Bubbling Water
Joanne Faries

Lara, with an image of tangy orange juice, swallowed the morning hydration pill. Careful, she wrapped a box in bright red paper and affixed a gold bow. Lara checked her watch, put the gift in a protective bag, gathered precious coupons, and left her town home.

Mark and Amber arrived at the Hydro-bar the same time as Lara. The cousins hugged and chattered. Once Kathleen arrived, the group entered the store and gaped at huge tanks of clear fluid. Herd instinct moved them. Parched, they stuck their hands under a sprayer display.

"Wow. I'd forgotten how water soothes and refreshes," said Amber. "I vaguely remember drinking out of a hose at grandmother's farm. I was around four."

Kathleen pouted, "You're lucky. I was born after free water disappeared. Lakes, rivers, a glass of water are pictures in books for me."

"Let's redeem our coupons and get to grandmother's party," Mark urged the group. They solemnly counted out ten and received gallon containers packed in a dark bag.

Grandmother's small apartment filled with family and the cousins sang a raspy "Happy Birthday". Eighty-year old Grandma Rose exclaimed over the red wrap and then choked up at the box contents - a small fountain, bought at a second-hand store. She gasped when Mark unveiled the water. He plugged in her present, emptied the bottles, and everyone clapped as slowly the water gurgled, bubbled, and circulated. Rose dipped her fingers and sighed.

"Don't cry, grandmother," said Lara. "You'll waste water."

First published: August, 2007
comments to the writer: knob'swriter@iceflow.com