Marcus and Eva returned to the lodge the next day, where they were greeted by Dorothy. She gave them some of her homemade root beer and asked them how they had fared on their adventures. They related the story of the water and the burn and she insisted that she be allowed to examine Eva.
It turned out that Dorothy was a licensed nurse and often treated people who ran across her path, whether guests or not. “I’m not just some ’root beer lady’ she said,” when she told she was a nurse. “Even go back to the city every year to keep my license up to date and make sure my skills are sharp.” She said and she smiled at Eva.
After examining the leg, she recommended seeing a doctor right away. She even offered to radio ahead so that someone would be ready for them in town. They thanked her and made their way to the cabins to gather their things and said their goodbyes.
Once underway and heading back home, it started to snow. Lightly at first, but then more strongly, so it was a serious storm by the time they reached their car that evening.
“It occurs to me,” said Eva as they waited for the car’s heater to start warming the car as they drove, “That anyone whose favorite things include snowflakes that stay on their eyelashes is probably expecting they’ll be near a warm fire soon, or they’re clinically insane.”
Marcus smiled and listened to Eva talk for awhile, before putting his arm up on the back of the seat so Eva could slide over next to him. Carefully, they made their way back into Ely, MN (the nearest town with a hospital) and got in to see the doctors.
After waiting what seemed to be an interminable amount of time, they were seen by the doctor. He unwrapped the bandages, washed the blister and asked for details about what happened. He told them the burns looked to be second-degree, that they should keep them wrapped with clean bandages and keep the skin clean with soap and water, and to see their regular doctor at the first sign of infection. Then he had the nurse re-dress the wounds and charged them and sent them on their way.
The snow lessened as they made their way back south toward Saint Cloud. They had bought a home and fixed it up, and would be entering for the first time as newlyweds when they returned. About halfway back, Eva looked up at Marcus and said, “You know, that Dorothy had a great place. I’d love to get one for the two of us.
Somewhere in the middle of nowhere, where we could just be and live off the land.” Inside some small corner of Marcus’s mind, the little boy who told his mother he’d go live in the woods punched the air. He squeezed her a little tighter then and knew for the second time in two days, that he would never let her go as long as he lived.