Rosalind woke up with her shampoo’s scent filling her senses. Her pillow was half hanging from the end of the bed and her covers already on the floor. The winter morning had her skin feeling icy, much like the wind flowing outside. She thought that it was Monday, but no, much to her liking it was Friday. Her favourite day.
While walking from her room to the kitchen, she pondered about her list things she had to complete today; buy more Cornflakes, submit cheques to bank and meet Claudio. Doing things, like she does- she decided bank was the least important of all things to do so she can put it off for tomorrow.
The milk was too cold by the time she took her nose out of the newspaper. She cared about it the least because she was too much occupied thinking about the ‘news’ that she read. Murders. Theft. Death. Shooting. It was like reading a horror book but much to her dismay- a real one, at that.
The youthfulness by which she started her day was much transformed into gloominess after reading that. She shed a tear or two, and hoped to her fullest that maybe days like these are never seen by her family or her friends’. With this, she rang up her mum,
“Bonjour! Comment allez-vous, maman?”
Rosalind heard a yawn, “Je vais bien, et vous?”
“I’m fine too, maman. How are things at home?”
“As good as it was, do you need something?”
“No, not really. Just called like that. Are you busy?”
“Oh, actually I am. May I ring you up later?”
“It’s fine, maman. You don’t really have to. Have a good day ahead, au revoir.”
Rosalind put her head down on the table and started crying. She shed her tears like it was what she was supposed to do. She couldn’t stop it and so she cried and cried. She never even understood why she was doing that. Maybe because her mother could care less, or maybe because there was so much cruelty in the world. But why will she of all people cry? Other people have it worse but they don’t shed any tears- but she does. Caring is such a complicated, yet an easy thing to do.
She stopped and took a deep breath. She found her breath stale from all that crying, and her throat parched. She went to the bathroom and brushed again, with cold water she washed her face and returned to her room with even colder feet. She stacked up on her socks and coats, and went outside to meet Claudio. Maybe only her friend can make her feel better from her insipid morning.
The walk to Claudio’s home was fruitful. She saw many poignant features of life passing by. Few feet away from where she was walking, she spotted a pretty child talking to her mother with all her heart. Pointing at various things and making such actions by her hands to make her mother understand that story better. Her voice was loud and her French broken, but her mother was listening to her intently and was making the appropriate reactions to let the child continue. It was such a normal thing, but it left a mark in her mind. The love one shares between their parents was very much known to her till her father died. It was quite a shock to see such a young man dying from a motorbike accident. It had hurt a lot and it still hurts now, when she thinks about it but somehow the pain of losing father has lessened over the years. He mother was always like that with her, and still is but during times like these- when she is over thinking things and got nobody to talk, she missed her father more. Time may take away the pain but it cannot take away the memories.
Memories of March when Rosalind with her father used to travel nearby places, have short trips of two-three days. Mother has been always absent from those, though. She had her bakery to manage and she was least interested in travelling because she did never like her hair getting messed up by the wind. Rosalind did, though. She loved the way wind entered her hair and left it all tangled. She also loved the way trees seemed to be dancing when dad used to hit the pedal on their car hard. Times like those are lost forever, and it may never be replaced again, but losing the person she loved the most made her heart incapable of letting herself be loved again. She did give her heart to everybody, but she accepted none.
Claudio’s house was in sight now, just above the quaint coffee shop where they sold the best macaroons in entire France, according to Claudio. They were really good, but not that good as Claudio made it sound like, Rosalind thought.
“Ah, Rose, ma chère!”
“How are you, Claudio? You’re not too busy I suppose?” Rosalind was sure that Claudio would never mind her presence, but she never intended to intrude.
“Never for you. Come inside, why stand in the cold?” Claudio was all smiles receiving her. He didn’t mind the least instead his face showed he was glad Rosalind was here. Rosalind felt happy too.
Claudio brought her tea, and made himself some tea as well. Rosalind asked him that if she ever feels down will he give her false hope to make her happy again?
“It is a matter of opinion. And if I think, my friend is very much sad and heart broken, I will give her what she wants and even more. But if that is what false hope is, let it be.”
Rosalind smiled at him sadly and started sipping her tea. Unlike her, Claudio lived in the part of the city where it attracts most of the tourists. All trying to find their way through the city and maybe through their lives too. Claudio saw her look and asked why is his flower so sad today; that simple comment only made her heart melt but she regained her spirits and replied, Isn’t it so unfair of me to be so sad? I guess I feel it all the time but I don’t want to and I don’t know how to stop it. When I spoke to my mother today, she sounded the same- a bit saddened maybe, but still the same. Why can’t I be the same too? I remember once you said how I am too kind for the world’s liking but I think you were wrong. I am too kind for my own liking. There’s just so much pain, you know? So much. And it feels like, all of that passes through me; I don’t want that anymore… Claudio, if I keep on feeling like this- I won’t be able to breath anymore!” She stopped with doleful eyes that kept drifting to the grey skies above.
Claudio let his tea sit on the table and tried to ease her mind by singing in his beautiful voice that always demanded attention from Rosalind. He sang her favourite French song, in which the lyrics told the story of a young girl feeling distraught after her friends left her for someone better; and when she found love again it was from someone so unexpected that it did not feel like real but only a dream. Her confusion with life and her way of finding herself back again was impeccably captured through the lyrics and Rosalind liked it so. Claudio’s voice gave the song even more life and made Rosalind’s heart lighter.
Two years from that day, Rosalind’s death”s news came to his door. He cried a lot that day and remembered the time when she came to his house and spoke about her unrealistic sadness. That day, Claudio sang to her, hoping she would just let herself accept the love that was in front of her. Rosalind didn’t, and the days in between that day and this, they had hardly any contact. Claudio later realized that she did open her eyes and saw what was in front of her but never tried to take it. Only because, she was too kind. Such a compassionate soul that felt everybody’s sadness and gave love to everyone without ever realizing what her heart wants.