Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: South America (02/05/09)
TITLE: Suri's Stubborn Heart
By Sara Harricharan
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I took one deep breath after another, letting the peace of mind settle deep into my soul. The faint touch of sea air was lightly fragranced with the sweetness of exotic fruit.
Banging and rustling from below reminded me that I was no longer the only one up. The brief speckle of sorrow faded as quickly as it sparked. I turned back to the small bedroom and hauled my suitcase out from under the bed.
I had come to South America, Guyana, at my mother’s request to help with a cousin’s wedding, but instead, my writer’s heart was captivated by the simple beauty and natural surroundings my mind had dreamed for.
“Suri?” Ma’s voice echoed up the narrow staircase. “You sleep all day, girl?”
I smiled. This past week, I’d been staying up late, eating delicious Indian foods and chatting with family members who could remember me since I’d been two. The smile widened. This was home and real comfort food and I had needed both badly.
Coaxing my curls into a ponytail, I slathered on face cream, unable to help myself. True, I would be helping in the kitchen, but my vanity demanded mascara, so I surrendered.
Cooking went quickly, as time flew between girlish chatter sprinkled with sage advice. Ma finally shooed me upstairs to get ready. “You take longer than the rest of us.” She teased.
I scampered upstairs to root out my dressy outfit. My fingers brushed across the cover of my leather journal, buried beneath the socks. Memories rushed back. I sat on the bed, examining it. Lovely, faded yellow pages and a plain old ballpoint pen begged me to use them.
Soft winds dribbled through the open window and I dragged a heavy wooden chair to sit near the windowsill, tugging my hair free from its confines. My heart ached in a way I didn’t want to understand as I stared out the window.
So I had run. But He had found me and surrounded me with His beauty.
Gorgeous palm and coconut trees shaded the land, along with countless other plants I could not identify. In the background, cars honked in passing from the narrow dirt road. Chickens occupied a corner of the backyard and deep into the fields, the cow pasture was occupied. I smiled. It had been so long since I’d been away from the city and the pressures of American life. Yet here the rural world was magical.
My eyes slid shut and I finally released the pen. It fell to the floor, along with the journal, as tears began to trace their way down my cheeks. I’d wrestled with issues of my life, future and family for the past few months. They’d piled up on top of each other until Ma had begged me to come to Guyana with her.
I was too burnt out to protest and when she’d paid my way, I couldn’t refuse. Now I cried in our ancestral home as emotions of all kinds attacked me. Tears poured out, in waves of incomprehensible grief.
For one black moment, I hated myself.
I was useless and horrible. I wished I to be like a carefree bird. But in the same instant, the urge vanished and I was emptied to my own cruel devices.
The wind whispered softly and I grasped the windowsill, leaning out to breathe in the untainted freedom to still my soul. “Why Father?” The plea left my lips. “Why bring me here? Why inflict this-” I couldn’t finish the sentence.
His voice was clear in my mind.
I sniffled. There was too much to do. The main reason I’d traveled here was to insure my over-achieving mother didn’t trigger another heart attack while in this distant country.
My lips stubbornly pressed together. I didn’t want to give in, but He was already touching my heart, gently prying away at the carefully crumbling exterior I’d built up around it.
I love you.
Hot tears spilled out as I bent to retrieve the journal and pen. Teardrops splashed on the empty page, but I scrawled across it anyway. “Love you too.” And my heart finally surrendered.
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