I must have fallen. Their fingers were nestled under my armpits and their arms pressed against my back holding my waist. I saw bits of debris on the palms of my hands as my eyes opened. We were grouped on a walkway made of flat large stones laid neatly. Between the stones were crushed shells, some bleach white and others shiny blue like chips of porcelain plates. The path was wide and I couldn’t remember what caused me to fall.
“Miss, are you fine?” “Miss, we must sit you down?” two men with accents were asking.
I noticed my dress as it gently lifted in a light breeze. It was sheer and soft with a light blue background and delicately tangled vines sprouting leaves and little reddish pink buds not yet fully open. Clinging to the fabric were tiny fragments of earth. My hands naturally felt the skin of my legs and I brushed bits of shell from my knees.
Overhead, the tall trees climbed great heights to a canopy of leaves that flipped from green to silver in the wind. The sound of moving leaves were like a rustling satin skirt. The sky was deep blue. There was salt in the air. Once I smelled the ocean, I could hear the waves brushing over land.
A third man brought a chair and the three of them guided me into it. Each man was dressed in a muted jacket with tidy buttons sealing up the front. Their eyes were filled with concern that felt genuine. Their hands were strong and rough, yet they moved precisely and softly. I wanted to ask what had happened, but I knew they wondered just the same.
Suddenly, a voice. “What happened. Leisel, are you OK?” a gentleman asked as he scurried swiftly to kneel by my chair. He caressed my back and held my hands, turning them over to brush off the debris.
“Please get some water,” he said to one of the men standing there. The man rushed off and quickly returned with a glass of water. I sipped it. “I am fine” I said. I sat listening in amazement to the abundant and varied bird calls echoing overhead. The area was alive. The temperature was just right.
“We need to get you back to the house” said the man at my feet as he looked up at me, as he gathered loose strands of hair to tuck them behind my ear. “We won’t go to the beach today,” he announced to everyone there.
“No. I am fine, really, I am fine. I want to see the water.” Learning that I was in route to the beach gave me a sense of direction. I didn’t want anyone to notice that I had not one clue as to where I was (or who I was). The waves called out to me. I thought if I could just get to the ocean then my mind would produce a clearer picture.
Another man appeared, he was older with grey hair and a wrinkled sunbaked face. “What happened here?”
The young man stood from my chair. “Leisel seems to have tripped on the walk.”
He pointed to one of the three neatly attired men in matching dress “Go tell Ponti to smooth out this walk. Every inch of it. The walk must be smoother. And it should be completed today.” He spoke with authority and force.
“Then we will continue to the beach today.” The young man said as he kneeled along side me.
I blurted out as I began to stand “Yes, I want to go to the beach.”
The older man said to another man in a neutral jacket “Get Dr. Rhodes. Tell him Liesel took a spill on the walk. Tell him to make his way to the beach.”
Next, he turned toward me and commanded “Dr. Rhodes will attend to you today regardless. We will see what he concludes. And today you will take the elevator to the beach.”
Everyone assumed their places as we moved towards the edge where the tree line ended.
The young man asked “Do you have your book?” I looked around only to see that I had nothing, no bag and no book. “I will go and get it for you and meet you on the beach.” And to the remaining man that helped me he said, “Please take Leisel down in the elevator.”
As my feet firmly planted with each step, I noticed that I had delicate sandals on made of cloth straps. My toenails were well manicured and painted a pink similar to the buds on my dress. I followed the quiet man and his light weight steps. We walked further down the path and closer to the ocean. We approached a huge open door, like a garage, that held a room lined in beautiful deep colored woodwork. To my surprise three horses, one brown, one dark brown, and other white, stood peacefully inside. The interior had hooks that held all sorts of riding gear. There were compartments, drawers, and doors all adorned with matching metal features. There were seats, a little bench on a hinge that the gentleman pulled down as we entered. It was offered to me with a gesture and I slid onto the little bench with ease. The elevator was custom for horses, not humans.
With a push of a button half of the big door came up from below to meet a duplicate one from above. They came together in the center about waist high without much noise. Each end of the elevator had a set of doors like this and in the doors were glass windows. The elevator began to travel downwards and what passed behind the windows was the inside of the earth. The walls of the shaft that held the elevator were lit up so we could see all the passing rock. The whole setup was exotic.
We moved slowly and the horses stayed calm. The gentleman looked over at me and said “Miss, we have more braids for you.” I had no idea what that meant, yet smiled and told him thank you. And he continued “We all wish you to feel better from the fall.” His manner was so sweet, his dark eyes squinting but bright. I told him that I do appreciate all of his and the other’s help. I thanked him again.
We stopped. The elevator doors opened on the opposite side of where we entered. It was a sandy beach and the ocean! Right there in front of us. The horses moved out without being told. They must do this often. They passed me snorting and prancing. The horses were most certainly filled with joy, and in this moment, so was I. I removed my shoes as I thought how glorious this all was and what a life I seem to have. The sun shone down and the water drifted inward and birds sang all around us. My dress fluttered about me as we roamed along the wondrous cliffs. I had no idea where on earth I was or when it was. I couldn’t remember any type of past story that got me there.
I caught up to the beautiful bareback horses walking freely and free of burden. I reached out to run my hand along a strong velvety body. I noticed a sparkly ring on my hand made up of a cluster of diamonds. On my other hand there was a crystal clear blue stone set in gold. I was taken aback briefly because my hand was well cared for and my fingernails were clean and in a uniformed shape. I looked out to sea as I tried to remember. Yes, I was positive that I was married. Yes, my first clue became clearer! I am married and I could easily imagine on that day that I was happily married.