took flight. Somewhere at the end of the invisible string a child could be found. Darcy watched the red and yellow kite as it did aerial maneuvers of the extraordinary.

“That must be Norma’s boy flying his new kite,” stated Donna as she caught a glimpse of it through the large window.

“No matter how the wind pulls and pushes and twists that piece of colored paper it never rips or breaks. It just keeps on keeping on.”

“I noticed that,” said Donna.

The box kite made an impression in the sky; it appeared triangular at certain times and when it passed in front of the sun it’s color changed to black. From afar it’s erratic pattern of flight may have easily confused anyone who happened to observe it. From where Corby Rawlings stood holding the string his birthday gift moved east off the bank and over the river. It was the boy’s knowledge that if the thin line were long enough the object could reach across the water to route 906.

Darcy broke away from watching Norma’s son maneuver the kite. “How’s she doing these days?”

“Who?” The redhead had finished with her hair and was sipping a glass of Pepsi.

“Norma Rawlings. That’s her son out there playing.”

Donna didn’t bother to look. “As far as I know she’s getting along just fine. It’s just a shame about her man getting in all that trouble.” She shook her head from side to side and finished, “Sometimes trouble comes looking for you.”

“How true,” agreed Darcy, “and a lot of times we go searching for it.”

It had turned four o’clock and the wall clock chimed that many times. A screeching of tires told them that Roger had returned.

“I’d better go,” said Donna. “I don’t want Roger to think bad of me.” She went out through the back door to avoid the man in the plaid shirt who staggered to the front of the house.

“Darcy,” he called from the yard. His speech was slurred; he had been drinking. “Darcy, I saw one. I saw a UFO!”

She again looked out the window at Corby’s ever changing box kite, took a deep breath and let it out as a sigh.

She spoke to herself more than anyone else as she said in a whisper, “Me too.”


The next day was Sunday and the neighborhood was quiet. Darcy sat in front of the TV watching Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power and drinking a large glass of orange juice. She wasn’t a religious person as to go to church every week and all of the other tradition that was related, but, she did believe in minding her own business and trying to help others.

At twenty-two she understood a lot more than she let others know. She felt that what she knew could only be applied to her own life in accord with substantial effect and would be useless to others because of different ideas and actions. Darcy wasn’t snobbish as she sometimes appeared, she only wanted everyone to think for themselves.

“Gee Darcy,” apologized Roger, “I’m sorry about yesterday . . . baby. You know I love you. Please . . . forgive me, Darcy.”

“No sweat, Roger, you’re forgiven.” She placed an extended arm on each shoulder and clasped her fingers behind his head. “How’s your hangover?”

The man put his hands on her hips and drew her toward himself. “What’s on your mind?”

“I’m just curious why you guys drink yourselves sick. Is that smart?”

Roger tried to pull her closer and she put the palms of her hands against his chest to stop his action. “Being smart has nothing to do with doing what we like to do.”

“Exactly.” Darcy moved away from Roger. In the distance she could hear the faint sound of a train whistle and knew that it would soon be drowning out the message of the Hour of Power.

After the train had passed toward Highcrest, Darcy left the room and went into the kitchen. She took her empty glass and before placing it in the dish rack she rinsed it under hot water. Darcy saw no sense in using a new glass for every drink she took; that’s how Donna Revea used her glasses and ended up with close to a dozen to wash every evening. Darcy washed only one or two each day.

“Should we report the UFO you saw yesterday?”

“The what?”

“You came home babbling that you had seen one. Don’t you remember?”

“Vaguely,” Roger patted his head gently.

“I think what you really saw was a kite some little boy was flying near the river bank.”

Roger tried to remember the day before. “Could be.”

And that’s the way it was near Highcrest in 1993, the same as it is this year with some new names but the same type faces. There are the sunny days and the rainy ones, the cold and the warm. There is always someone to help and another to hinder. There are always the tears of sorrow and the laughter of good times.

When obstacles stood up to block her progress, to diminish her aspirations and delete her dreams, Darcy Wiggins just sat quietly, she separated her movements from the adverse forces that feed upon weakness, she journeyed up her solitary road ignoring the impediment of inertia . . . like running water.Back to top

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© 2009 Xavier F. Aguilar, reprinted from Where Grandma Lived