Picture it and Write: The Lady of the Loch

by joetwo

Hi there! This is my offering for this week’s Picture it and Write for Ermilia’s Blog here. Once again the picture is not mine, I only use it for inspiration. Anyway Enjoy!

The Lady of the Loch

I love holidays! To be away from the rat race and schedules is bliss. Instead of being rushed out of bed in the morning I get up when I feel like it and then take a leisurely stroll to start the day. I then do whatever the hell I want but I like the morning walk. I try to do that wherever I go.

A couple of years back I took a week in a friend’s cottage on the shores of a loch in Scotland. The place was perfect. The loch was long enough that I could walk around it after I awoke and have worked up a good appetite by the time I got back. The views were spectacular the whole way around but there was one that particularly got my attention.

The closest part of the shore to the local village had been set up as a local amenity. There was a small car park with picnic benches and a site for camping. There was also a board extending out into the lake for swimming. It was a valuable asset for everyone but the time of year that I came meant that the lake was still too cold for it to be used much.  In fact I only ever saw one person there.

After my first night at the cottage I took my walk around the loch in the morning air. The air was still cool and the waters of the loch mirror-still. I came out from amongst trees into the car park and saw to my amazement another person.

She honestly looked like she had no business being there. All she wore against the cold was a black cocktail dress and bright red shoes. She lay on the board on a red blanket; one hand barely touching the water while the other held a book up into the light. I thought the sight odd but decided I had better not intrude and hurried on my walk.

The next day saw the same thing only this time the dress was a frilly red number. I decided this was strange enough to pass comment when I visited the local shop.

“Oh aye! You mean the Lady o’ the Loch” said the old woman serving who then proceeded to tell me the her story.

It turns out that she was as far from a ‘Lady’ as you can get, at least according to the local women. She was one of those people who think that they don’t belong in the small town that they came from but Katherine, that was her name, had never had the skill or wherewithal to make it farther than Glasgow for an incomplete diploma course.

Instead she lived in a rented room on what little she could scavenge from a number of odd jobs; waitressing, factory work and the like.

Her nights were spent re-living the promise of her younger days. That meant putting on one of her good dresses and heading to the pub to throw herself at whatever man would have her. Whether they were married or not did not matter to her and the fact that she succeeded with great regularity meant she was generally looked down upon by most of the community. They said she was a fallen woman.

However her night turned out she always ended up on the shores of the loch in the morning, freezing in the cold and reading away her latest library book. The old woman said it was a penance, her way to try and make it up to God for what she had done the night before.

But as each day I found Katherine there I came to think it was for a different reason that she was there.

I cannot be sure as we never talked. She never even acknowledged my existence save for a single lift of the hand on the last morning in response to my nod. She was far to engrossed in her book to do anything of the sort. But I could see that the book was the key.

I think this was no penance for her, no place were she could get away from what she had done. But rather out on the loch; alone in the quiet of the morning, was where she could enter the world of the book entirely.

Locked inside those pages I now believe was all of the adventure and romance that life and circumstance had denied her.

In those morning hours, Katherine could forget for a short while what she had become and the Lady of the Loch, in all her finery could hold court as the magic of the word came to her.