Tuesday, February 26, 2019

A Walk in the Park -- flash fiction

"Ach, du meine liebe Gute! Your costume!"

My costume? I was wearing cargo pants, a plaid, flannel shirt, and sneakers. She, on the other hand, was wearing some sort of long black corseted dress, a top hat with lace, and high button-up boots.

"And your hair. So short." Her accent was British, though not exactly like my friend Ivor's. "And you're so tall."

How should I respond to that? Yes, I am tall and you are short. I don't think so. My Momma taught me better manners than that.

"Yes, ma'am. Isn't this a nice place to walk?"

She dropped her scrutiny of me and gazed at the river.

"The River Dee. It is beautiful. I used to ride here. My husband and I. He bought this land for us many years ago." She was distracted by a squirrel racing from one tree to another on the river's edge. "Here all seems to breathe peace, and make one forget the world and its turmoils."

Although the sky was overcast, the air was clear and we could see snow laced mountains in the distance. A view very familiar to me. But something about the squirrel was decidedly foreign -- its tufted ears.

"So, this is your place?"

"My place, indeed. All this land is my land. This is my country." She studied me closely. "Do you not know where you are?"

For a moment I felt dizzy, as though I had missed a step.

In that same moment she grabbed my arm to steady herself.

"Are you all right?" I asked.

"I'm not quite sure." She continued to hold my arm. "Are you all right?"

"I don't mean to frighten you, ma'am, but I'm not sure I am. I honestly don't know where I am or how I got here."

No taller than my own grandmother, a bit heavier maybe, she took command seating me on an outcropping of rock.

"I, too, feel a bit dazed," she confessed. "To see someone so odd as you. Someone so oddly dressed."

She stood in front of me eyeing me from head to foot. "Are you a Campbell?"

"Like the soup?" I ventured.

From her quizzical expression my mentioning soup was just as odd to her as everything else about me.

She touched my shirt and explained "The Campbell tartan."

"No, ma'am. I don't really know anything about tartans."

She settled beside me seemingly satisfied not to know who I was or why I was there.

"Alas," she considered the scene before us. "Sometimes I fear I'm going insane."


"Meeting someone like you," she explained.

"Like me?"

"My grandfather, you know -- George the Third. He was quite mad."

"I'm sorry." What else was there to say? I was disoriented.

"I don't remember him," she continued. "I was quite young when he died. But there were always stories."

Maybe I was losing it, too. I was quickly approaching the age when my own mother's dementia had started and my grandmother's the generation before.

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