Word Up

Samuel Towns

A Bead of Sweat

It began with a bead of sweat.

Countless occurrences preceded this salty droplet of perspiration, but, as is often the case in a dream, those things need not be considered; in dreams, those things are implied.

It is important to note that it was a bead of sweat.

It was not a tear.

Immobilized by the dryness of the skin around it, the liquid stood, suspended between the blades of my shoulder. It was dammed by the parchedness of my body’s largest organ.

It is important to note that I was not profusely sweating, but that there existed only a single bead of sweat, nestled snuggly in a particularly arid region on my back, between the blades of my shoulder.

The destiny of every dam ever: breakage.

And so ran the bead of sweat.

The crack of the human back runs from top to bottom. Each vertebra felt the cold sensation of wetness and, in turn, each felt that sensation dim and fade away.

I was seated in a diner.

But my spine did not conform to the contour of my seat. The bead of sweat would have had nowhere to run had I been leaning back, against the cushioned booth. It would have been sandwiched between my seat and myself, squashed out of existence.

It is important to note that at this point a rush of information both contextualized and influenced the bead of sweat’s existence and, thereby, the dream itself.

I was leaning forward.

And so was she.

The crack of the human back runs from top to bottom.

The skin of mine, once dry, now featured a newly formed river running the length of it.

I fancied it my very own private causeway. I found this new trail to not be dissimilar to a highway.

The amusing thought occupied me so, that it manifested itself into existence.

A highway necessitates traffic.

It could now be said that I was sweating profusely. Each bead of sweat was a car during rush hour, hurrying to get to work on time.

It is important to note that multiple beads of sweat were running, but that each subsequent bead followed the same path laid out by the first initial bead; a single lane of traffic.

It is also important to note that some of these beads of sweat were, at this point, tears.

Had I been standing, the flow of water would have run from between the blades of my shoulder, down the crack of my back, and farther down, pooling at my feet.

As I mentioned earlier I was seated.

The water pooled where it was led by the crack in my back.

Soon each cheek was afloat in a messy, salty sea of sweat.

What began as a single droplet expanded and grew to the point that it more resembled a stinky aquarium housed within my trousers.

Of course, she didn’t know about that bead of sweat.

And she didn’t know about the aquarium either.

But she did know about everything else.

Being as I was afloat, I rocked back and forth.

Instantly the diner filled with people.

My rocking continued and she was gone.

I drifted in my sea and off to sleep.

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