Her head was sunken in deeply and she had her shoulders hunched to her chin. Maria was sitting on her kitchen stool without motion, her tired eyes looking out of wrinkled lids, an old and tired woman. She was waiting, like she did every day, and she awaited nothing. She glanced around in the dark room and she had to blink as her eyes met a ray of sunshine channeling its way into the the room from between the curtains of the kitchen window. The small beam of light ended at the foot of the tall and heavy wooden clock in the corridor, and illuminated dust was swirling inside it. She was looking after the light. The clock that had once determined the pace of life in this house with its patient and steady rhythm, didn’t make any noises anymore. Maria had stopped the pendulum when Jasmina left.
Some days ago she had received another postcard. She had put it next to the others, squeezed in between the large milk jug and the breadbasket, a place where she would always have them in sight when she was in the kitchen. Which she was most of the time. There they stood, neatly organized behind each other. She had devoured them like a book and read them over and over again. Every single word on the cards written in her narrow, scrawly handwriting made Jasmina’s voice echo in the kitchen. She told stories of strangers, of foreign countries and cities whose names Ma-ria hadn’t even heard of. She admired her granddaughter and she hated for leaving. But she had not tried to hold her back from stepping out.
She had lived in this house for all of her life and she had rarely left it for more then hours at a time. Many years ago, a young girl named Maria Ana had spent hours standing at the jet black front door squeezing her nose to the glass window and peeping out. That girl had been waiting for anything to happen on the street. Her father had never allowed her to go and play outdoors, which didn’t suit a girl, he had explained. And so it came that Maria Ana only ever got to know the threshold to free-dom from one side, suspiciously eyed from behind the wooden blinds. Many years later Jasmina had painted the front door white and the house wall turquoise. That was before she had left. „It is much to dark in here, Mia“, she had said.
Jasmina was so different from herself. She would have never even thought of messing around with the backside of the door. She had used to fling it open and run out onto the street, on and on. The only thing she ever loved was being outdoors, footloose, even in wintertime. She had always been unhappy inside. She had always had so much energy, and her curiosity was outstanding. Which was why she had left. Maybe, Maria thought, she was gone forever. She was getting old. Maybe she would never see her again.
Next to the milk jar lay a thick white envelope with photos. Jasmina in the desert, Jasmina in the arms of an unkempt man with olive skin, Jasmina at a beach that was as white as the beaches on the postcards she kept sending in regular intervals. Maria had never seen a beach that white. And she was sure she never would. Jasmina had told her she would come and take her, but Maria knew that she didn’t have much time left.
A faint glow illuminated her face as she went through the photos once more. Her darling Jasmina, her little madcap, was out there somewhere, all on her own. She looked happy. Maria closed her eyes and dreamed, like she always di, every single day since Jasmina had left the house to travel the world. What if she was young as her granddaughter once more? Would she understand Jasmina better?
This is fictional story. All characters and the storyline are invented. Like this? Share it with somebody you love as much as Maria loves Jasmina!