Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Life is what we make of it

She used to live in Ashbourne,Ireland. Alanah, was a deceptively frail looking girl with pale skin and long red hair. Hair that ran below her waist in wild tresses, her only visible stamp of rebellion. She did the regular things that every girl in high school does. Untill she met Pegaso. He was from beyond the land of her text books. He was from Greece. Tall, dark and unimaginably handsome.

He took up a job at the nearby garage. Alanah saw him everyday on her way to school. He was exciting, nothing like the boys in her class and he always had a ready smile for her. There was nothing much that interested her after that. Her world started spinning around the morning smiles. Love can be many things, it can affect the young heart in many ways, but it is always beautiful in its first tentative steps. And so it was with Alanah.

Irish winters are known to be mild. But that year the nights turned icy. On one such dreary night Alanah swept across the streets from her home with a blanket tugged under her arm. She reached the garage and knocked at the side door. The door opened and Pegaso filled its frame. At a loss of words, as the surreality of the situation gripped her, Alanah managed a shy smile and thrust the blanket towards Pegaso and ran into the darkness, her hair a halo behind her.

Thus started a new chapter in Alanah's life. She would grow with this, she would learn, she would travel outwards and deep inside, she would gain, she would lose, she would reach her core and grow again. She did not know all this then. She was not even 18. Her pale cheeks had a glow in them. Her eyes shone like emeralds. her hair carried the spring of Ireland in them, and her heart carried the love of Pegaso.

Spring turned to summer and before she knew it, the school finals were looming in front of her. At times when you love someone, you distance yourself from every other relationship. Its sad, but it happens, friends and family become strangers in the crowd. Love can be selfish in its naivette, love can be ruthless in its single mindedness and love can be foolish in its blindness. Alanah had set her mind on travelling with Pegaso to Greece. Exams were not on her list at all. her best friend, Fionna, tried to talk her out of this, but to no avail. her parents fought tooth and nail against her decision, but Alanah was determined to start her life in Greece.

Every evening at 7:30 a bus left for Belfast. The summer of 1970 saw Pegaso and Alanah take that bus out of Ashbourne. Pegaso had a small case, he gathered no moss. Alannah had a bigger bag plus a case. She had taken all the money her father, a school teacher, had saved for her university education and marriage. She would return them, of course, as soon as Pegaso's petrol pump became a success in Lipsi, the island in Greece he called home. The island that would be home to Alanah much more than Ashbourne could ever be. Her friend and also her sisters had come to see her off that day, they gave her cakes and sweets for the journey and wished her well. And so started the journey of Alanah. She was 18 that summer.
to be continued