I ran into Colin. He had traded his kilt for jeans and a tee shirt, and had a bottle of wine in his hand. He was visiting friends across the campground. We spoke briefly, as strangers probing for the possibility of friendship, then he invited me to join them.
It was the guitarist and singer I had talked to in Lausanne, David Jordan and Kristin Hansen.
David and Kristin had brought the ensolite pads out of their tent to lie on and she had her head in his lap. Colin dropped into lotus, slipping his feet up on top of his knees. I have never been able to do that. The best I can manage is a Cherokee squat. Colin handed out plastic cups and passed the wine around. I poured an inch into mine and moistened my lips at the salude. Kristin slipped into the tent and came back with a candle in a fruit jar.
When I had met these three as strangers on the street, I had not told them why I was looking for Raven. Now I did. I had no reason for secrecy, and the time was right.
“So you have no idea where she has gone,” Kristin said.
“No, not really. In Paris, someone said Lausanne. In Lausanne, you said Montreaux.”
“Europe is a big place to search, with no better clues than that.”
“Tell me about it!”
“She might have come in after you checked the hostel in Montreaux.”
“I’ll call the woman I’m working with in the morning, and then make the rounds again.”
They were open and willing to help, but it was more from courtesy than any feeling for my problem. I was painfully aware of the difference in our ages. David and Kristin were barely twenty, off for the summer from some small college in England. Colin was little older. I was nearing thirty. It was a critical decade that stretched between them and me. I felt out of place and a little ridiculous sitting with them. Living close to the ground is something normally reserved for youth. A man my age should be in a suite, living off room service, and looking out at the lake over a manicured lawn, not squatting on his haunches in front of a tent with a fruit jar candle for ambiance. And not with the intention of crawling into a tiny nylon room to sleep in a bag of duck feathers. David and Kristin made me aware of the years between us. As I had felt out of place with Susyn last night, they made me feel out of place here.
I ignored the feeling. A man who lives by what others see in him, will have no freedom.
“Actually,” I said, “Eric is my only hope of finding her. If she were alone, she could go anywhere and do anything, but Eric will have to keep playing his fiddle for money, and that restricts their movements.”
David said, “Let me see his picture again.” I passed it over. While David twisted it about in the candle’s faint light, I described his Hardanger fiddle. It was more distinctive than its player. David said, “The face looks familiar, and the fiddle clinches it. I saw your Eric several times last year when I was making the circuit alone, before I took up with Kristin.” more tomorrow