The bookshelf towered over her, such that she was almost invisible. In her little-ish hands, she held a book whose weight seemed immense compared to her size. Her round eyes squinted a bit, looked deeply at the book before stopping suddenly, as if the book predicted an impending danger.
She looked at other books, shook her head and went straight to the table near the window. She placed the weighty book on the table and began to read, occasionally looking out of the window in a rather pensive mood.
She was clearly distracted.
Although her eyes were getting watery and nose runny, she managed to immerse herself in the book and, in no time, got lost in the world of the author. Getting lost had become her favorite thing. It helped her escape a world that was getting more chaotic by the second. She had spent the whole morning crying and praying if not for anything but peace.
The author had consumed her completely, until her vibrating phone brought her back to the chaotic world she was now getting used to. She reached for it hoping it wasn’t her boss. It was a colleague, so she immediately dispatched an automated reply – I will call you later. He replied with “just checking on you.” She smiled, put the phone back and looked out of the window, wondering what could stop her tears from flowing. She reached for her bag, hang near the table and picked out a laptop.
“Writing is good therapy,” she thought.
She wanted to write about her life; the dilemma or state of depression she was in. She wanted to write about him too. She again turned to the window and looked straight into the traffic that was building up outside the café. She wondered if anyone in those cars felt as empty as she did. She felt envious of a mother, stuck in the traffic, playing with her son. She looked around and saw a couple holding hands in their car; in a public bus was a young girl staring outside, lost in thought, perhaps thinking about her toys at home.
Inspired by the world rolling outside the café, she quickly turned to her laptop, fired it up and opened a word document.
She typed the first word: Hope.
She punched everything she was hopeful for into the computer. She hoped she could understand her job and figure out whether it was really meant for her. She hoped she could find a way to get her finances on track. She hoped she could completely let him go, along with the emotional ties that came with him. She hoped for peace…she hoped for more things.
A guy passed by her table and smiled on seeing the book on the table.
“I was looking for that,” he said.
“Aha and?” she replied, rather annoyed
“I was hoping you could let me have it?”
She looked at him, wondering what had gone through his mind before approaching her. He must have thought a smile would help. Or maybe he was also struggling with depression and needed the book more. She shot a deep look into his eyes, smiled and said, “Sure, have the book.”
He looked at her, certainly surprised by the sudden change of mood, swallowed a small ball of saliva and shouted a ‘thank you’. He walked hastily to a nearby table and for a minute the girl seemed to wonder what the guy’s life was like. She loved opening up to strangers about her troubles, but the guy didn’t look like a perfect stranger.
She read through everything she had typed out, saved the document and left the café. She needed to go home and cry everything out. Tears work magic. They wash away troubles and water the seeds of hope and future happiness.
She hated this feeling. It derailed her so much, but there was not much she could do about it. She thought of the afterlife, but she hadn’t served her true purpose, yet.
She went down on her knees cried and asked Jesus to take the wheel. It seemed easy to tell Him so, but deep down she didn’t really believe it, there were still tears in her eyes. She sat down on her bed, phone in hand wondering if she should dial him but on second thought decided not to, he was part of her misery and that certainly could not give her peace.
She thought of dialing a number and just talking to whoever was on the other side but let go of the idea too. She was more vulnerable when she talked about herself, she had never opened up to anyone about her inner feelings. She talked to people but they only knew the parts she allowed them to see, all this had led her to this place, this pit of depression.
She needed sleep, so she lay on her bed looking up, not thinking about anything but just staring. Sleep wasn’t coming along so she took her earphones and played some music on her playlist which she had carefully selected ensuring no love song came close to playing.
After a long struggle, she closed her eyes and fell asleep. She must have slept for a long time because she missed the incessant sound of her phone warning of low battery. She woke up early in the morning and found her phone dead, for a moment she was glad it was dead because it meant the world was shut off from her. She debated in her mind on whether to charge it or not but eventually decided to let it charge. She sat on her bed and wondered what it took to have a better attitude today.
It’s true what they say, sleep takes away our sorrows maybe not all but some of her sorrow had gone.
A hot shower should work more magic,” she thought and headed off to have one. After the shower, she carefully selected her outfit for the day whispering to herself “it’s a good day, it’s a good day”, a move to convince her skeptical self that it was indeed a good day.
She later applied her makeup, bright lipstick and well-shaped eyebrows, all that was remaining was a smile. She could pull that, at least on the outside. She plugged off her phone, picked her earphones and headed towards the door. She couldn’t open it, her hands were trembling as she tried to open, maybe leaving the house was a terrible idea, she can have another day, she thought.
She tried to convince herself why she needed more time alone and as she did so tears ran down her face, black tears as the mascara ran down. She took out her phone, she knew she had to talk to someone before today turns out to be like yesterday. She dialed her mother’s number but couldn’t call her.
She thought of how worried that woman would become, stressed even, so mother was out. She thought of her aunt but retracted, she knew she could get help but wasn’t elated on being the topic of discussion during family get-together or the pity stares she would get. She sat down on the couch and one person came to mind, Stanley.
Stanley was a friend who didn’t know much about her, late twenties, ambitious and most importantly God-fearing. There was something about him, they had met several times and every time their conversation gravitated towards living a life of purpose. Stanley had invested in seminars, he had gone on a journey of self-discovery, discovered his weakness and learnt to accept himself as he was at least that’s what she got from their last conversation.
She texted him it was easy that way, she knew she would cry loudly if she dared talk to anyone on phone or face to face. He texted back immediately, “Hey Tess what’s going on? Let me buy you coffee at 10 A.M if possible please”. He was that polite, she replied “perfect.” Ignoring the first part of his text. He replied with the location and a “hold on,” as if privy to her thoughts of wanting to let go. Tess decided to report to the office after mumbling a prayer so she could leave to meet Stanley later.
“What are you most afraid of?’’ was Stanley’s first question after they had sat at the corner of a café and made their orders.
She looked away as if in deep thought then looked at Stanley and said “failure, I am scared of failure, I am scared that my life will never amount to anything.”
She looked away again before continuing, “I am so scared Stanley, I feel so alone in a world full of people, I am scared of living an ordinary life, dying ordinary.” She stopped, to fight the tears threatening to fall, the waiter came with their orders and she breathed in before mumbling a thank you to him.
She had ordered a latte and Stanley a big mug of coffee. He looked at her and again asked another question, “what would make you happy?’’ she looked at him, clearly not expecting such a question. “Stanley I don’t know.” She said defensively.” No what event would make you happy?’’ he insisted.
She took a sip, looked away and then said “I would be happy being able to let him go, I would be happy being financially stable, I would be happy if I found my purpose, I would be happy if I loved my job.” She stopped took a deep breath, oh the magic of saying all that loud. She raised her hands up as if to stretch and covered her eyes with her palms. She felt victory saying it aloud, as if by just saying it, it had become so. She put her hands on the table and smiled at him, “I want that Stan, so bad.”
“Then have it,” he said in a way that sounded cocky.
Stan was confident and everything he said was thought through. She looked at him wondering whether he had been listening to her. She wanted to be told how to achieve that, a procedure like how to make pancakes or one of those ‘do it yourself’ stuff on Pinterest.
She shook her head and asked Stan how she was supposed to do that. “It’s simple, you go for what you want, you have realized what doesn’t’ work for you so now go for what works for you.” That made a little sense but not total sense. “What I am saying is, let go of everything that is holding you back, you have too much baggage hence the cloud of sadness all over you,” he added tactfully.
She looked at him, overwhelmed with emotions tears started falling, she was an emotional girl but that’s what made her who she was. The baggage was people and things she thought she needed. She knew exactly what he was talking about, if only she could now get the strength to do it all she knew she would be complete.
You are exactly where you need to be, everything you are going through is meant to prepare you for greatness. Our current suffering cannot be compared to the glory that is going to be revealed in us.”