Chapter one – A window to count on
“She gazed out of the window to find a moonless sky full of twinkling stars…”, and within the skies, among the stars, she could see her unfettered self in the world of her dreams, with no confinement.
Zoe, 15, restricted within her home out of cultural and authoritative stipulation surrendering to the norm of the family since ages.
Like many other girls in her country, she could never leave the house except, the day, when she says her vows and steps into her ‘happily after’.
Her gateway into her world of imagination was the only window in her room. The window knew her and had seen the most phases of her growing up than anyone in the household would have ever cared to notice. It was the sole witness to her sorrow, her joy, her beauty unfolding while she confessed her secrets, desires and hope into the thin air through the window.
‘Zoe’, meant life, named by her mother who she loved immensely, while craving for the slightest jolly communication with her father.
Usually complaining, Zoe, had interrogated her mom, as to why she named her ‘Zoe’ while she is just living and not alive.
Only to find her mom responding ‘you gave me life, by coming to this world, and for the reason, I called you ‘Zoe’, you are my life, Zoe’.
Skipping night’s sleep was a preferable affair to sit at the window to feel the crisp wind brush her skin while her hair softly plays along. Her thoughts would wander from running in the woods, going to school, making new friends, singing, dancing and never coming back to her pen. Tears, like all other nights, would assemble on the window sill, leaving a stain on drying, giving away a sneak of the last night’s silent dialogue.
With every passing year, as Zoe bloomed into an elegant teenager, her desire for freedom, grew stronger.
Her other brothers were so well looked after by her father with all the deserved attention, facilities resources to lead a happy childhood.
They went to school, had friends and usually invited them over over suppers for which Zoe just like a good sister had to serve them.
She had happily started serving their friends since ‘Zion’ had been her brother’s newfound-slightly-older friend.
Zion was the sweetest among all his friends, he noticed Zoe and would greet her with a smile and usually exchanged greetings and thank yous. Zion was the only one who would make her feel noticed, while for everyone else she was more than transparent. Lately, all the adrenaline seemed to shoot up, upon his sight or even his smile, while she caught him stealing glances at her in return.
For the first time in ever, she had imagined of another individual by her side while she enjoyed and roamed the lands by free will.
The girls in the neighborhood, if they are lucky enough dodging the abortion of their initial existence seemed to have come with the same destiny as Zoe’s. They all had to finish up the chores, take care of the household and younger siblings while not getting to go to school, or go out in woods, or make new friends. All the girls in the locality had secretly got their confidante in stars, moon, window, ceilings or their pet.
However, their worst nightmare shared by all was to get married in their teens to the man of triple times their age. She had been to Sasha’s wedding earlier this month, she dreaded to be in the situation, as the only memory she has of Sasha is of crying, wailing and getting dragged into the car at the end of the ceremony by her very old groom.
Earlier during the day, overhearing the conversation of her parents her panic-stricken self had managed to compose herself with the utmost difficulty. That night, gazing at the stars, realizing the absence of the moon by the natural darkness spread over the night, she couldn’t hold back her tears, while she wept inconsolably, the words of her parents rung in her head repeatedly. She remembered her mom opposing her father, while he came an announced the news of setting up Zoe’s wedding in the coming week. Zion was one of the many thoughts which occurred repeatedly during that night which increased the tears count immensely.
It was then she decided she could never end up in a much miser situation, and now is the time to make a decision, for the marriage was never going to happen.
But, the puzzle to her liberation and freedom was not yet solved.
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