Need To Know

Entry by: daddy

24th May 2018

Steve was sitting inside the screened veranda of the hired cottage just short of Taho in California. Steve and Edith had rented this cottage to spend a month of summer among the beautiful surroundings of Lake Taho. Steve was now touching seventy and had retired from active life as an electrical engineer, Edith had also retired from her school where she used to teach maths. Steve could see the meandering trail in front of the cottage going down to the tiny valley. Fir and pine trees lined the path on both sides. Wildflowers like Yarrows covered the ground, Pussytoes and Arnica. He could see the dull sun just above the winding pathway in between two mountains. As he looked, he thought he saw a fried egg sunny side up kept on a vertical plate. A small boy ran past the cottage and headed down to the valley in his grey shorts and bright yellow tee, and he had a small cap with some logo and a bobbing red scarf around his neck. Behind him, was an old man, in a black jacket trying hard to keep the boy in sight.

He remembered the days when he had combed the beach at Taho and dared to swim in the strong winds that lashed the surface. Edith had kept a watch on him and had forbidden him to venture far from the shore. He recollected that a swarm of Lahontan trout had started chasing him and had even nibbled one of his toes before the rescue helicopter crew saved him. Edith had kept screaming at the trail of blood from his foot till the doctors reassured her that he would be fine in a couple of days. He was taken to a hospital but could not recollect its name. He looked around searching for Edith. He hated the crabs on the shore they always bit him, he could not remember a day when they had not had a go at his feet, the purple ones were nasty. He saw Edith just outside the house collecting the wildflowers to put in the clay pot on the dining table. He wondered why the water turned violet and even started bubbling when the flowers were placed into the bowl. Edith always made broth at night and put wild mushrooms and turnips in it along with small fish and eggs and served it with garlic buns dipped in butter. He wondered what had made so many silk moths fly around his house? It was not so dark yet, and he could still spot the roses five cottages away as they swayed hither and thither in the wind. The pattern on the ground made by filtered sunlight changed with the breeze, a bit troubling at times and it made him squint and wince.

He could see the yellow of the egg sliding down slowly as the plate turned dark. He wondered about the orange glow at the far end of the trail it did seem to get brighter and brighter. He wheeled his chair for a better view and realised it could be a forest fire, undoubtedly it was, as he could see the commotion among the Jays and Chickadees flying past his cottage. He frantically looked for Edith and manoeuvred his wheelchair out of the wicket gate shouting. He heard a low thunder as some raindrops slammed his face, what the heck! Hailstorm, relieved he rushed back to the safety of his veranda. He wondered if he saw a bear Crisscross among the towering trees….he shouted: “Verdammt Edith wo bist du!!”

steve...steve…he thought he heard someone calling him …

(Steve had been admitted to Westmead Public Hospital, Sydney, Australia for a neurological disorder, all his tests were normal including the dream mapping which had been done during the day. Sylvie was trying to wake up Steve from his induced dream state. Steve had never set foot outside Australia, he was being clinically investigated for a language disorder…he had started speaking German one fine morning, a language he had never learned. Sylvie had no idea who Edith was, during the past 51 years of their marriage she had never heard of her.)

There is a need to know what we ought to know about what we do not know…