Epilogue 14

It was sort of sliding along the floor towards me out of a lot of
clothing. After a moment’s apprehension I realized what it was
and broke into gales of laughter. The kitten, Walter’s friend as it
was still called, was actually poked inside a ladies leather glove
with a white fur cuff and was pushing himself and the glove along
the floor. I gathered him up and cuddled him, the tears rolling
down my face, I realized that for the first time in a long time I
felt happy, not just settled and contented, but happy.
‘That is what I will call you’, I cried ‘Happy, because you make
everyone laugh and you make them happy, especially me, and it
doesn’t really matter then if you are a boy or a girl, because Happy
will fit either.’ I cuddled the small kitten closer and felt pleased
with its new name, it seemed so very apt. Apparently it was
pleased too because it snuggled down and started to purr
contentedly.Jeff telephone to ask after me and just before he went off the
telephone, I had a thought, and quickly asked if he and his
wife would like to visit on Christmas Eve for a drink. ‘Of course if
you have made other arrangements or want to be with your families
I will quite understand’ she added hastily.
‘We would love to come, my wife was just saying this morning we
had nowhere to go on Christmas Eve, so that will be just the ticket,
look forward to it, and Emilia, thanks for asking us’.
I smiled as Ireplaced the receiver, Christmas was getting
better and better.
Mrs. D. had offered to bake some Christmas fayre for me for just
such an occasion and Emilia was very grateful I had it all sealed
away in tins, and in the freezer, I would have to make herself
some kind of menu. I was amazed at myself getting excited
about food!
Having made all my preparations for the next day, Christmas Eve,
I settled down in front of a roaring fire with a cat and a kitten
curled up on my knee, I could think of nothing nicer on a cold
winter evening. Soon I was dozing, the warmth and the euphoria
which I felt lulling me into blissful floating non-existence.
Suddenly in front of me was Nick, still dressed in his skins and
furs and holding a crooked stick.
I looked around him for evidence of any other traveller, they were all curled up around a
camp fire burning brightly in the clear crisp night air, there were
myriads of stars twinkling overhead and the moon cast an eerie
blue glow over the snow on the mountains. The huddled men in
their furs looked like symmetrically placed yak around the fire.
I looked back to Nick, he was staring at me, almost transfixed.
‘Is it really you Emilia? or am I dreaming? dreaming dreaming
always the same dream, you are with me, talking to me,
encouraging me., please tell me it is real, you are real’. he sighed as
he said the last words.
I held out her hand to him, ‘It is me Nick, but not quite in the
form you are used to though, if you try to take my hand you will
find it is not there, but in essence I am here.’
He looked puzzled as I spoke, and did try to touch my hand,
whereby his own just slid straight through it.
‘I don’t understand Emilia, please make me understand, I am so
lost.’ he said with a cry like a small wounded animal.
My heart went out to him and I longed to take him in my
arms and hold him, love him, take away his obvious pain.
‘I am here in essence Nick, and I will lead you down the mountain
where there will be men to pick you up, but until we are clear of
these mountains and the Chinese you must mention nothing of this,;
and you must stay very close to the monks. If anyone thought you
were anything other than what you appear to be you would be in
grave danger’. I said knowing full well that not only would he be
in danger but he would be shot dead.
‘Explain things to me Emilia my love, I have missed you so much, I
haven’t known really what or whom I was missing, just that there
was a huge empty void where my heart once was.
I knew this feeling well, only I had known for whom I
pined, I was not sure whether this was an advanatage or a
disadvantage.
‘Oh Nick, there is so much to tell you,are you warm enough?’ I
couldn’t stop myself worrying about his welfare even though there
was nothing much I could do about it in any practical form. ’ sit
close by me and I will start at the very beginning and tell you what
happened, it may trigger your memory although I am not sure that
is a good thing until we get you out of these mountains, anyway
here goes.’
I talked and talked to Nick explaining everything, even going
back to our very first meeting, it felt strange to me explaining all
the things that he should have known because he had after all been
present on the occasions described, but nevertheless I went on.
As I spoke once or twice Nick seemed to recognize something and his expression would soften and when I got to the portion
which described our capture his expression hardened, he did not
speak, so I did not know whether he was just reacting to what
I said. When I eventually finished with the details of how we
were trying to get him out, I saw him visibly relax.
‘I knew I had to be someone, from somewhere, but my mind was
blank, I was so afraid, I understood nothing. Once I picked up the
language of those around me it was easier to live, but no easier to
understand. Emilia I know without doubt that I love you, and I am
so very grateful for what you are doing for me. I know it will be
difficult and I am prepared, I know the monks will help me without
question of why. I also know it will be difficult when I eventually
return to you, for one thing I cannot remember the language, you
will have to teach me. I feel so badly Emilia, I remember nothing
of the wonderful times you described we had together, nothing of
my family and friends, nothing.’ as he said this he buried his face in
his hands.
‘Nick darling, don’t get upset, everything will be fine, once we get
you back to England there are marvellous doctors and treatments to
help you regain your memory, please don’t worry about it.
Anyway, we can always communicate in the language of the
mountain people’.

Epilogue 14

hilarydougill

Co Durham, United Kingdom

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