Written by Lis Schröder
I, too, have once been to Arcadia. I had a job near the border, just for a couple of days and with moderate success, and now I was on my way back home by car. It was a day in July, deep blue sky, strong sun and glimmering asphalt, and somehow I lost my way. Due to an accident the highway was closed and an overland detour had been signposted. I took it, drifting in a seemingly never-ending stream of cars. But soon after passing some curves and junctions where the signage was not distinct I found myself alone on the country road. Grainfields to the left and to the right, the low hum of the motor and all around midday silence.
The car window was open and a warm and dry wind came in, making the leaflets that I had carelessly thrown on the front seat flutter. I turned the radio on, Genesis was playing. I turned the radio off and noticed a slight feeling of hunger. The satnav had been out of order for quite some time, and as I had lost my bearings a little bit, I stopped on the edge of a field and tried to define my position.
I heard a car approaching from behind. When it was overtaking me, I looked up because its slowness was drawing my attention. It was a grey Mercedes, a model from the eighties. The man at the wheel was staring at me. Driving by our gazes clung to each other for one or two seconds, then he accelerated and drove off.
According to my cell phone, I was close to the city. I did not like that too much, but I decided to stay on this road and finally let the city signage lead me back to the highway again, instead of getting desperate trying to find my way back to the detour from here.
I stayed on the road which led me across a bridge and into a suburban scenery, a peaceful neighborhood with magnificent old trees. I drove on and saw the houses to the left and to the right becoming mansions, and now and then the abundant green on the side of the road gave way to a view of the riverside, breeding in the sun.
Eventually, the road bent sharply and moved away from the riverside. I drove on, turned right and left haphazardly and finally found myself in a driveway in front of a massive iron gate. Behind it I could see still more green and more mansions. I do not know why I did this, also with a serenity which was completely untypical for me: I got out of the car, stepped up to the gate, caught the attention of the security guard, who had been dozing in his lodge, and asked: ″Excuse me, what is this here?″ – ″Arcadia″, he replied, looking at me with friendly indifference. ″Who shall I say is here?″
Elisabeth (Lis) Schröder 2015