LOST and FOUND – A Short Story.
The sky was a brilliant dash of pink and gold as it filtered through the lovely white curtains. I lay in bed, feeling exhausted, depressed and drained out. I was tired of feeling stuck.
As I drew the curtains back in and decided to lie in a little longer, my mind raced past a thousand things, back to the time when I had everything going right for myself. Ours used to be a very close-knit family. The kids used to be busy with school and play and Sammy had a new job and we would all have a wonderful time. Evenings such as this used to be utterly crazy, kids running riot at home, with me balancing a teaching job and juggling with the housework, packing in a crazy working week and an equally hectic weekend that was filled with friends, fun and togetherness.
Things began to change as the kids began to grow up. When we shifted to this city a few years ago, Sammy became busier still and by then, the kids had their own lives. I left my job behind after the move and decided to try something new this time. Somewhere down the line, everyone became a little distant to each other and I quietly began to feel that I was no longer needed, existing as I were somewhere in the periphery of everyone’s lives.
Over time, I began to feel isolated and would occasionally withdraw into a shell. It was so ironical that all my life I’ve been waiting for this time, when the kids would have grown up and I would have more time to indulge in my pastimes and finally get down to socialising. But, clearly I was not prepared for what was to come. Over the last few months this feeling seems to be dragging me deeper into a dark hole, and I find myself swirling down into the abyss of emptiness. Life was just getting more relaxed as the kids took up college in different cities and I thought that perhaps having more free time would give me a less stressful time. Far from it! Lately, however, it seems more and more that something has snapped in my inner core as I find myself uninterested in friends and the regular everyday duties of life which, I was effortlessly managing all this while.
My friends tell me that I’ve lost my enthusiasm and vitality and even though I know nothing is physically wrong with me, in my mind I’m just an emotional wreck. I often stay up until late to read and end up curling up on the sofa and cry for hours. This has been continuing for a while now. A few days back, Sammy spoke to me about seeing a counsellor. All I know is the gnawing feeling inside me saying nothing is interesting enough and I find myself struggling within myself. I feel out of sorts, keep forgetting things that are really important through the day and end up feeling so stretched, as if I’m breaking into a thousand pieces. I keep collecting the pieces all through the day over and over again. I’m feeling quite tired by now. Sammy has tried everything. Last month, he even took time off work and took me for a trip, still nothing seems to help. But he has a job that takes him away on work for days at length. That also includes overseas trips. And with all this depression thing going on, I sometimes feel that work is now his refuge, more than ever before.
This morning, I’d been to see the counsellor again. This was my fourth session. In my heart, I knew this isn’t helping me at all. This evening, all I wanted to do was just lie in for a little while more. After all, there was no rush. I was alone as Sammy had an office party and had already informed me that he was going to be late. At moments such as these, time stands still. Turning towards the window, I know it is dusk now…the sky must be beautiful, I think to myself. In fact I’ve always loved watching the sun set over the horizon. For a minute, I must confess I was tempted, but the darkness in my mind got the better of me and so I let go of the wish to draw the curtains and look out. I decided I’m not really keen to look at the sky…not even if it was the ephemeral pink and gold that only stays for a short while before twilight slips in.
Today, dusk crept in while I was busy sorting out my thoughts. And, all that I wanted to do was to lie still and think of the years gone by. It is wonderful to pause and reflect on the life I’ve had. I should admit that I actually had a childhood that was very fortunate – never had a bad experience with anyone. Sammy is a loving husband. Just that he happens to be a workaholic, and even even though his job keeps him away from home for a lot longer than I’d have liked, he still loves me with all his heart. In fact, I know that he depends on me and seeing me this way is taking a toll on him too. And, of course, I have two beautiful children who are the best that any mother could have ever wished for. Not had a bad life either – travelling, working as a teacher in a missionary school and a happy childhood, so then, what is it that is making me so sad and depressed. I have no answers except an overwhelming sense of sadness that only makes me burst into tears.
For some strange reason, I stared at the window. It was pitch dark. The sun had long set and instead there was an impenetrable darkness, a bit like the one inside my heart, mind and soul. I felt caught in the throes of sadness and a feeling of being utterly lost – which the counsellor described as a kind of a “hole in the soul” syndrome that makes me quite incapable of meeting the demands of life.
All of a sudden, my eyes fell on a photograph by the window sill. I felt that Ma was looking at me and chiding me for losing myself this way. That feeling of having a loving parent watch over you was long gone, but I mustered up the courage to face it. I recalled Ma and the way she single handedly brought us up – myself and my elder sister through our long years of struggle after father left us. I clearly remember how Ma stood like a pillar for both of us. Ma’s words of wisdom ring in my ears and I can almost her her say – “A negative life will never give you a positive mind.” I can almost feel Ma’s loving caress on my head nudging me and telling me not to give up.
‘Keep trying I must’, I tell myself… ‘can’t let Ma down like this. After all, I’m her daughter. Someday my children will look up to me in the same way and…’
I wondered what the children would think if they saw me like this – defeated and lost. That was it. I had to muster up the strength to face up to the thoughts and come out of my negative thoughts. I HAD to do this myself. I could not face upto my own reflection in the mirror. Shame, shame, utter shame on me, was all I could say in my mind.
I couldn’t lie any longer. I sat up by the edge of the bed, and reached for the cellphone to check the time. As I switched on the light, I was thinking of Ma and how she would have wanted to see me. Ma’s face always brought a smile on my lips, whenever I remembered her. I thought aloud – ‘All said and done, I am still Ma’s daughter…and I shan’t give up so easily.
Leaving my dark thoughts behind, I proceeded to the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea. I felt light already, as if a crushing weight had been lifted off my shoulders!
Tomorrow is another day. And hopefully, a new beginning for me.
Linking this post to the Write Tribe Festival of Words #4 Day4. The Theme I have chosen is entertainment (Fiction, in this case. So a series of short stories on the theme of women will follow)
This post has been linked with Write Over the Weekend, an initiative by BlogAdda.