Sidey’s weekend theme this week is a picture.
I’ve been brooding on this picture since I saw it on Thursday. Let me see what I’ve come up with.
Slowly she opens the door. Still not quite able to believe that she’s back again, after all these years. When she left, returning was the last thing on her mind. The prevalent thought was to escape. To become more than she was led to believe she could be.
And now, after 20 years, she’s back where it all started. Full circle. A life lived, and now retribution has to be paid.
She came in the back way. Students were never allowed to use the front door. That was for visitors – parents and priests only. Slowly she meanders the long passages. Remembers the smell of cooking, the sound of subdued laughter. Laughing out loud in this place was not condoned. Learning was serious business, not to be sullied by the likes of childish laughter. So they learned to get whatever joy they could from their surroundings, and keep it low. Would not do to have the Ogre hear their laughter!! Ogre’s are not big on being happy, and happy sounds only has one effect on them – flaming rage.
But she promised Laila that she would come back. Promised to find the box they hid in their room so many years ago. It’s her friend’s dying wish. To have the contents of that box around her when she dies.
She reaches the corridor where their room used to be. Dereliction greets her. Gone the spotlessly swept floors, the immaculately painted doors and lintels. Paint peeling off the ceiling, sand covering the floor. Which means the windows has to be broken. The windows they spent hours looking out of, yearning to go outside and feel the sun shine on their upturned faces. Looking to the forest beyond the boundaries of the estate, wishing they could leave and join the world they’ve only ever heard of.
Well, they both joined the world. They both lived live to the fullest. Did everything they’ve ever dreamed of, and now the piper has to be paid. Laila is dying. And she’s not too long for this world either. Just this last task, this last look upon the place where their lives began so many years ago, and then it will be the end of the road for both of them.
She enters the room that’s seen so many of their tears, heard so many of their hopes and fears and dreams. Finds the loose floorboard. It’s still there. The box they packed with such care when they were little girls, adding to it as time went by. Little mementoes of their lives lived in this place. Lives that’s now so far removed from anything they could have possibly dreamed up, that it bears no resemblance to the reality they once envisaged.
Picking up the box, she blows off the dust of the ages. The sand that time has chosen to bestow upon their memories.
That same sand lines her path to the front door. The front door she has never used. Time to go. Time to shake off the shackles put on her by this place.
Time to return the precious box to her dying counterpart.
Time to put the past to rest, once and for all.