The river ran backwards, which is to say it ran contrary to expectations. It's an ambivalent village, at times both hard and easy to find. Easy because you showed up here when you thought you needed it, hard because needing it means you've got some real regrets. You woke up here. I do not know why. Maybe you've made some mistakes, or maybe you just got lost in confusion. But you're here now.
You probably noticed the river first. Don't worry too much about it, it will all make sense in hindsight. Houses line the riverbanks, are quiet, but not in an unsettling way, more in the the way you'd always hoped yours would be. A slow mist rolls in, the air condensing and ever so slightly harder to move through.
You realize that despite waking up on an alien riverbank with no recollection as to how, you have no questions. No thoughts. Not yet, they will come. You sit up and try to take me in. Old, generic, you wonder if I am the mold from which all other old men with a knowing twinkle in their eyes are cast.
"Puhbuhtuhkuh," you say. Your mouth feeling as though recovering from an anesthetic. Try not to force it. Or do. If you do, do not feel ashamed of how long it will take before feeling returns. I do not know how you got here, as I said and I am sure you will ask again. I would wager you floated in onto the bank, but your clothes are completely dry save for your cuffs. You keep moving your mouth, feeling it with your hands in the hopes that you can position your lips into a proper filter for words. Do not stress. Even if you could speak, what would you say? Your mind remains blank.
Listen, there is food and safety here on this side of the river. Do you see the smoke? I prepared breakfast, enough for two. I have gotten older and tire of repeating myself. Now is time for change, if not at least a change. Come, perhaps some tea may liven your tongue...
envy is ignorance; imitation is suicide.