The Library - A Place to Revisit - Four (Final)
Four (Final) - A Walk In The Wild / A Proposal
If there was ever a sweltering day in Kerawin it was the day they went walking in the nearby mountainous area.
They set off in Alan’s car at seven on Saturday morning; the temperature is already uncomfortable - driving to an area where the hike begins. Each person carries a light day-pack with some provisions and a few items of clothing, in the event of the weather changing. Jerry enjoys walking in this area, he looks forward to the day; some falcons are circling about up above. There must be something on the ground that draws their interest.
As the library isn’t open on a Saturday Miriam’s week-ends are free; she brings a magazine with in case there’s a chance to peruse it. Jerry’s books are due back quite soon but there’s no hurry to revisit, unless it’s to visit her.
There’s a tree-lined gravel road where they start; it meanders gradually uphill into a hilly, forest area, later the road becomes a pathway and winds around and back down to a river area - on the return there is more hilly terrain; the pathway finally turns off to where the car is parked.
It’s nearly forty degrees centigrade, probably hot enough to cook an egg on a stone - water bottles are full and they’re on their way.
“I think we should walk slowly to start with” Jerry advises. “We have the whole day ahead of us; let’s not wear ourselves out quickly.”
“I agree, this heat is something else” Alan says.
“I hope we don’t get lost” Miriam remarks.
“No, I know this area pretty well, we’ll be fine” Jerry replies.
Sandra is rather quiet but she’s an experienced walker so all should go well. She didn’t sleep well last night and feels a bit dizzy - she has a mild headache. She tells Miriam that she took a headache tablet earlier and has brought more tablets with as well as a few basic first-aid items.
Miriam treads cautiously as she walks behind Jerry who leads, the air is stifling - she’s never really done this type of thing before, her preparation for the hike consisted of walking around town which does not have the kind of hills that the mountain area has. Alan walks at the back, he’s fit from a routine of running and working-out; he and Jerry have walked together often.
The gravel road gradually narrows and turns into a pathway as they start to climb the hill between some tall pine trees. The trees afford some shade from the heat. Jerry has estimated they’ll be out for about eight hours, returning home in the late afternoon.
After a while they stop for their first rest, finding a shady area to sit on the pine needles that grace the forest floor. Both Miriam and Sandra are a little tired; it's time for a snack and a cold drink. It’s peaceful out here, Miriam never realised how relaxing nature could be.
“I’m really enjoying this” she says, smiling at the others.
“Told you you would” Jerry says.
“It’s so quiet and peaceful, can you hear the rushing sound at the tops of the trees? She continues.
“Yes there’s a light wind blowing, it’s an amazing sound, a bit eerie but really cool” Alan says.
“Cool or not, the day is torrid, time if ticking and we must continue” Jerry replies.
Jerry has a lot on his mind, he’s been seeing Miriam for a while now and thoughts of marriage are cropping up frequently. He swore never to marry again after Mara passed away but now that he’s met someone he really likes, and could grow to love, marriage is a prospect he entertains.
The group walk in silence now, each with their own thoughts, they hear some rustling sounds in the trees on the hill above the pathway. Suddenly out of the blue something emerges about ten metres in front of them. At first they can’t make out what it is, they stop immediately, the hair on Jerry’s back rises as he tries to see what it is.
“What was that?” Miriam shrieks, turning pale and starting to tremble.
“I don’t know, but we must keep still” Jerry replies.
Standing, listening and peering about them, they hear the ominous sound of baboons barking; then a troop of them dashes boldly across the path and disappears down the hill.
“Wow, that was scary!” Sandra exclaims; she has turned around and is clutching on to Alan for support. Miriam is frozen on the spot, wondering what might happen next.
Nothing happens, all is quiet again, the baboons have moved on and they’re out of danger.
“You never told me about the baboons Jerry, we might have been hurt” Miriam says crossly.
“Okay, sorry, I didn’t want to put you off, they don’t normally attack unless threatened, they’re probably more scared of us.”
“Well I’m not waiting around to be eaten alive, we must go back!”
“No, we’ll be fine; I’ve encountered baboons in these parts many a time, anyway they don’t intentionally look for humans to eat.”
“I’m scared, just hold me.”
Some time lapses whilst they recover, then they move on. It’s noon when they arrive at the river where they have lunch and a swim. Miriam doesn’t feel like swimming, she’s still shook up. The cool river water is a relief from the stifling heat for the others. They have a picnic rounding off with chocolate and coffee for dessert.
They start to make their way back to where the car is parked, it’s mid-day and Sandra is taking the strain. She’s tired and secretly wishes they could have turned back when they had the encounter with the baboons. The heat of the day is killing her, her headache has intensified, every step becomes an ordeal, yet she doesn’t complain, it’s her nature not to. Alan knows she’s not doing too well and carries her pack which is light.
It’s mid-afternoon, they’re not too far from the end of the hike, walking up an incline when Sandra loses her footing, tripping on a stone in the path; she falls to the side and starts to roll down the hill. Fortunately a mound on the hillside stops her from rolling further. She’s clutching her ankle, obviously in pain. The others rush down to help and to ascertain the extent of her injuries.
“Ooh, it’s my ankle, ooh, so sore!” she exclaims.
“Do you have pain anywhere else?” Jerry asks.
“Not much, my shoulder hurts.”
Her face is contorted with searing pain. It’s possible that she has sprained her ankle, Alan rubs some cream on and bandages it; she can’t walk though, not without assistance. Alan and Jerry help her up and assist her back up to the pathway. It’s going to be difficult to assist her all the way back to the car which is still a few kilometres away. Jerry tries to phone the hospital on his cell phone but it’s lost the signal here in the mountains.
There’s still a few hours of daylight left so between them they decide that Alan will walk back to his car, and drive to the hospital for assistance. The others find a place under some trees to rest, Sandra lies down with her head resting on Miriam’s leg, she’s taken some stronger painkillers and starts to feel drowsy. There's a mood of silence as Alan heads off for help. The sound of baboons barking in the distance does not particularly worry them.
Some time later Alan returns with two medics with a stretcher. After questioning Sandra about her condition, carefully they put her on the stretcher and start on their way back to where their ambulance is parked. The going is tough on this hilly terrain, they have to be careful not to trip and fall themselves; a number of rests are needed along the way.
It’s just after six in the evening when they all arrive at their destination and the sun is starting to dip behind the mountain on its journey to the horizon. Soon it will be dark; they have made it in time.
“We’ll take Sandra to the hospital for further medical checks, we’ll see you there” one of the medics says.
“Alright see you there; no worries” Jerry replies.
Back at the hospital Sandra is soon attended to; she has definitely sprained her ankle and will need to rest it. They put ice on it and later replace the bandage. Her other injuries are minimal, a few bruises, a sore shoulder, she’ll be okay.
Will Miriam ever go hiking again? She’ll have to think about that one, those baboons really unnerved her and Sandra’s fall has made her wary of this hiking thing. Jerry doesn’t say much more about it, he knows she’s a library girl, not really one for the great outdoors.
We can always go and stay at the ocean though; she’ll surely be keen on that? He muses.
“Will you marry me?” Jerry asks one mild autumn morning, ring in hand.
“What? Marry… marry you? Um… I'll have to think about that - yes of course I will you crazy fool, I was wondering if you’d ever ask!” she exclaims throwing her arms around Jerry and kissing him lovingly.
“Okay, let’s not get too excited, I’m not twenty anymore” Jerry replies, as he steers them to the couch.
“How soon can we do it, I mean, get married?” She asks, all excited now.
“Soon as you like, why wait?”
“Well that’s it then, in three weeks’ time I’m walking down the aisle with you.”
“Okay, but we’ve got to find a venue, and I need a suit and…” he mumbles on, thinking of all the preparations ahead. They believe they’re going to be alright together, no doubt they will. There’s so much to see to, where do they start?
“Let’s make a list” she suggests.
“I’ve got one in my head” he replies.
“Let’s make one anyway, I’m a librarian, everything must be done in a neat and orderly fashion…”
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Do you think Jerry & Miriam will have a happy marriage?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2015 David Edward Lynch