“There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again“. ~Elizabeth Lawrence
It happened in one late afternoon in spring. It was a Sunday. Everything was perfect in my imagination; the statues in the garden would step down and walk, the characters of the fairy tale would emerge and talk, the walls would speak, the trees would transform to small children and play. I as the brave princess was standing tall close to the big magnolia tree, in the front garden in my parent’s house. The air was alive with chatter, and enthusiasm. I took a deep breath, as big as a gulp of air as I could and held it to push back at the fear. I adjusted my sword, bowed my head to the all my friends. There was an air of expectancy everywhere. The world seemed to hold its breath. Then it started. I was running around in between the big trees holding my cocker spaniel puppy in one hand and a long broken tree branch in the other. I was trying my best to fight and protect all from the evil monster. The fight was very hard and tricky but I tried my best.
‘Yes, yes, we won!’ There the monster was laying flat on the grass, not dead but tired and shamed from loss. I spared his life and gave him a second chance. I stood straight, swiped my sweat from my forehead in the back of my palm, removed a strand of hair from over my eyes and threw the broken stick to the ground. A general air of surprise and genuine satisfaction fell upon everyone. I looked around and saw the rich smile on the faces of all the statues, on all the trees and on the faces of my favorite characters. ‘Wow! You won the battle and made us proud. Bravo!’ They raised their right hands to their lips, laying thumb and forefinger together and threw kiss of reverence and waived cheerfully.
‘Thank you for all your support.’ I said with a smile, waving my right hand proudly. They all cheered ‘Now you are the queen.’ Their voices were high and penetrating and were woven into fantastic patterns of high- hope, assurance, excitement, courage and fulfilment.
‘Amber! Amber! Where are you?’ I paused and turned around as I heard my mother’s voice. I made a few cart –wheels, plucked one pretty bright pink rose from one of the rose bush and sailed across the garden to the house. I walked into the kitchen where my mother was standing with a bowl of mixed vegetables in one hand and a cup of milk on the other hand.
‘Hi Mom’ I said, as I carefully set the flower in front of her on the table. ‘For you, Happy Sunday!’ I smeld the rich scent of heating spices and also at the same time felt something different in the air. Leafing through my hair I smiled nervously. She tipped her head to one side, looked at me. The expression on her face was too familiar. Quickly I said, ‘I was in the garden, playing with the puppy’.
My mom handed me the cup of milk and asked, ‘How old are you? This not an age to play anymore with your make-belief friends. Be realistic. Now you should focus more on your studies and learn some other thing except books and friends’.
I took a sip from the warm milk and said, ‘Yes, I should concentrate more on my studies but what are the other things that are more important?’ I clasped my hands and continued with my sentence that how much I liked sketching, writing stories and reading.
My mother raised her eyebrows and nodded. My heart squeezed momentarily. There was a long pause. She adjusted her eyeglass on her nose and said, ‘You are not a small kid any more so you need to learn how to act according to your age. Go to your room finish your home- work then come and help me in the kitchen.’ Her voice was quiet grave now and it matching her eyes.
A little whisper escaped my slightly parted lips.