Misc held onto the Knight firmly as his steed carried them high into the golden mist. All around vast vistas were revealed. Minarets and turrets of burnished metal sparkled on distant mountain tops. The ivory towers of a university and the pinnacles of fame and fortune beckoned brightly in the farther reaches. In the middle distance a river meandered through a Tyrolean landscape. Misc spied a pleasure cruiser plying the waters.
“You see,” said the Knight. “There are dreams left to you. There are mountains yet to climb and rivers yet ford.”
Misc’s head spun with possibilities. There was so much to speculate about. “I could travel,” she mused. “I’ve always wanted to Monet’s garden in France and the Potala in Tibet. Perhaps I could take a latter day grand tour and see the world.” As she dreamed visions of interminable airport lounges, bone shaking train journeys and days spent mindlessly filing past monuments with groups of obese tourists clicking cameras made her momentarily loosen her grip on the Knight. She slithered around on the horse’s back trying to regain her composure.
“Steady on,” said the Knight. “I’ve more to show you.” Beneath them green fields lush with an abundance of edible crops stretched around a homely cottage. Solar panels glinted on its roof. Misc imagined herself living a self sufficiency lifestyle. The logistics of just how she’d be able to do the physical work involved intruded and she slipped further down the horse’s back.
“I did warn you,” said the Knight. “I’m a big picture kind of guy. I don’t do detail. I like to envisage things and conjure up expansive possibilities.”
Misc slipped further down the horse’s back. “Come, I’ve still more to show you,” called the Knight enticingly but it was too late. Misc had slipped too far and now tumbled down through the clouds. Teacups and text books swirled around her. Gas bills and doctor’s appointment cards fluttered by. Worldly concerns crowded in on her.
“How can I travel the world or farm a smallholding sustainably,” she moaned. “I’m too old and too tired and too sick to know where to begin.”
“Always too something,” said a young boy who materialised beside her. “Don’t worry so much. It’ll all work out in the long run.” He skipped in front of her and launched himself over a precipice with a leap of blind faith. A small white dog danced across the breach after him. Misc watched them go while she herself landed with bump in a moon lit room. Wax from a burning candle dripped on her fingers.
“Ow,” she said. A feeling of deep sadness engulfed her as a beautiful man fled from her gaze with a look of despair. Misc looked around and saw five cups on the floor in front of her. Most had been knocked over. Their contents spilled out over the ground. Only one remained standing.
“What have I done,” wailed Misc as she surveyed the mess. “If only I hadn’t acted the way I did I wouldn’t be in the mess I’m in now. I’ve screwed up and now I’ve left myself with nothing and no one. I’m in such a miserable situation and part of it is my own stupid fault. I have been my own worst enemy.” At the same time she felt a surge of rage against the golden Knight and his prancing, dancing steed. “He was just so unrealistic,” she fumed. “All that big picture stuff. It’s just not enough. Visions have to be grounded in fact. His way just won’t cut the mustard or even pay the gas bill.” She sulked and cried bitter angry tears.
A tear fell with a plop into the cup that remained standing. The sound caused Misc to stop her wailing. She picked up the cup and peered into the milky depth. Impetuously she lifted the cup to her lips and took a sip. The sweet liquid steadied her and she felt a surge of strength flowing through her. She dried her eyes and contemplated the view in front of her. A faint trail led away from the ruined bedroom where she sat. Following it with her eyes she saw it led towards mountains encircled with a golden mist similar to the one the Knight had flown into. The trail looked to be hard going but not impossible.
“Maybe I can find a way to travel that path,” Misc murmured to herself. “After all I have done things in my life that others considered really difficult. There was that time I reversed a car down a mountain when a fallen tree blocked the way home. The baby in the car seat cried the whole bleeping time and the snow flurries obscured visibility. I made it down though and got the baby home safely by taking the alternate route across the ravine. I took my time and negotiated the treacherous roadway. When I got home the others said one miscalculation would have led to us plunging to our deaths.” The memory filled her with resolve. Although the recalled event had happened when she was decades younger and she’d embellished the retelling with ridiculous exaggeration there was a kernel of truth to the tale. It did represent a time when she had found unexpected reserves of courage and self discipline within herself. “Maybe I can find some of that inner strength again,” she thought. “Maybe I can find the wherewithal to travel the path that lies ahead even though I cannot truly see just where it is going.”