Atop a dusty, wooden table laid a stack of dull books for study. Margaret woefully gazed over the pile, then at the window, and sharply returned her gaze to the pile again. She looked admirably out the window, for she wanted nothing more than to join the neighborhood girls in their games; she longed to be as carefree and blissful as they appeared to be. Their rainbow hued dresses glistened under the summer sun, while Margaret’s spirit dampened in the dark, dismal room. With a swift, thoughtless motion she slammed the window closed and grew graver. Without the sunlight, the room was simply a haze of grays and browns. Her stern mother, a portrait of solitude and absent-mindedness, sat knitting and staring at the blank wall while she waited for her husband to arrive. Margaret daydreamed as she sat in the silence; she longed to be weightless, limitless, and ceaseless. Most of all she wanted to be a child, a flower-picking, singing, dancing child but the sights she had seen stripped away her youth. She let her mind wander to a place of happiness: one of parties, fancy dresses, and courtships; her heart was set on living a life of freedom and delight. Abruptly, her mind halted; she must begin her study. She gripped her pencil with a bounded hope, that one day her dress would glisten in the sunlight like the other girls’, but her mother’s harsh glance reminded her that there was no room in her life for joy and certainly no room for rainbow dresses.
December 20, 2008