She has seen many sunrises, many days and nights have passed. Nothing has ever changed. She is a dot in the wide open plain. The rocks have long been left behind. Above her was always a cloudless blue sky. But today she believes there is some change in the color. It is very subtle, just a tinge of green. Then again it may not be. But there is also something in the far distance, an unevenness on an otherwise flat ground. A wave of excitement runs through her body. Presentiment, - something could happen! She keeps walking. No point to stop as she is not tired. However, there is also some trepidation though she has no explanation why that should be. She lets logic do its work. She sure has nothing to lose, she can only win, whichever way she assesses her situation. With this her thoughts can pleasure themselves instead troubling her body or even stopping his trek. For a while they happily indulge but not controlling the thoughts ends as usual. They come back full circle. So she decides after all to concentrate on the steps she takes and on the ground beneath her. May be she finds today something new, a rare plant or the trace of an animal or insect, anything that points to evidence that she is not really alone. So far she has never discovered more than the dried out grasses scattered in clumps like little atolls in an open ocean. These poor things have shut down life to the bare minimum in order to survive. Yes there is life besides her, but it is in hibernation, waiting for a change, just like her.
After a while she suddenly feels the air moving. A soft breeze touches her here and there. That truly is extraordinary. Until now the stillness around her had been so complete, it included air itself. She takes her gaze off the ground looking up and around she discovers a little white cloud in a now turquoise sky. Her heart takes a leap in excitement. Oh poor soul! The fulfilment of wishes only brings new desires. It opens the gates for a pain of another kind than the body knows.
The little cloud in the sky does not stay alone for long. Others appear. Wind pushes them along as more and more join. A wild chase begins. It seems they want to outrun the wind racing from the open sky to the edge of the horizon. There they form massive mountains losing their innocent white as they grow. Big arms of grey cloud reach after the sun and swallow him with all his warmth and all his light. Even the wind stopped breathing and moving the air. The clouds turn dark, in places they appear nearly black. They close up to a thick blanket covering the sky from one end to the other, from which they let their big bellies hang down to earth below. Now and then, here and there between them she sees sheet-lighting. The stillness around her is thick and so is the air. She hurries along, faster than ever. May be that something she thought to have seen in the distance was offering some help, some protection, but to get there in time was really more like self-deception than realistic hope. And so it was. The wind returned soon after. This time with fury as if he had been angered that before he could not get his way. Howling he sweeps up dust and grasses, nothing can stop him, because there is nothing, neither tree, nor bush, nor anything else.
As he got stronger and stronger, her walking became slower and slower. His gusts are so forceful and attack her now from all sides that any attempt to fight them is useless. She seems to have become their ball in a rough game. The sky is so dark that one could think night has returned. And then the lightning starts and with it the thunder with an overwhelming noise. As one lightning bolt follows the other there is no break in the rumbling and cracking and ear-piercing bangs. The darkness is lit up by white veins as the white fire bolts cast from heaven are split up and torn apart by the force they carry within and which wants to break free.
When the lightning began she stopped walking, lying down to the ground as flat as she could. She is trembling with fear. The first thick raindrops splash down on her and then the heavy clouds release their load, rain falling so thick that earth becomes saturates nearly instantly turning the ground to mud. Big puddles form and channels with water rush away to who knows where. She digs herself deeper into the mud as it offers her the best protection though breathing is difficult with so much water pouring down and whipping up soggy earth. Her strength seems to leave her but so does her fear. She has to give in, she has to give up. There is nothing she can do. Neither can she tell the lightening to stop this ear shattering noise nor can she order the thunder to give away his white fire. And surely the storm will not listen to her plea to give up belting her with the fierce water whip. But the rain is the worst of all as the drops have turned to ice. She tries as good as she can to protect her head with her arms. With her heart pounding she let go of her will and le the senses stupefy her. As the sensations dissipate everything becomes lighter. She starts dreaming. She has reached the state of semi consciousness where reality still weaves a pattern but the demands end. This state is quite soothing. No longer responsibilities, nor more troubling consequences, - like this one can hang on to life, or die without fear. It is fair to say, there really was nothing she could do. She just had to surrender.
Wild dreams take possession of her and she loses access to her rational mind. She can no longer discern between dream and reality and has no longer a relationship with time.
When she regains consciousness waking from the dreams, they escape into forgetfulness as most dreams do, no matter how bizarre they may have been. She still has the roar of the storm in her ears without the storm being present. It appears that she has once again woken in a place she does not know and neither how she arrived. However, this time she is not quite as lost, is able to put events together, using memory and guessing the rest. Besides there is also evidence to support her thoughts. She leans with her back against a big door with the rain still drumming outside on its wooden panels. Somehow she must have carried on walking after the worst of the storm was over in the hope to find rescue and so it seems she did. She would have kept in the direction of the oddity in the horizon’s formation that hinted at a useful chance. How she ever made the distance that is not clear to her. It must have been more crawling than walking because she remembers very well that the dry earth had become mud. She looks down on her and there it is, she is covered in it, hair and all. But she is safe now, or so it seems. She is inside a house. Or maybe, it is still a deception, may be it is still a dream? May be it is not even anything safe if it was real! She stops the mind to be too critical. There is no place for that now, because she was closer to death than life and if she is dreaming she can’t be dead yet. She has never heard of dead people dreaming!
She gazes along a long and generously wide corridor that is lit by naked light bulbs hanging from a high ceiling. They swing softly in a drought which must come in through some open doors or windows. There are plenty of doors both sides of the white walls. She stands on cold stone tiles of smooth surface grey and square. No surprise that she shivers feeling chilly all over. It confirms to her that she is not dreaming either but she is mystified. This is not just a house, it is too big and because the lamps don’t spend bright light she does not see the end of the corridor or hallway either. So, she has survived, has even found shelter and as it seems even other people because she hears voices and noises coming from an open door not far from where she stands. She helps herself along the wall to the door, leaning against the frame she looks into a room, not entering yet, just wanting to find out what was going on. It is a simple room. In one corner stands a bed made up with fresh white linen sheets and cover, in the other corner is a big tub of wood half filled with steaming water. In the middle of the room are a wooden table and chairs. An older woman is busy to fill the tub with water, carrying buckets of it from an adjacent room. A younger woman places dishes and foods on to the table and all the while they do their jaws they have a bit of a chat.
When the older woman sees the stranger in the doorway she yells out more in surprise than fear. Both women immediately drop what they were doing and run to the newcomer, in fact just in time, because she sways and can hardly keep herself standing. The young one wraps her arms around the new-comer to help her into the room and talks to her excitedly without expecting an answer. That would have been pointless anyway, because they speak a different language.
Both are very concerned about her. They get her straight into the tub, wash her, rub her dry and give her fresh cloths. They also want her to eat but that is too much for her, she can only have something to drink before they get her to bed. A man arrives to give her a check-up and is satisfied nodding approvingly while talking to the women, then the man and the older woman leave. The young one sits down at her bedside, chatting on happily, stroking lovingly over her hair and cheeks and does not care that the conversation is one-sided. It does not matter to the one in bed either, because she is too tired to care and because the foreign language flows softly and sweet. It is a lullaby that carries her gently into a long and deep sleep.
It takes days before she recovers but she is well looked after lacking in nothing. They give her a name, calling her ‘Gerlim’. How ridiculous!
“My name is not Gerlim!!!” she protests fiercely. “My name is Femina!!!!!
She is silenced by a sudden jolt of high voltage electricity running hot right through her body. She could jump higher than the highest mountain in sheer joy and delight. ‘She knows her name again! She knows who she is!’
Now it does not matter that nobody understands her language and why she had to protest. It does not even matter what they call her for the time being at least. All that matters is what she knows giving her great hope that her memory is not lost but buried and there is a chance to retrieve it.
With every new day she feels better and better. It does not trouble her any longer to be a stranger. There are plenty of emotions and feelings that help her to understand others and learn customs and best of all establish relationships. It is only a question of time to know everything she needs or wants to know. She feels particularly close to the young woman who took care of her from the beginning. They don’t need words to laugh and talk with each other, though of course they may not always laugh exactly about the same thing. Her name is Pia, a pretty name and very fitting. She herself has made peace with ‘Gerlim’ if that is what they want to call her. It is for the sake of making life easier, something that is applicable to language itself and sure a reason why they developed in the first place. Therefore she pays all her attention to it, learning fast. Soon she is good at it, but she prefers not to talk too much. She prefers to listen, for the time being at least.
They had many visitors since she arrived. Apparently that was due to their curiosity, so she heard Pia say. She does not really know what to make of it or what she is expected to do. She finds it better to observe and keep up her reservations. To be honest, most people don’t interest her nor does she particularly like them. Or maybe they don’t like her to begin with. There are actually only three other persons with whom she engaged. One is Pia’s partner who lives with her, and other are a couple, an elderly pair, related to Pia.
Dimitri is a handsome young man with black hair and blue eyes. In the beginning he was quite shy and unsure what to do with her, but he was so kind and attentive, all complicated by the language barrier that endeared her to him. Meanwhile their relationship has developed very nicely. He definitely is not a man of many words but very knowledgeable. When he is not at work he likes to spend time with them or is reading and he has many stories to tell as he has traveled far and wide before settling with Pia. Most journeys were done by foot. He still loves to walk and does so as often as he can. Sometimes he takes off alone, nowadays more just for a long walk on the days off work as he cannot persuade Pia to join him as often as he would like her come with him. She is not interested in that kind of activity. She is really very different to him, loves company and is friends with all. She does not care about reading either, she likes music, singing and dancing. Femina is very happy indeed that she was taken in by them. ‘It is her home,’ they say. Well, she feels at home with them, but her home it is not. But she would not insist on correcting them because she does not want to be rude to them just for a minor difference of interpretation of words.
Sometimes she sneaks out into the long corridor with the cold stone floor and the tired lamps. She was astonished when she found the entrance door was no longer there. There was a wall clad with solid wood panels of smooth surface and aged color. She still is puzzled and wonders about where or why it disappeared. She will ask her friends one day if they knew. The other question is, how can she leave the house? To go back out where she came in from is obviously no longer an option. Not that she wanted to, considering the circumstances that brought her here, but she does not think the house is the end of her journey either. Besides, it leaves her somehow uncomfortable to have been able to enter but not to leave, having no apparent exit in sight.