Over the Bridge
First published 2007
Copyright © Tony Lazar 2007
Trust Bridge - - - Hill of Expectations - - - Into the River
Land of Treasure - - - Cuba - - - The River
THE river glided past gently, winding its way effortlessly on. On the sandy bank sat a vole, who watched the fish rise and fall between the reeds.
He was lost in daydreams, thinking back to how he played as a youngster; paddling in the water, fishing for minnows and enjoying the innocence of youth. In those days he had lived downstream, comfortably safe and happy. Recently, however, he had felt little comfort. Restlessness plagued him.
Gazing out across the water, he somehow felt as if his temperament was inextricably linked to the meandering currents of this little river. Although spring had arrived, the river was not very full. It was shrinking; like his world, for the vole felt a steadily growing fear ebbing along the once peaceful shores of his mind. He could feel change in the air. He wanted change.
Maybe it was just because spring promised new beginnings. Beginnings and changes he had often mused upon during his days gazing out along the river. As he watched the light play off the shifting waters, he cast his intention to the river, imagining it carried like a stray leaf upon the meandering current. Absorbed in his thoughts, he started as the reeds stirred beside him.
A little face, marked by two wide, bright eyes peered back at him through the reeds. A field mouse. The vole froze and across the small distance their eyes met. Both hesitated, not speaking, caught in each others’ gazes. Something unsaid passed between them. A strange sense of recognition; an uncanny knowing between strangers. Both felt the connection. The vole spoke first.
“Hello, I’m Milo.” He cast a glance over the mouse’s small frame, “Are you alright?”
“Well actually I just wanted a bit of safety,” explained the field mouse, her soft voice breathless from what Milo sensed was fear, “Would you mind if I stayed here a while?”
“Of course. Welcome to Sandy Banks. This is a safe haven from the wide world.”
The mouse inclined her head, “Oh, thank you. I’m Daisy, by the way.”
Formality passed from their conversation in an instant and they talked like long-lost friends; time stood still that afternoon. There was a timeless flow to their conversation and they were so absorbed in each other’s words that they barely noticed dusk approaching, until they were jolted out of their reverie by the sounds of twilight. Milo knew of a sheltered spot and suggested that they retire there for the night. He led the way to a secluded, cosy little hole concealed by bushes. It was an ideal place to stay, given the nervous glances Daisy threw over her small shoulders. For the first time in weeks, she felt protected and content.
When twilight gave way to darkness, both Milo and Daisy found sleep impossible, as they were still excited by the day’s events. In this quiet dwelling, safe and separate from the outside world, they found a pleasant intimacy borne of the trust between new found friends.
Daisy glanced across at Milo, noting the flecks in his dark brown coat and the gentle fawn colour of his snout. She felt the urge to confide in him and huddled closer. She began her story.
“As far back as I can remember I have always been bothered by things more than the others in my family. I felt myself deeply affected by the moods of others, overwhelmed by emotions and often prone to tears.” A glassy look came to Daisy’s eyes, “My brother and I would often play in the meadows. But one morning he was seized by a cat, taken just like that, right in front of me. I gave chase, but he was gone.”
Her voice hitched and she blinked as Milo set his paw upon hers. She managed a tremulous smile and continued.
“I remember praying, sobbing and finally returning home alone. I could not escape my mind that night and I replayed the disaster in morbid detail over and over until I heard his voice. There he was, bold as brass!
As he recounted what had happened, I remember feeling as if a part of me had suffered through his terrifying ordeal. He explained how he had escaped and seemed, after the initial shock, to shake off the event. In fact he wore his escape as a badge of honour and gained the status of a hero.”
Daisy shook her little head, curling her tail tightly around her for comfort, “But I found myself dwelling on the fright of his kidnap and imagining all the possible things that might have happened. I realise now that I took on the belief that the world was a dangerous place and I became more cautious and timid than before.
For so long, I have lived in a constant state of worry.
I have been at my wits’ end. In fact, earlier, I thought that I had seen the cat so I ran in any direction to escape. That is how I burst through the undergrowth and arrived at Sandy Banks.” She cast Milo a warm glance, which seemed to chase the shadows from her eyes. “Thank you for being so kind, for a wonderful day and for listening to my story”.
Milo, brought back to the present moment, felt struck by the fineness and delicacy of her features, which reflected her highly sensitive spirit. With such trust between them, he felt ready to share something that had happened to him, but as she wiped away the tears from her cheeks, he decided it could wait. Judging by the soft sag of her previously hunched shoulders, he sensed a burden had been lifted. She began slipping into restful slumber. Milo did not want to disturb her. There was time enough to tell his tale. For now, they had found each other and for the time being, they were enjoying some peace.