Mrs. Maverick told me, when I was born, I didn’t cry, instead, I had this grim look on my face, a sad resignation to the fact that I was pushed out into the world I had no wish to be a part of. As I was growing up, so was my parents’ concern, for this unfathomable blankness I had inside of me. I never really laughed to my heart’s content, no toys, no play, no ice cream would ever make me happy, like really happy! I rarely stepped outside my room. When I was four, I threw such fits when I was made to go to the school that my parents had to arrange for a tutor to come teach me at the folly. So, I never had any friends.
Today’s my 18th birthday. Mrs. Maverick gifted this journal to me, so I could pen down my thoughts. This is my first entry. She says, keeping a journal is a nice way of venting our feelings.
Oh, I forgot to mention – Mrs. Maverick is my nanny, or was my nanny, she is my guardian now. She has been living with us ever since I was born and took over, after my parents died in a car crash. I was nine then. She stays with me in our little castle with Sammy and Mathew, the chef and the care taker.
And this is one of my favorite places in the Folly, thiswindow here, by the headboard of my bed. My mornings andevenings are spent sitting on the ledge by this window, wondering what the outside world would look like. Not that I am inquisitive about finding out, I just know it would be as sad and empty as my world inside this castle, but still.I haven’t gone out in years, I don’t leave the folly, and so don’t know what’s the world’s sad tale though nor do I wish to know.
“Diana? Diananaaa” Mrs. Maverick’s voice chimed through the folly like an echo of a sweet country song.
“Diana? It’s breakfast time, come on now.”
“Yes, Mrs. Maverick, I’ll be downstairs in five.”
I wrapped the colorful thread around the journal admiringly, leaving it on the window ledge and ran downstairs to the living area.
“What are your plans for today, D?”
“Hmm. I don’t know, Mrs. Maverick,” I said biting my lip. “I..I don’t feel like…”
“But you love the daises, don’t you? They are in full bloom,” Mrs. Maverick completed the sentence for me.
Gazing at our enchantingly beautiful garden from above, had always been my pass time. And anyone can see how Mrs. Maverick had kept it all kempt and manicured over the years, caring for the flowers like she did for me.
So, yes, I knew the daises were in full bloom, that I was sure about, but what I wasn’t sure about was the idea of stepping out in the open.
I looked at her, clueless.
“I…” Mrs. Maverick cut me off mid-sentence once again.
“Just try, D.” “It’s a beautiful day, darling. The same as you witness every day from your window.” Pulling the curtains aside, she showed the façade’s view, “see!”
The breathtaking sight of white daisies growing along the walkway, spread across on both the sides till the entrance door, the lovely lavender in the metal pots, and the pink phlox silently inviting the butterflies to rest on their petals, would fill anyone with joy, anyone, but me. I had always wondered what it will be like sitting in the patio, filling my eyes with the marvel our garden was, but the idea of going out into the garden made me feel vulnerable and scared. I had never felt comfortable leaving my room, let alone the folly.
Not that I detested the things God had to offer, I just didn’t like the idea of venturing out in the open. It was like the four walls of my room and the ceiling over my head were my safe haven. Couldn’t quite point at what these were keeping me safe from, but they did anyway.
I pulled my gaze off the flowers and the bright day it was outside, and brought it back to my breakfast plate on the table. But Mrs. Maverick loomed in no mood to take a no for an answer today. She moved her adorable self, right in front of me, blocking my vision.
“ D, for me. Will you?”
Stoically, I raised my empty eyes and looked at her.
I didn’t know what it was, my 18th birthday or the daisies, but today was different. She had never really fussed about my staying indoors before. And look at her now, pestering me to see the daisies, when I see them every day from my room’s little window.
Mrs. Maverick was still looking at me expectantly, her eyes never leaving mine, pleading in a way I couldn’t overlook.And then she offered her hand to me, with a smile that felt impossible to refuse.
I hesitantly took her hand, begging her with my eyes, not to push it too far.
Before I could even prepare myself, I was standing at the closed entrance door. I was still struggling with the proposed idea, when she gently squeezed my hand and pushed the door wide open.
The air desperately waiting to whoosh in, finally barged in, ruffling our hair and cloths along its way, leaving me gasping for a breath.
She stepped out cautiously, still holding my hand, gently ushering me to follow her.
The sunlight outside the folly was a little too much. It felt unbearably bright that I had to shut my eyes to shield myself from this aftermath of the raging sun.
I was still standing at the door, my feet glued to the wooden frame, refusing to let go, when Mrs. Maverick turned around and looked at me.
As if the on slaughter of solar flares wasn’t enough, my guardian was suddenly glowing like a north star, beam of rays emanating from her body. She looked absolutely unearthly, standing in the middle of our garden with all kinds of flowers bowing at her feet.
My eyes were still half shut, as I took a step out, my first step out of the folly, mesmerized with the whimsical scene unfolding in front of me. Something was building in my chest, ready to explode. I was breathing heavily as my anxious soul prepared itself for the uncharted path that lied ahead of me.
I took another step. And a few more.
“Look around.” Mrs. Maverick’s distant voice echoed in the sudden gust.
I still had my head hanging low, eyes still acclimatizing.
“Diana, look at me,” her voice reassuring. “Just look at me.”
And then I saw it. Mrs. Maverick was smiling at me, her face was pale, angel like. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. A ball of light was wrapped around her petite body. I was looking at her awe-struck.
“ You have to trust me, D,” She chimed again.
“The world is not as bad after all.” “You are safe. Look around you. These flowers – you like them, don’t you?” “Won’t you see them up close?”
I was still gawking at the vision Mrs. Maverick had turned into.
Pulling my eyes reluctantly away from the marvel I had just witnessed. I turned to the bed of yellow hibiscus, in their full bloom, dancing in the wind.
Following my gaze, Mrs. Maverick gently prod me further, “come let’s take your there.”
With a heart, still thumping , I followed in her footsteps.
I was wondering, at a loss for words, struggling to make some sense of the scene my eyes were witnessing.
This was not the Mrs. Maverick who had raised me. She was someone else, someone unearthly. Who was she? She guided me till the patio, standing in the middle of our exquisite garden.And then she stopped midway, at the step of the patio, and turned to me once again.
“You are a beautiful young woman now, my dear. You deserve to be happy.” “Don’t be afraid. The world is your oyster, my girl.”
Across the bed of happily dancing yellow hibiscus, stood one rainbow hibiscus, an unusual sight. Even stranger was the fact that the unusually looking flower wasn’t even there a day before.
I bent down and delicately brushed my fingers across the tip of its tender petal. I had never seen a flower with a splash of so many hues, all at once.
The more I stared at it, the more my mind grew thoughtless. No fears, no doubts, all of a sudden it was a clean slate, with only the image of the flower imprinted on it, and the image was growing bigger and bigger, hovering my consciousness.
And suddenly,the ferociously blowing wind, the birds’ anxious chatter, the overbearing sunlight – everything disappeared!
Spellbound, I hover over the captivating rainbow flower and took a whiff, breathing in the exquisitely mild yet unfamiliar fragrance. With my eyes closed, I let it fill my insides and travel to every corner of my being.
Standing there, soaking the bliss the day was, eyes still closed for what seemed like an eternity, inhaling deeply – I was smiling to myself!