He had been walking for quite a while now, the rain showing no signs of letting up. The last week he had felt weaker and weaker. He guessed he was getting sick, but it didn't seem to matter. As long as he still had the strength to move he would.
The autumn had finally arrived, the leafs changing colors, and the shrill cries from the birds migrating troubled him, creating a wild longing in him too.
Even without any clear goal for his travel, and of lately without much money too, making him and it all almost imaginary, he still had this need to move on. As if searching for something, but for what he couldn't say.
He woke up sometime later in a water filled ditch. why he was laying there he couldn't figure out, but the cold didn't seem so bad any more. He reckoned he just could lay back and rest a little before moving on.
Then he heard footsteps running, as if someone was hurrying to see what had happened. A pair of strong hands helped him up, lifting of his rucksack, and as he came up from the ditch he started to shiver uncontrollably.
"What on earth do you think you're doing, sleeping in a water-filled ditch? Are you mad?"
"Mum he's sick. Look at him." He tried to focus on what they were saying but their voices seemed to come and go, and he started to fold up again. She must have been smaller than him but easily strong enough to help him to their car, with her mum taking care of rucksack. She put him on the backseat but not before her mum had laid a plaid over it.
"You smell awful, do you know that? And now we have a problem more. I'll just have to take you in, but you better behave, you hear."
Then he fell down into a darkness not remembering a thing until he woke up in a small but comfortable looking room. It seemed to be on the upper floor of the building as he could see tree crowns outside the window, their vibrant autumn colors gleaming as frozen flames against the waning light.
He couldn't remember how he had gotten into the bed but it didn't matter, it was warm and comfortable and smelled slightly from violets, or was it soap? And he felt clean, for the first time in weeks. Somebody had given him a wash.
It smelt safe somehow he concluded after in vain searching for the right definition. Suddenly he realized that he needed a toilet, badly. As he stood up to walk he found that he sadly had misjudged his condition.
He found himself on knees and hands, feeling rather silly in fact, as if he was some sort of long distance runner preparing for the start. As he was trying to collect his strength for a new try he heard the door open.
He looked up, feeling immensely clumsy as he saw a exasperated young girl look down on him. "And where do we think we are going then?" She asked, her dainty hands on her hips.
"The bathroom?" He muttered questioningly, feeling even more stupid.
But she seemed to understand. She nodded in a almost businesslike sort of way, sharply telling him. "Stay here."
Disappearing to appear almost immediately with what looked most as some strange chair on wheels. She put in the corner, and then went over to him to help him up. She was strong for her size he noticed, reminding him of the hands that had helped him up from the ditch.
"Sit still." She said as she got him into the chair. As he waited for her to start rolling him to the toilet she just stood there beside him, impatiently drumming her fingers.
"Didn't you need a toilet?" He nodded. "Well, there you are." Pointing at the contraption he was sitting on. Suddenly he realized that this was the toilet, of sorts. The seat had a hole to it and under there was a bedpan placed. He flushed a little as he looked at her.
"Thanks, I'll handle it from here." He tried to assure her. She still refused to leave, just looking, as if waiting for him to go. "Look, what's your name?"
"Sandra. I'll do just fine. But I can't when you're looking."
She seemed to understand. but then she asked. "And you're going to do it in your pants?"
'Pants?' what the hell was she talking about? As he looked down he discovered that what he had thought of as his drawers in fact was, just that. A pair of black cotton panties. Suddenly mortified he desperately tried to get them of him, forgetting all about her, when her little hands appeared out of nowhere efficiently helping them off.
"There, I'll leave you now. There's tissues beside you. You can call me when you're finished, but please, don't miss." And then she left him alone to try to sort it out. As he relieved himself he realized that what he had thought of as his nightshirt in fact was a nightgown, and to small too. 'Hers?' but the panties had to be her mothers.
'I'm dressed like some pornographic nightmare' he thought as he tried to relax. Finally finished he succeeded in getting them up himself. But as he tried to make it back to the bed he only made it halfway. She must have stood just outside listening as she appeared instantly, scolding him like some retarded halfwit.
"Stupid, stupid boy. Now, why didn't you call for me. Don't be so embarrassed, I've already seen all there is. You're my responsibility and, oh, you're hopeless, come here." Still grumbling she half helped, half carried, him to the bed, continuously making the same reprovingly noises as she put him under the covers again, but, all of it in a most professional manner.
After being scolded and put to bed I finally can relax to look at her. She's lovely with her raven black hair and brown eyes in a heart shaped face, looking at me as if I was a naughty child. She seems young and sweet, and even when angry she has this friendly bemused, although now slightly imperious, smile while she studies me.
"Listen and learn my mum use to say, and don't be ashamed to ask for help."
"Where is my clothes Sandra?"
"Mum is washing them, those that's whole. We threw away most though, they stank. Be still now so I can." Then she starts to fix with my nightshirt, smoothing it out, and as her hands moves over me, light as butterflies, I feel myself redden. "There." She says sounding satisfied, fondly patting my stomach.
She smiles at me. "Now you look nice."
"Well, we tried to pick boyish things but it was difficult. I let you have my old nightgown, it's a little small but, look, we're having a matched set" she points at her nightgown, still letting her hand rest on my tummy, making a soothing circular motion, as if to calm like some frightened beast while she observes my reactions.
If I like her nightgown? I realize that she wears one just like me, but where mine is black hers is a weak powder blue. "We look like sisters." she tells me as her smile gets wider. Noticing me move away a little she press her hand on my stomach, arresting my motion. "Be still Treasure, I'm not dangerous." Trying to calm me.
"Treasure?" What does she mean?
Feeling slightly embarrassed I can't help but smile with her. Of course she isn't dangerous. It's just me, being nervous that her mother might show up, seeing us this intimate. She is sitting so near me now that I can literary feel her body heat and her smell is just like the bed, violets and soap. She looks at me serenely, seriously. And suddenly I can see the woman she will become. And I can't help it, I'm taken with my vision.
"You're mine." She says looking at me as if I'm some sort of gift from the Gods.
I wait for the revelation, but with none forthcoming I carefully ask, feeling quite perplexed. "I am? And how came that to be Sandra?"
"Mum said that in Japan, if you save someone from killing themselves, they will become your responsibility." She looks at me becoming even more serious.
"And that's what you were doing, wasn't it."
I'm starting to deny it but looking into her eyes I find that I don't really know. And also that I don't want to lie to her, ever. Was that what it had been about? It didn't felt like it then?
"I don't know Sandra, I hope not." I answer, feeling her breath on my face as I look in her serious brown eyes, just inches away from me as they search mine.
She nods as if satisfied with my answer. Then she smiles widely again remembering.
"Mum said we would work out fine. She said you seemed even more stubborn than me. Do you know what Mum called you?"
"She said you're my treasure."
Well, that explains the name at least. It makes me smile hearing her so earnestly declare me her treasure. It seemed as it was Sandra who saw my rucksack sticking up from the ditch, and her that made her mother stop to look. After helping getting me up the room her mum had left me in her care. I want to ask her who it was that washed me, but as I look at her I just know.
"So you think I'm yours then Sandra?" I ask as I look down at her, smiling, sitting so innocently in her blue dress, smelling faintly of soap, summer and laughter.
She nods. "You are, Treasure."
I don't really know how to respond to that name, it makes me feel weird. "And you Sandra, are you ready for me?"
She nods, serious. "I think so."
I can't get a grip on her, just as I think I understand her she throws me another one. "Sandra, I'll be an old man while you still are young."
She smiles at that, and I know I'm exaggerating a little, but there is a age difference here and I want her to stop dreaming about me. She should be dreaming of some boy band, or dolphins, something? Not me.
"Mum told me that I would learn a lot, and that you seems badly in need of learning too."
And there she does it again, making me lose my thread.
.... There is more of this story ...