“A Moments Wrest”, Chapter 2: Stranger In A Strange Land
2 Stranger In A Strange Land
Oren Samuel Barrat stared over the clear blue waters. Even from his angle on the beach, he could see the bottom for quite a distance. There was not one ripple on the water’s surface, even with the pleasant breeze in the air.
The mystery of the sand bothered him. He was certain he walked the shore, yet he could not recall one detail along the way. What happened to his footprints? He had not noticed any tide to come in and wash them away.
But it was more than just that. He could not remember why he was even there. Where had he come from?
It was so difficult for Oren to think. He had always prided himself as a quick thinker, able to figure things out and solve problems with relative ease.
But not here. One would assume this place would stimulate thought and clarity. For Oren, he found the opposite was true. His thoughts seemed scattered, disconnected.
And yet, he was at ease. He stepped back a few feet and sat down in the dry sand. His curiosity of what was ahead up the beach had waned as he watched the water pool in the holes left by his feet. Two footprints at least.
He lifted his eyes to the lake once again. It was mesmerizing.
His thoughts drifted away from all that troubled him.
Sarah awoke with a buzzing in her jeans pocket, and a pain in her side. She had fell asleep leaning against the arm of the chair beside the hospital bed. There was a blanket over her. A nurse must have come during the night and placed it there. That was kind.
She opened her eyes and adjusted herself up in the chair. She reached into her pocket and checked the notification on her phone. Uh… not now! She heard voices just outside the curtain, and Sarah recognized one of them. She quickly put her phone in her purse and popped a mint into her mouth. She fluffed her hair with her fingers just before Lora Barrat stepped in.
Lora and Sarah’s relationship did not start off well, although it was hardly Sarah’s fault. Lora was of the proper and private sort. She had high expectations of everyone around her, but most mostly of herself. There was the right way to go about things, and there was most everyone else’s.
As she got along in years, Lora’s way seemed less and less evident in society. People simply did not carry themselves with the poise she was instructed in, especially the young women. This caused her to worry about the world in which her little grandson would grow up, and what kind of woman he would marry one day. She was convinced she had been raised in the height of American sophistication. Everyone had a role, and if everyone did their role, the world moved along swimmingly. She learned these tried and true ways from her mother, and her grandmother before her. Who to pass them on to?
When Sarah met her son, Oren was already engaged to a delightful young lady from their home state. He was in his senior year of university, with his life suitably mapped out ahead of him.
This would begin with a Southern wedding the summer after graduation, followed by a career appointment with one of her husband’s clients. Everything was going according to plan until Sarah Lynch stepped on campus as a mid-term student. They went out shortly after to a specialty coffee bar. Oren was delighted to discover they shared an appreciation for latte art. “It’s all in the pour”, she told him. And he believed her.
The life plan unraveled quickly after that. Oren broke off the engagement with the first girl several months before anything started with Sarah. Despite his efforts, she made sure of that. She was not interested in being a rebound statistic. “A perfect latte takes care, effort and precision”, she told him. “If you rush it, you ruin it.”
He had no option but to believe her then either.
“Mom”, Sarah said softly while rising up from the chair. “Thank you for keeping Aaron the extra night,” Sarah added. Lora could only nod. Her little grandson remained with her husband Gregg at their home. She came as soon as the morning broke. Lora took several steps closer and when she looked at her son lying in the bed, her properly managed demeanour melted. Sarah stepped in to put her arm around her mother-in-law. They both cried.
Oren sat up. He had been lying on the beach for what felt like hours, except there was no way for him to know for sure. He did not have a watch, and his phone was not with him. There were no sounds other than the slight lapping of the water. There had been no visitors; nobody had walked by. He thought it strange he was the only one enjoying this wonderful beach.
But it was more than that. Nothing had moved. There were no animals scurrying or birds flying. He had seen not one insect buzzing. Nothing! Only the air moved around him. He looked at the sky and over to the far tree line. Not a cloud in the sky.
And then there was the sun…
The sun had not moved one inch in the sky. It was in the exact same spot when he first noticed it while standing in the lake. Not possible, he thought. I have sat here way too long!
He stood again in a slight panic and spun around, looking for anything normal. Off in the far distance he saw something new: two grey clouds were hanging apart in the sky. It was the first ones he’d seen all day. That’s more like it. But as he watched, they slowly moved together to form one larger cloud. Soon, a mist fell from it, creating a sparkling ribbon of it’s own. He knew what it was. Rain.
…continued with Chapter 3