Waters uses water imagery to represent the movement of the present. From the beginning of the story, Waters likens Makiko's situation to being caught up in a wave, as Makiko "feels unmoored, buffeted among invisible forces that surge up all around her." The water motif occurs again later in the story, after Makiko wakes from the bad dream about Yoshitsune, and Waters has Makiko thinking, "Tonight she senses how far beneath the surface her own past has sunk, its outline distorted by deceptively clear waters." Here, the present is compared to a pool that appears calm but is not. The water motif reinforces the sense that the present is constantly in motion, since water is an element that moves and, unlike earth, is inherently unstable.