Miles and miles away there was a haven of exquisite beauty, serenity and refuge. The rustle of green leaves, the breath of fresh air, the uncontrolled flow of the sea water; nature at its natural best: unguided, unobstructed and free. That was her home.
Looking through the old photographs, she realized what she had lost: a sense of comfort, familiarity and most of all, her own identity, her soul. The distance was not merely metrical, it was metaphorical.
Gone are the days, when she could laugh her ringing laugh. Gone are the days when she could let go of all inhibitions and be herself. Now she is a woman. And of course, freedom is wishful thinking. Those days are gone…because now she is a woman.
As she wiped away the tears falling down her face, her cheeks burned. The night was gone, the bruises remained. Caroline went over to her cupboard to get some ointment. Rubbing it on her face, arms and neck, she saw herself looking back at her from the mirror.
Mrs. Caroline Watson. This is who she is now. Not the lively Caroline who was the heart and soul of her family. She choked at her reflection, unable to come to terms with it.
Mrs. Caroline Watson. Covered with scratches and bruises from last night. What would she answer to her mother, who was coming to town the very day? Hurriedly, she grabbed her make-up kit open to cover up her face. A mask. That’s what she has constructedfor everybody else to see and wish her a happy married life.
She has long forgotten to think of her happiness. It was all for Brian. Everything for Brian. And what did Brian give her?
She looked at her bruises again.
Last night was like every other night. Brian returned late from work, Caroline served him dinner, and went off to complete her leftover chores. Then why did he thrash her? She never knew, and if she dared ask, the result was detrimental for her. He would continue being harsh to her, hitting her head with a lamp, slapping her twice, thrice, over and over again. Why? Only he knew… And this had become a daily routine for her.
‘Not anymore’, she’d think everyday. Not anymore. But the routine followed..
She had lost her soul. No, her soul didn’t exist anymore.
It was time. She had to clean up the house before her mother came in; and for Brian. She gathered all her old photographs together, when suddenly, she came across one of her childhood snaps.
Little Caroline on a swing.
Careless and free, she seemed to be flying. This was her life, this was who she was. Not the woman who looked back from the mirror. It was this sudden moment.
She couldn’t stand being in this apartment. Without hesitating for a moment, she walked out, and started running. Away, away and far away. For what? She didn’t know. All she knew was that she had to get away.
She kept running until her knees gave up, and she ultimately stopped, panting for breath. She didn’t know where she was, and she didn’t care. Anything was better for her than that four-walled apartment. Better than being crushed and tied. It was worse than death. It was the death of her soul; the once vibrant and cheerful soul. Unguided, unobstructed and free.
It was time to get what she did not have. Time for re-birth, re-creation and rejuvenation.
Life arising from death.