Mary of Martialis always made herself worthy of her name, always and everywhere. Martial, firm, and determined was their presence. She never let any doubt about her determination. Under normal circumstances. But these were certainly not normal circumstances. Not only had she left the city behind with all her amenities, she also steered directly to the nowhere.
„Rottal, 81 inhabitants,“ she whispered in her head, „My God, what do I want there? That must be a damn big penny money that pays off. “
The more distant the city became, the more empty the streets. She could feel her neck twine. Even the sky seemed to be becoming more and more gloomy, in keeping with their mood. In Gmünd she stopped again. To spend a last night in civilization was her purpose, as far as Gmünd was concerned at all. To her surprise she found a passable hotel. Of course, it was no comparison to what she was used to, but the rooms were clean and the bathroom comfortable. As she slackened in the warm water, sipping again and again at her sparkling wine, she tried to think as little as possible of the next day, which was as inevitable as the ebb after the flood. But she felt stronger when she finally took the next step, out of a place half-way after, into the wilderness.
„Everything is to be crossed if you have a goal in mind,“ she said again and again.
The road snaked through the landscape, but Maria had no eye for the landscape, which was nothing but the absence of civilization. Wild and untamed, that was landscape. If she went after her, this would not be the case at all, but she could go back, as opposed to the people who lived here. Her apartment did not disappear.
„How could you live there voluntarily?“, it shot through her head again and again, while she obediently followed the instructions of her navigation device. More and more rare were the human habitations, and correspondingly the distance between the one and the next larger. Only a few kilometers, she would have made it, but these few last kilometers became more and more a nightmare, because of all the excess a wild snowmobile had used, so the visibility deteriorated. A violent storm swept the snow on the road, so that Maria was forced to drive slower. The sky darkened. Where had the road been? Suddenly the car was stuck. Annoyed, she stepped through the accelerator, causing the engine to cry, but the wheels just turned and whirled the snow. Otherwise nothing happened. After several unsuccessful attempts, she sank into the leather-covered seat, exhausted. It was hopeless. What should she do? After all, she could not just stay here and wait until the spring came.
„Help!“, It shot her through her head, „You must get help. But how?“ Hollow she reminded herself that she had passed a quadrangle. Although she had no idea how long ago it was, she decided to try it, because a farm, which probably meant that there was a tractor that could take her. Struggling against the snow and the storm, she stomped across the no-man’s country road. The wetness and the coldness spread through their boots and clothing. She reached the farm while she was dripping, but it did not make much difference, the sky had already darkened.
„My God, what is the matter with you?“ She received the peasant woman, wiping her hands on the apron, in her wide Waldviertler dialect, „Come in and warm up.“
„This is very friendly, but I must go on, and my car, which is hanging in the snow,“ Maria explained quickly.
„We will not find that today,“ said the peasant girl, shaking her head, „where are you going?“
„To my grandaunt, who lives not far from here,“ replied Maria, „But what about my car?“
„Great-aunt? This can only be the Zirbenbäuerin, „thought the farmer, while she braced her hands resolutely in her wide hips.
„Magdalena Zwick is her name,“ Maria said exhausted.
„Yes, I say. This is really not far. The Luisl will bring you, and because of the car, we’ll look at each other tomorrow,“ said the farmer with a quiet, as if it were a trifle, „Luisl! Come the lady to the Zirbenbäuerin. „The cry was followed by an audible step, and a tall, fat man appeared in the doorway, which he almost filled.
„This is my son,“ said the farmer to Maria, „as well as he is at work, he is so slow in his head.“ So she turned to him again, „What is now?“
„Must be?,“ he said slowly.
„Yes, that must be,“ declared the mother, and so Maria sat a moment later in the cab of the tractor, wedged between the door and the lull. How glad she was when they were driving a lonely farmstead. Meanwhile the night had broken, but a warm, inviting light streamed from the windows. She would never have dreamed that she would ever be grateful to arrive somewhere, even in the middle of nowhere. This little cottage seemed to her like the last, invincible bastion against sinking into nothingness. Then the door opened and a slender figure appeared. Slowly she walked towards the tractor.
„Greetings to God, Luisl. What are you doing here with me in such a weather? „Asked the woman.
„Good evening Zirbenbäuerin,“ replied the Luisl politely, „I’ll bring you somebody with me. The mother was worried. „Mary slowly turned to the corner of the cab where she had crouched.
„Maria,“ the Zirbenbäuerin said with joy, when she recognized her, „Nice that you are there.“
„Hello Aunt Magdalena!“, Maria managed to squeeze between the blue-frozen lips. Shortly afterwards she was warm.
The cottage was small but cozy. There was not much, but still it did not seem to be poor, not as it knew the poverty, come down and neglected. Rather it was clean and well maintained. A warm bath was ready, and after she had finally heated up again, and had changed her wet clothes against dry, she sat beside her aunt, drinking tea, sweet, strong tea in small sips. It was as if she felt her warmth for the first time in her life. It was good to be there.
„Nice to see you there,“ repeated her aunt. The fire lingered in the fireplace. Quiet and tamed, yet full of power. Maria thought her aunt looked as if she were like this fire. She had arrived and knew she was accepting. Perhaps it was what she had always missed in her life, which she had found neither in expensive clothes nor in other things to buy, to be accepted. Here, at the end of the world, it had to happen to her, with all self-confidence. But maybe it was just the exhaustion that made her soften. Who could know that so exactly. A short time later she slept quietly and contentedly.
And it was the first day of the Advent and another line in the web image that was her life. Still, it was not to be seen, because it was something completely new, which started here.