Saturday, 16 November 2013
The other factor
She sits at her desk, tired and stressed. And unsure. This was so not how she had planned to go about this, but when does life grant anyone that simple pleasure? She has just finished praying and is waiting - the intentness building up. Her stomach feels like jelly and her head is hurting, the fever is on the rise and her breathing is shallow, the open window lets in the cool morning breeze, she shivers and blinks at twice her normal speed as she wonders if she is truly ready. The inaudible prayers on her lips don’t stop, she wants His blessing in this.
She can conjure up a thousand different reasons for her unsteady heart, and her wavering hands – she hasn’t been keeping well, she’s got other worries on her mind, she’s dealing with family issues, she’s not prepared enough, it’s her first exam with this institute, she wants more time, she just wants to do well, all the above – she is the queen of excuses, but she knows she’s just pacifying herself and it doesn’t do much good.
Because she’s given enough exams, enough interviews, and been enough times on stage to know this is just routine to her, only stronger in the essence that this is now, because no amount of experience or confidence or preparation actually helps with the anticipation. Because it’s never really the same.
She stares at the screen, just a click away from that exam she’d been so eager to give, but right now, she is in two minds. And she can’t comprehend why. She’s prayed and prepared and studied most of the night, she’s done everything she could. This was the end of her rope, she would normally just go ahead and pick the cards, let fate decide the rest. Apparently not today though.
She closes her eyes as her silent prayers become nearly vehement. She wants to hold them in, but they spill out anyways, irrational fears push stronger and the fruitless anguish burdens her. She would give anything to be able to get a grip on herself. Her tears are for the ease of the exam, for her to have the benefit of her knowledge, to experience contentment of the cause she’s serving. She spills for the parents she feels she’s burdening, for the teachers she feels she has let down, for the turmoil in her heart regarding her knowledge, for her lack of action on it, for the friends she fears she’ll lose, for the burden of the sins, for hope of forgiveness, above all for herself – for not being strong enough.
She feels a warm breath on her, that smell or perhaps the familiarity of that smell engulfs her. She feels a hand on her head, the hand that has always been a guide, the hand that has worn itself out raising her, the hand that has caressed her so many times, and the very touch is a blessing. She realizes how terribly she’s missed it and she almost leans into the comfort of the touch. She doesn’t want to seem unstable or indecisive, she’s grown up and mature and doesn’t need taking care of. The touch heals her nevertheless. She sits up straighter in protest, and a kiss is dropped on her head and that feeble heart is steady and her fingers aren’t shaking anymore, she’s taking deeper breaths. The determination takes hold.
She wants to linger in the moment because it’s been a while since her mom has shown such blunt affection. She knows her mother’s prayers are always with her, but in this moment she has experienced the fleeting mirage of being loved, and it reminds her of days gone by when she was not so much of a burden upon them. Her tears dry up and she thrives in that loving gaze and she feels confident. It lifts her spirits. It makes her smile. The dawn seems beautiful – she says one last prayer – for her parents.
She clicks that button she’s been staring at for the past half an hour.
And she hopes it goes well.