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becoming greta

>> Saturday, July 30, 2011

In the last 25 years of Greta's life, she has never woken up the way she did today. No death, no love nor a great read happened the night before, but there's something different in the way she responded to the air around her. She did not respond at all. She let it weigh her down, deeper into the bed. The grey beddings provided her warmth despite its color. So unlike her shiny happy friends who drop their eyes or look the other way when she tells them of made-up troubles just so she won't forget her voice.

She laid inert for a long time longer with her eyes fixed on a spot on the ceiling. She turned off her bedside lamp, fringed and the kind that would find home in a sepia photograph, without taking her eyes off of the woman's face, no, an old house. The dark spot kept on changing its shape, shifting with the passing of each thought that crossed her mind.

It was almost a year ago when she finally said goodbye to the company she had given the best 15 years of her life. Nobody saw it coming, not even herself. She didn't even bother coming up with reasons why she was leaving. Actually she had none. What she had was the realization that midway through any given  workday in her last month in (what she called) Alcatraz, she constantly prayed for time to go about its business killing itself so she could scurry back home and start on a watercolor (maybe a field of tulips) or do netflix and have pizza delivered. And so on her last day, everything happened like clockwork - she handed in her letter, surrendered her ID and other office-owned stuffed including the coffee mug emblazoned with the company logo - the sight of which seemed to have validated, sealed and delivered her decision. She rushed out of the building, her legs feeling light despite her age and she walked on a sunshine as a smile crept on her face - a genuine, almost forgotten smile that had been failing her even at alcohohol-fueled Friday night outs. 

Days became weeks and weeks became months but she hardly noticed. She was either busy rearranging the furniture - moving them this way and that until she was shown the meaning comfort - or having one of those lingering baths in flower petals, surrounded by divinely scented candles. Everything fell into a relaxed state. So easy went everything that she no longer felt compelled to return the calls of curious friends or family until the world outside her world eventually tired of asking about her and went on its business without her. She suddenly had all the time but none to give. She had been erased while bits of her pieced themselves together like turtles to a rising new moon.

The broken vase slowly dissolved and was replaced by what it really is, a watermark. "I need to have my ceiling repainted and my walls, too" she said rather absentmindedly loud. Her own voice no longer surprises her.

I can hear Waiting for the Moon to Rise (she loves Belle and Sebastian) while I was cautiously knocking on her door. The music stopped but the door did not open. I got the message. I walked away from her house with my gift for her 45th birthday. I smiled to myself pondering on the thought that has been playing on my mind the last few days. Perhaps, and I am more certain now, she had already received the gift that she's unknowingly longing for all her life. She is becoming herself. At last, she is becoming Greta.


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