"People aren't either wicked or noble. They're like chef's salads, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion and conflict."
The man lay sprawled in the mud, unmoving, with his left leg jutting out at an awkward angle. That was the first thing Marie noticed as she happened to pass by him on that foggy morning in April on her way to town, and quite possibly the last thing she expected to see. His clothes and his face were crusted with something dark― not mud, but dried blood, she suspected, or perhaps a mixture of both, and one of his eyes seemed to be blooming a dark, unsightly bruise.
His left leg was bent in a position so unnatural it pained Marie just to look at it. All in all, he did not paint a pretty picture, and Marie feared the worst. Placing her basket on the side of the road (the market could wait), she cautiously approached the man. Unsure of what else to do, she kneeled down and prodded his shoulder gently with two fingertips.
“Sir,” she whispered nervously, glancing around for signs of any other human life. For all she knew, he could have been attacked by bandits, and they could very well be waiting for their next victim. “Are you alright?”
No response. Stupid question anyway, Marie thought, he’s wounded and lying in the middle of the road. Of course he’s not alright. She glanced both ways down the road, looking for any other passerby who might be of assistance. She saw none. Hesitantly, she shook him by the shoulder gently, before asking, in a slightly louder voice than before: “Sir? Sir, can you hear me?”
The fingers on his right hand twitched. Marie let out a sigh of relief, which startled her, as she was not even aware that she had been holding her breath. He was alive, so that was good. But with this new information, Marie could hardly in good conscience just leave him lying in the street.
What to do with the semi-conscious man was quickly becoming a frustration for Marie. Doctor Ames lived across town, and while she was relatively strong, she knew it would be downright foolish to even think she could carry him there, and, considering his left leg, him walking himself there was out of the question.
She had never before seen the man, as best as she could remember, and, as he did not seem to be the most talkative fellow (at least for the time being) so she had no hope of finding out more about him. The only thing she could think to do was to bring him back to her own home, despite the scandal it could possibly cause.
Anyway, Marie thought in an attempt to persuade the society-minded part of her brain, a scandal is only a scandal when it becomes public information, so unless that robin over there on the roadside hunting for worms is planning on telling anyone, there is no logical reason to be concerned. Not that her mother would have been concerned about the logicalities. No, her mother would most likely swoon at the idea of it. But then again, her mother had never been called a logically person, and, more importantly, she lived nearly half a mile away.
Marie could imagine, with her extensive knowledge of her mother’s daily routine, that just about now she would be sitting down to have her morning tea in the parlor. What she did not know could not hurt her, and Marie had no reason to believe that her mother would ever be aware that anything out of the ordinary occurred this morning.
Deciding her logic was sound, Marie felt much better about her planned course of action. The mental image of her mother swooning, however, was still quite stuck in her mind and humorous enough that Marie let out a most unladylike snort.
Decision made, Marie once again shook the man’s shoulder.
|Saoirse Ronan||as Marie|
|Anton Yelchin||as Caden|