Lydia's mother turned out not to be at home, which surprised me, but the daughter just shrugged her shoulders. 'She's always on the move, my mother,' she commented and showed me around the house. It was an old farm with a few small, dark rooms. Lydia's own room was turned into a storage; you couldn't even get in, that's how full it was. So we slept in her mother's bed and the following morning made an early start. It would be quite an hazardous hike, she promised me. I watched her dress before the mirror and saw her change from an attractive woman into an even more alluring mountaineer. I too dressed the part with all the gear I brought along in my backpack. We drove of in her battered Renault that laboured up the mountain with Lydia at the wheel expertly negotiating countless hairpin curves until we reached the end of the road. A red and white fence said: “Entrée Interdite”. We got out of the car and continued on foot. It was a steep climb through a tick forest of sturdy oak and pine. There were huge rocks everywhere as if thrown from the sky by ancient, angry gods. I could not discern a path of any kind, but Lydia seemed to know the way. I trusted her, but like an impatient child I asked her 'How long till we get there?'
'Before noon,' she answered and I looked at my watch. Another hour to go. No country for old men, I sighed and followed her in her footsteps and while I struggled and had to suppress the pain in all my bones and joints, Lydia's limbs moved with amazing suppleness.
Last night I had encountered the wildness in her and when afterwards she recited Yeats to me, I thought a vision of terror, that she had lived through, had shattered her soul. She told me of her twin sister who had not survived the mother's womb and how her mother never got over it and lately had started roaming mindlessly around the fields and forests.
At last we came to a clearing that was cut off from the forest by huge rolls of barbed wire. We were well equipped and cut a few holes where we crawled through. I stretched my back and legs and looked up at the mountaintop where I finally, finally recognised the ruins of the monastery that Josht and I had discovered in 1982. It was still there, worse for wear, of course, and practically reduced to ruins. Signs everywhere shouted “DANGER!”, but we ignored them and continued on our search for Josht. Or for a message in the glass, as the note he left me indicated. We walked through what remained of a gate and came to a large hall – perhaps the old refectory – with half the roof gone and a broken stairway in one of the corners. A large door opening – the door itself had long gone – led to another empty hall. There was no glass in the windows, only broken glass on the floor. I did not find a message anywhere. No sign of Josht. I sat down on the lower steps of the stairs and looked around. In the immense silence I heard a rustle, perhaps a patter of some small animal.
'What was that?' Lydia whispered. 'Did you hear that sound?'
I listened and indeed I heard it again, a sound, a whimpering. I looked in the direction of the door and heard it again. 'Josht!?” I shouted and got up. Then there appeared an old woman in the doorway, clothes in tatters, her hair undone. It was a terrible sight. It was as if she came from a world more full of weeping than I can understand.
'My child, my child,' I heard the old woman say and Lydia jumped up and cried: 'Mother! What are you wandering and murmuring about?'