by Lissa Grinstead
Disclaimer: I don't own any of them, much to my chagrin.
I must confide this to you, as no one I know will ever believe me... in fact, if they drew the conclusion that I believed this, they would likely have me locked away. But I know it is true, as unlikely as it may seem. I know it. This is not merely a symptom of wishing or wanting it to be true. It IS true.
Granted, as time passes, I do find myself more and more inclined to forget the experience and doubt that it happened. I don't want to forget, but it seems like it is fading more and more with every moment. So I am writing it down, so that I may remember, even if no one believes me. I believe. I have to believe.
It all started when I was getting ready to go out dancing. I only remember that much because the outfit I was wearing is important. I was wearing a dark green slip dress. I must have done something to hit my head or something, because I remember falling down.
When I woke up, it was dark. I also noticed that I was outside. This was really strange because the last place I remembered being was in the kitchen. Yet I was outside, and in the middle of nowhere no less. There were a few trees around, and off in the distance, I could see the outline of a few buildings. I stood up, and I was very dizzy. My head hurt a great bit. But I decided it would be better to head towards those buildings than to stay where I was.
And perhaps I could find some help there. Anything was better than staying where I was.
So I walked. It seemed to take forever, but I don't know if that was because it was a long walk or because I really didn't feel well. I felt as though I was distanced from something. And I distinctly remember feeling like I was fading, but I continued on.
Each step was arduous. I wanted nothing more than to sit down and sleep. But I could see the town growing closer. I knew that I could rest there. Where I would rest and where I would get help, I did not consider. All that mattered was getting there.
When I walked into the town, I was shocked. Actually, I was sure I was dreaming. It looked a lot like the set from my favorite show! But the really odd thing about it was that it was not a set. There were no cameras or lights. It was a real town. This shook me. But I continued on. By this point, I could hear music and laughter coming from a building. I was pretty sure I was delusional, but I headed toward what I knew to be the saloon.
I opened the door and went in. Or at least that was what I meant to do. I actually fell in. Within moments, a man was on me, pawing at my dress in a most offensive manner, but I didn't have the strength to fight him. I didn't have to. I heard a voice... a soft, southern voice that I would ordinarily have said belonged to Ezra Standish, except that I knew that to be impossible... say "I suggest you leave." But the individual didn't really take note of his words. I heard a loud crack, and the man moved. There was a click, and Ezra... I'd decided that was who he was anyway for the time being since it was just as easy to accept that as anything else... said, "I recommend you effect a swift departure."
Then he was helping me to my feet. I looked into his eyes... his gorgeous green eyes. He escorted me to a chair and took off his jacket. "Let's get you covered up, Miss..." he paused and looked at me. It was obvious he wanted me to tell him my name. He draped his jacket around my shoulders.
The funny thing about it is this: I knew it. I knew my name... I did. Right up until that moment, I knew my name. But when he asked me for it... I completely forgot it. I thought I knew his name... but I didn't know my own. It was strange, and disorienting.
I looked at him, but I didn't say anything.
He glanced down for a moment. "I see. Well, let's get you out of here, all right?"
I nodded as he helped me to my feet.
As we left the saloon, he said softly, "Allow me to introduce myself. Ezra Standish at your service."
I was shocked. Not only was I in Four Corners, I was with Ezra Standish. And I don't mean the actor who played him. I mean Ezra. It was really strange. I must have stopped walking, because Ezra turned to me and asked me if I was all right.
I remember laughing when he asked that. And I remember he'd begun to chuckle as well.
That was when he took me to see Nathan. I was bewildered to say the least.
That is all I really remember of my first day in Four Corners.
The next morning, when I first woke up, before I opened my eyes, I thought it had been a dream. But as I lay there, I heard two voices talking. Nathan and Ezra. I actually sat up and screamed.
Both men had run into the room concerned. I remember that Ezra had his gun out and was looking around warily. Then he looked back at me.
"What's wrong, missie?" Nathan asked me.
"I thought... I thought it was a dream," I sputtered out before I could stop myself.
They both looked at me curiously, and I felt like I had to elaborate. "I thought last night was a dream."
Ezra raised an eyebrow and nodded.
Nathan looked at him. "Why don't you get her some clothes from the General Store?"
"Me? Mr. Jackson, do I look like a haberdasher?"
When he said that, I started laughing. He was just like the Ezra I knew. But the really memorable thing was that when Nathan couldn't see him, he turned to me and winked. With that wink, I realized just how involved Ezra really was with everything. He just didn't want to admit it to the others.
"Given them fancy clothes you're wearin', yes you look like a haberdasher."
"You don't have to go to all that trouble for me," I said. Both of the men looked at me.
Then Ezra replied, "My dear, you simply cannot go around appareled in the manner in which I found you."
I was momentarily confused, then realized that my slip dress, perfectly normal in the here and now (or was it the there and then... whatever, in what was really my present) was completely out of place in the old west, if that was truly where I was.
Ezra smiled at me and began to leave the room. That was when he came in... Chris Larabee, intimidating in his manner from the stark black clothing he was wearing to the scowl that was on his face to the steely stare in his seawater eyes. Though I knew him to be one of the good guys, I still tried to deflect attention away from myself. This I did the easy way, the way a child does it. I covered my head with the blanket.
The sound of his voice was gravelly as he tried to get information about what had happened, and where I had come from, from Nathan. The poor man was worried that there might be some renegades roaming the area, kidnapping young ladies. So he wanted all the information I could provide.
But the strange thing was that whenever I wasn't trying to remember where I was from, I could. But the moment I thought about it, the memories vanished, and what I could recall sounded so outlandish I had no doubt they'd think me touched.
As the days went by, I found myself becoming more and more involved in the town. I met Buck and JD, who were in the middle of teasing one another. And I met the silent tracker... Vin. As I got to know him, I realized that it was because of his comfort with himself and those around him that he was so quiet. I know that I spent a lot of time talking with Josiah. He is a great listener, and he never judged me by what I told him. Truth be told, he probably thought I was just a little bit imaginative.
But I spent a lot of time with Ezra. I would do anything to be near him, and I think he knew that, in his own way. And he never pressed it to his advantage. The dress he'd procured for me (and I don't know how he did it) was a perfect fit. Not only physically….but also for my personality. I loved it.
After a while, my memory of my life here actually faded. Ezra called me "Darlin'", which I loved. The rest insisted on calling me "Katie", but I could never figure out why. I guess they figured I needed a name, and Katie stuck. But it never felt right.
As a matter of fact, though I was happy there, I was also missing a large part of my life, a part I couldn't name.
Ezra seemed to sense that, for he tried to fill the void for me. But as the days passed, I grew more and more despondent. I tried to act happy, but I know he could tell. I guess it was because so much of his own heart is covered in layers that he can see when the layers are up in others. I didn't mind so much being in Four Corners. I just wished I could remember where I had come from.
Now, I have certain cause to regret that that wish came true.
I'm now getting to the part where I know that what happened was real. I met Ezra in the livery. We were going to go for a ride. I think he was thinking that seeing some of the countryside would help me regain my memory.
But when he came in, he took me in his arms and kissed me. We both backed up, actually a bit shocked. That was when I realized he was carrying a bunch of wildflowers. He presented them to me with a flourish.
There were daffodils and Indian Paintbrushes and Daisies. A very odd combination all together. But the paintbrushes reminded me of visiting my grandmother in Texas, and the beautiful bluebonnets of Texas. My grandmother always had bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes in a patch in front of her house, and I always loved those flowers. I was holding him, and the flowers, when the world went black.
When I awoke, I was in my kitchen, wearing the dress Ezra had bought me... and holding a bouquet of flowers.
When I realized where I was, I cried.
The daisies and the daffodils, and maybe even the dress, I could have explained away. You can buy those flowers at a florist. But not the paintbrushes... not here. It is a wildflower, and it doesn't grow here in the middle of winter.
I've preserved it, as a remembrance of my time there, and what I've lost.
I don't know how I got there the first time, or I'd try to go back. I feel like I've lost my world. I cannot talk to anyone about it. And I'm losing the memory of that time.
And this is why I've written this here. The details, as you see, are fading even now. But the color of that Indian Paintbrush shall help to preserve the memory.
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