After a four-hour flight, separated from each other, deprived of parental care, the children were noisy and hungry. The mother silently seethed. Her Subject was not inexperienced. He quickly lugged all the luggage, gathered the children skillfully, and marched them orderly to a restaurant in the airport. He knew just what the children wanted and informed the waitress politely the urgency of serving hungry children in a timely manner. “Give me a stiff drink,” Athena said to the waitress.
“Contact the airline, and get our return flight seat assigned together,” Athena ordered Her Subject, still incensed.
The holiday must have overwhelmed the travelling industry. It took over an hour to get the rental car reserved weeks ago. Weary travelers waiting in line murmured dissatisfactions among themselves. Several other children wailed while their exhausted mothers tried to calm them in vain. One young toddler fell asleep on the floor. Our children, on full stomachs, fared better. They quietly told each other fairy tales. Two groups in front of us didn’t reserve vehicles large enough for all of their luggage. While waiting in line, we watched them playing luggage Tetris and failing for over an hour. The children watching in amusement also tried to solve the luggage puzzles for them to no avail. When we finally we got our vehicle, it was almost a triumphant movement. The children sang cheery tunes loudly.
Her Subject reserved a cabin in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. The family were going to spend about ten days there. The children were singing happily in the back seats and Athena was calming down from the earlier flight fiasco.
Soon we were on the winding mountain road ascending into the Sierras. Majestic mountains on one side, steep valleys on the other as we zigzagged among them, crossing rivers and streams sporadically. The feel of a relaxing vacation started to settle in. “Let’s see who can spot a bear first,” the children exclaimed as we passed a watch-for-bears sign.
Shortly one of our daughter got car sick from the mountainous road. The atmospheric pressure change caused earaches and the children starting whining. We heard a heaving sound and soon smelled it. One daughter threw up. The foul odor contaminated the entire vehicle instantly. The picturesque view became a little less enjoyable than a minute ago. Her Subject put his foot down the gas pedal heavily.
It wasn’t long before we arrived at the cabin. Her Subject found the key under the welcome doormat. It was a rustic wood cabin on a steep hill in the mountain, surrounded by old forest growth. The trees appeared to be hundreds of years old, proudly thrusting themselves high up in the sky. To Her Subject’s delight, he found a wooden deck with outdoor furniture in the backyard. He quickly prepared a bowl of chips and milk for the children, two glasses of wine for the adults, and then invited his family to join him in relaxation in the backyard in the old forest.
The children stared at the old growth forest in awe. “These trees are gigantic! Do you think there are fairies and forest spirits protecting them?” The children said while enjoying their milk and snack.
The backdoor opened and Athena emerged. Her Subject handed her the glass of wine. Athena looked relaxed and happy. “This place is beautiful,” she said with a smile. The door sprang close with force while Athena’s hand was still on the handle, her smiled disappeared. “The door locked itself! I left everything inside!”
“Are we going to sleep outside tonight? Have only chips for dinner? Will the bears come out at night? Are they going to eat us?” The children started to worry. “We have chips and milk, and you have only wine!”
“Oh don’t worry children,” Athena offered assurance to the children. “Mom and dad can survive on wine for a long time!”
“But you didn’t bring out the whole bottle,” the children observed.
“I left everything inside too,” Her Subject said. “I’m not even wearing shoes!” They looked each other in the eyes, not saying anything to each other but knew what each has to do. One had to look for help and the other had to stay with the children.
“I’m going to see if I can find Internet access, look up our landlord’s phone number and ask her for help,” Her Subject said, “I don’t think the landlord lives too far away. If we are lucky, she’ll be home, and she can get here before too dark.”
Her Subject started walking on the forest floor without shoes. He didn’t have the foggiest idea where to find Internet access.