Panting for my breath, I was endlessly trying to escape the waters, with all my efforts, grugling,reaching out for the air, it seemed as if some force was pulling me down in the depth. I tried to put my hands out on the surface but could not persist longer, my feets were consistingly feeling the to and fro motion of the waters . It was getting hard to hold on to my breath, with every passing second, my vision began to blur and my body started feeling heavy . Soon I realised, I was drowning into the unfathomable depths of darkness , of oblivion, away from the lights of the surface. Suddenly my fingers ran through a rough surface, I tried to hold on to it, to get a little support , it was a piece of wood , a log, yet a blessing for me.
An unnerving sensation woke me up when I consciously realised, I hadn’t drown , it’ been just a nightmare. It was two a.m, and I could still hear the peculiar silence of a war-zoned country.
The past months have been devastating in every aspect of life. Be it the economy ,the financial conditions, or the emotional breakdown of the town people, or be it the loss of a lad and his father, or be it the virtues or the simple living of a small town. Wars have always been glorified,and their insane , cruel nature has been hailed as bravery.
The grey clouds had veiled the town for past two months, today they were pouring down, as if they could no longer gather this hatred and had broken down.
My life had been shrunk to merely household chores after the loss of my heart and soul, my husband and my son. Two years ago , I lost them in the first Nazi attack of the town, while I was off to the nearby city . Life at thirty-four, wasn’t a life now, it was merely surviving with a hope to die soon just like the dried up petals of a rose that lingered to be writhered away.
I was busy oiling the sewing machine, when suddenly I heard someone at the door, “Alice! Alice!……Open the doors!!” It was the stumbling voice of aunt Ursala of the neighbourhood. When I opened the doors, she carried her grand -daughter in her arms. Hurriedly , she dropped the little girl with me along with a piece of paper, and escaped quickly . This thing did not even took a minute or two, and hardly had I conversed with her. I shut off the doors and let the little girl in.
The paper read,
” I know you aren’t a Jew, but for the sake of humanity, save her. Isabella had already lost her parents in one of those cruel genocide.I am not even certain , will I ever be back again. Take care of her and yours as well.
I sighed heavily and looked at innocent Isabella. With teary eyes, she reciprocated and I took her in my arms. I kept looking at her face and and the reel of ugliness of war iterated in my mind.
I wish I could turn back the clock and bring the wheels of time to a stop.
And just roll over the joys of good, old days. The sepia-coloured joyful pictures of my little family took over my mind, which had long been indulged in the nostalgia of memories.
Isabella was off to sleep . I was almost clueless about my next step concerning her. However, I was certain to sheild her away from the hands of Nazis. Well, I wasn’t even sure of raising her up with such a little income that came from sewing.
There has been a void in my life from the past years, all my happiness, desires , purposes have been buried deep down into an abyss , which were now beyond recovery.
A month had passed , Isabella had been well aquainted with me, I spend my hours teaching her , she fascinated colouring her books, sometimes she would sit on the kitchen platform , telling me stories, of faires and angels, she had earlier read in her books, while I prepared meals for us . She would even, sometimes, lend me a helping hand in gardening, and with lot of excitement she would come to me ,and tell me, a bud has blossomed. The war was on it’s pace and my life on it’s.
Around seven in the evening, black clouds were still wailing upon the sorrows of the lives lost. I was in the kitchen , washing the dishes and Bella, yes , now I address her as Bella, was in the bedroom, reading. Minutes later, I could hear somebody banging at the door. I traced my way towards the doorstep, to find two middle aged “Wehrmacht” men, in brown uniform with the “Swastik” symbol clearly visible. My veins shuddered, I began feeling frenzied through the warm blood and my voice started fumbling . My heart skipped a beat. They entered the house, took the seats themselves, and asked about my family and whereabouts and my religion particularly. It had been thirty minutes since they were into enquiring, one of them got up and turned his steps towards the bedroom.At the sight of Isabella, he questioned, “Is she your DAUGHTER ?” The word pierced my heart,giving me goosebumps, a flashback of my motherhood, within seconds I was taken back to my good,old days. Never in these years, I felt the warmth of the pious word. Stammering I answered, ” Ye…Yes…!!” I looked at Isabella , embracing her, I again asserted ” she’s my daughter” and planted a kiss on her forehead, holding her tightly in my arms. Isabella, with her wet eyes , hid her face onto my shoulder. The man smirked and they both took their leave.I hurriedly shut the door off.
It was thundering loud and the clouds were pouring down heavily. I felt a sigh of relief, though holding her tight still. I was struggling with my tears but broke down saying ” Yes, you are my daughter, I will raise you up , as I would have done it for my son.”
Sun shone out bright . Two days later after the incident, I was off to the cemetry . This time I wasn’t alone to offer roses to the departed souls, Isabella had held my hand tight all through the way . I sat by the side of the graves while Bella chased the butterflies. I looked her smiling face and hundreds of thoughts came thronging to my mind. Some of the past, some of the impending future, some thoughts horrifying me , some lifting me up for my future endeavours. I had not even realised when our bond grew stronger, when I started behaving as a mother, again . I did not even want to imagine what would have happened to Isabella if those men got to knew that she was a Jew. My heart started beating again for life. I had a purpose . I have a responsibility now, I can no longer survive, I ‘ll have to live, live for her with all that enthusiasm again, with all those aspiration, all those plannings again. I would have to start working now , not for one single body, but for two lives, two souls, two hearts, two futures and one happiness.
Wars have scattered and destroyed families and numerous lives, Even I wasn’t spared . But He had planned something else for me. He knew when I would need the plank of wood the most, to rely on, to support on. Isabella came with a purpose in my life. While I was drowning in the aftermath of the war, Isabella happened to be a godchild in my life, to weave up a whole new masterpiece, with the dull, scattered, torned up threads of my survival , she had appeared to infuse the magic in the dried up petals and colour them again.