The twitter of ten year olds jolted her out of her reverie. She looked around for a second, confused. Drat!! Her mind had wandered again. Into the realm of “Little Women”, which she was teaching her fifth standard students. She hoped her class had not seen her dreaming. “Excuse me” ,a little voice piped up. What was to follow was never known for the bell rang right then for recess. “Thank you Ma’am” , the class chorused while she quickly handed out prep work for the next day.
She picked up her books and walked out of the class to her room. A shy, soft spoken woman with eyes that told umpteen stories- all of yearning and longing. Pretty in the conventional sense. Not just pretty, beautiful. In her mind she was still Meg being courted by John. Nah.. Laurie and Amy was better. She smiled wistfully; for it was chasing a mirage. That happiness was never going to be hers. For she was the Bride. Forever the Bride. Never the wife.
It was all predestined .Her parents promised to make her the chosen one even before she was born. A fact drummed into her head by the world from the time she could remember. Her childhood -She was the pet of her family. She grew up a happy child, pampered by all for wasn’t she a visitor there for just a few years? And then in her teens- that dreamy period in the life of every girl, when the awareness of the woman within starts blossoming, she found herself entering a world of vague conflicting dreams. Dreams of the bride and the dreams of the wife- always hand in hand but never together. For she knew her future had space only for one.
With such vague dreams she entered her new life, embracing it with a fervor which surprised her.But as the newness wore off , the reality set in, and that too rather starkly.She wanted to be the “One” but then she was just one among many. Some there on their own, some out of bitterness in life and many like her following their pre-written destiny. Piousness and charity seemed like a veneer to camouflage the pettiness, squabbling and politicking that was her new world. And of course, that perennial air of discontent that seemed to pervade all around.
She felt lonely, despite being in the midst of people. A growing sense of incompleteness started to plague her. It was all very vague at first, but then it was louder and clearer. It was the longing to belong, a longing to have someone to call her own, someone to make her feel wanted and in return hers to want.
The dreams of the wife returned to toss her soul like a boat caught in a stormy sea. Was it seeing her friends live their life in the outside world the trigger, she wondered? Or was it the world of her books ? Or the handiwork of her surroundings? A world and life she started disappearing into often, at first in the privacy of her chambers, and then slowly anywhere and everywhere. More than once she caught herself getting carried away by her dreams in the midst of her classes. More than once she caught the look of sympathy and understanding in the eyes of her charges, which surprised her. Showing a sense of maturity far beyond their age, they seemed to sympathize her struggle with her destiny.
But was it her destiny? To be the chosen one? To be that woman, a man could only dream about but never his? To be the woman, who will be addressed as mother but never to have a child of her own? To be the woman who will live a life full of longings, all to be sublimated for HIM?
She looked out of her window to see the foreboding stone wall of the convent .The cloister is a prison, she thought bitterly. A path of no return and no exit. She must decide she thought…
And decide she did…. As the night deepened she entered a slumber… from where she will wake into eternity.