Funny little word that is. It is never fair and when it comes to life, we spin our own yarn and where we end up really, in fact is where we were always ordained to.
My name is Alona William Joans and I am thinking gravely about this finicky trivial word as I stand before the fresh grave of my mother the late Norah Ella Fitcherburt Joans. An atmosphere of sad melancholy veils the dim panorama yet I feel a sense of concord I never felt around my mother when she was alive.
Maybe because now I knew the reason behind it. The point where it all started and the story behind my mother's restless eyes. A cause even she was never aware of.
Let me tell you a story. A tale forgotten by the world, the Fate's untold tale_
I was a discomfited kid born to the bustling city of New York. My parents were small town folks from the outskirts of New York but dad was a genius and made big name after he graduated from a renowned university of New York. He was a doctor and mom worked as an assistant manager in some four star hotel. Basically I had a good life, until my parents decided to move back to their home town, the Backworth town.
They were strangely attached to this old park in their neighbourhood, the Moorewrild Park. Said this was where they first met and fell in love, and that they really missed their home and so had decided to move back into town. I was not very thrilled with the decision at first; I mean who can blame me. I had to leave my whole life there in New York at the tender age of eight and come be with them in this strange new place. But my grandparents helped me settle in just nicely. Besides, I was just a kid, and it was easier to make friends with small town kids.
I loved snow. I was born on a snowy night of December. And it never snowed in Beckworth town. It might snow in the adjacent areas of the town but it never did in Beckworth. My grandparents told me that it used to snow in Beckworth about a decade or two ago, but one day it just stopped snowing all together. It was odd but they thought nothing of it. I was kinda disappointed about it but I got over it eventually.
I remember taking strolls with my parents in that park every now and then, playing around with the kids in the neighbourhood there. My mother always wore a stormy-eyed poignant face on whenever we were there.
At first I thought nothing of it, thought she was just melancholic or something, but as I grew older I felt there was something more to it than that. And then the red scarf she wore around her neck every winter. It was still a mystery to me and my dad. My mom was weird that way but we loved her the same.
After I grew up I left town and went back to New York, and got a job as a teacher. And when I finally came back it was to see my mother on her death bed. My father called me one evening; it was a brisk glum call. He told me he did everything he could and that she was suffering from a terminal and was leaving us very soon.
It was sudden. And it was scary. I felt like a little girl that got separated from her parents in the local town fair. It was the most daunting feeling I'd ever felt.
When I saw her, she wasn't the woman I used to know. Her beautiful black hair had many grey streaks mixed in; I could see bones sticking out of her stature. Her skin had gone pale and her eyes had shrunk into her sockets. I could see that she was sick. Very very sick. But her beautiful grey eyes that sparkled and changed colour in light still held that lively touch, she smiled at me when she saw me by her bed. Her smile still as warm as a quilt.
"Hey Loony baby," she cooed. Her cute horrible nick name for me.
"Hey mom." I managed a smile. "How are you doing?"
"Somehow holding up!?" She tried to crack a joke. She was horrible at jokes.
"...I-I'm...," I didn't know what to say. I was rendered speechless, I guess. And the unconscious flowing tears didn't help my case. "You're gonna be fine mom." Was all I could manage.
"Oh my baby, come here," she gathered me into a warm hug as we both cried in each other's arms.
The cold breeze ruffled the neat hedges of Moorewrild park which lay silent and tidy under the inky sky. The atmosphere was calm but in some way uncanny. As if I was breathing an atmosphere of sorrow. Maybe it was just me or autumn was as sorrowful as an untimely end.
I stared at the cold chilly lake beside the park, and thought about mom. How her eyes were gradually loosing their light and her natural fair skin had sunken in tone to something so lifeless it scared me just to look at her. And all I could do was stroke her hair and hold her hand. It barely seemed enough. Thus, I got out of there to try and cope with all this mess.
The old rusty swings that were the joy of my life in my childhood, caught my attention. And the red falling leaves of the tall maple trees. Almost nothing had changed here. I had absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants that revived my early days. But it was just a desperate attempt to escape from a vindictive reality, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of a ghastly impending doom.
"Death is another form of immortality child. Nothing has and nothing will ever come of closing your eyes off to the world and reality." A shrill grating voice suddenly startled me. I turned around to find an old wrinkly woman sitting on the ancient rusty bench by the freezing lake.
She was knitting a sweater .... or maybe a scarf in the dark, I couldn't tell which. I had no idea how she could see in this ominous darkness but her aged beady eyes were focused as if the rest of the world had dissolved away and only she and her yarn remained.
Her time-worn creased face never looked up at me, but somehow I knew she had her attention affixed on me. She wore a bleach black cotton dress and her powder-white hair half hidden away under a hood. She had a strange eerie presence and somehow it sent jitters through my spine.
I did not want to get any closer to the woman so I spoke from where I stood, "I'm sorry!?"
"You heard me child." She hummed, "It is exactly as I say it is."
"I do not understand ma'am. What do you mean?" I asked sternly.
She let out a small chuckle and said, "Let me tell you this, the world is not as simple as it seems. And nothing in the world is what it seems."
Now I was utterly confused. Who the hell was this old lady and what was she even talking about. She still had her head hung low, focusing on her knitting. She must be a wack job, I thought.
"Calling an old lady a wack job is a very rude thing to think my dear." She chuckled again and I had my jaws on the ground. Now this was just plain creepy.
"Erm...yeah! It was nice meeting you. Have a good day ma'am." The woman just did not feel right to me, and I wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. Well at least I tried to. But her words...her words were like a vice grabbing onto me for dear life.
"I was wondering, does your mother still have the red scarf that she held so dear to her?"
I turned around to look at the weird woman, really look at her. My eyes wide and astounded, how in God's name did this woman know about my mother and the scarf? Who was she? What was going on here?
Countless questions whirled around in my head making me almost dizzy and very much puzzled.
"I understand you dilemma dear." The woman offered me an amiable smile but I wasn't buying it. "You do want to know who that scarf belonged to, don't you?"
I could see she was baiting me, but I wasn't sure whether I was ready to bite or not. I eyed her suspiciously, "How do you know about my mother and the scarf?" I asked.
"All in good time dear, all in good time." She smiled knowingly. "The answers will come to you eventually."
Then she handed me what you would call an old tattered journal, or maybe a dairy. It had a dusty grey shade to it, maybe once upon a time it was a faded white, but now it was just a smokey grey piece of binding, cracked and dry with age. What remained of the book's original stitching was barely holding it together. It looked centuries old. Maybe it would even pass as an antique.
I looked at her, dumbfounded; and she urged me to open the book. I finally gave into my curiosity and flipped open the book. The frail pages felt soft and delicate as I ran my fingers over the faint scrawl of the owner on the inside of the cover. 'Rhiam' it read.
Suddenly the wind howled, and I felt as if the night got even darker as tiny white ice-dust blended with the night. I looked up to see the murky sky, my breath pale against the numbing air. I blinked in bafflement as the snowflakes patiently kissed my face. It was snowing, in Beckworth. For the first time since I had been here.
My mind couldn't catch up with the peculiarities that were occurring that day. I was utterly perplexed.
"Do not be bemused child," the old woman spoke again, "For it is the conspiracy of the Universe to bring forth this particular moment. Now open the book and let destiny come undone."
My hands were sweaty and I was unsure. I took a deep breath in and flipped the first page of the book. Paper rustled as I thumbed through the first page and then I blinked. And everything was a blur. Words appeared and disappeared across me, altering into images and visions. Plunging into me like an avalanche as it drowned me into a world of hoary whiteness bespeckled with a flurry of black ink.
To be Continued............