Where Am I?
Daniela’s eyes were closed as she imagined going down the footpath. As her eyes slowly opened, things looked somewhat different. She was expecting to see a cottage, a cabin, or some kind of residence where Esther might live. In fact, the beautiful surroundings of the footpath had disappeared. There before Daniela was a completely different landscape. In the far distance were large hills growing into what she thought were distant mountains. The valleys had some green, but it looked like it was beginning to dry up and turn shades of green and brown. Even with the drying green it still looked like a desert.
She thought to herself, What kind of place is this? Out there in the middle of the valley she could see what appeared to be walls and some kind of buildings that were very angular. She had no idea what she was looking at. In the middle of this enormous structure were four square, very high towers, and between the towers was an opening that was almost as tall as the towers. After she studied it for a few minutes, it began to look like maybe a city or something. She wasn’t really sure what it was, but it looked huge and just plain magnificent.
Since it was the only thing she could see ahead of her, she decided to head that way. It looked like a long walk, but she continued walking toward the unfamiliar structure. As she got a little closer, she could see some of the details of the front, and it looked like a wall. There were tall pillars with carvings of animals on the front of them. The only animals she recognized were lions. Off to the right, but still in the distance, she could see a long and winding ramp to the tallest entrance she had ever seen. As she walked up the ramp, it still took some time to reach what looked to be a pair of gates.
When she arrived at the entrance, it was even bigger than she first imagined. In fact, the entrance looked like an enormous castle. On each side was a gate but not like any gate she had ever seen before. Each gate was bigger than her backyard was wide, and her backyard was pretty big. As she looked around, she had never seen anything like it in her entire short life. In front of her was a huge, plaza-like space with what looked like rooms off to each side, two on each side. There were a lot of people in the plaza, as well as in those rooms, but no one that Daniela thought she could approach.
As she stood in the gate and looked around, toward the end of the plaza in front of her, her eyes found a small group of men talking and standing in kind of a circle. They were drinking something in silver-colored cups and laughing. As she got closer, she could hear they were speaking but in a language she couldn’t understand and had never heard before. Daniela thought they were telling jokes or something, because they were all laughing. As she walked toward the men, the tallest man had a stern face when he wasn’t laughing, the one wearing the tunic and puffy pants, began to walk toward her. When he approached her, he looked down at her as if waiting for her to say something.
Daniela looked up at him, and with a shaky voice, she asked the man, “Does Esther live here?”
The man’s eyes squinted as though he understood what she asked. He then turned to the other men, and in that language she couldn’t understand, he said something to the men. For a moment the men talked among themselves, and then the tall man standing in front of Daniela pointed in the direction across the very large outside plaza in the direction of what looked like several alleyways and simply said, “That way.” Daniela was puzzled by the encounter with the tall man because he understood what she said and responded in the language she understood.
Daniela never thought of herself as being brave. But this experience was calling on her to do something that looked like bravery. At this point, she was not sure of anything. So off she went in the direction the man pointed. Her surroundings were like nothing she had ever seen before. The people all looked so different, all chattering that same language that she couldn’t understand. There were no sidewalks, no front yards, no stores, and no cars; there was nothing that was familiar to her at all, but she continued as the man had directed. She suddenly came to a stop!
“Wow! Which way should I go?”
Now, there was a choice to be made, because the way she was going suddenly became either right or left or the middle. Daniela thought, Now what?