People live on pieces of land, in reality. Figments of imagination live deep in the soul, away from the world outside yet share a tumultuous relationship with reality. Residents from the depth of the soul often strut out of their residence to wave a little greeting to the real world in the form of memories, dreams, sometimes even as nightmares. These memories that one cherishes in many moments can be very gentle to the mind but invite a deep sorrow, a void of sensation. Drifting away from these aimless scribbles in her diary, Robin sipped from a glass of warm milk, her usual breakfast before sauntering to her school. The dream she had the last night still lay heavy on her heart, almost making it nigh impossible for her to finish the tall glass in front of her. She knew her mother wouldn’t let her leave before the glass reached its eventual destination, the sink. In her dream, Robin saw herself seated in her classroom, right at the last bench and Ms. Colton with her back turned was scribbling something on the black board. Robin was unable to see what Ms. Colton wrote on the board, she tried squinting her eyes but the message on the board was still a mystery to her. Once she stopped scribbling, Ms. Colton turned towards her class, expecting answers. Robin called Ms.Colton, raising her hand and asking for attention but Ms. Colton stood impassive, almost in a way trying to avoid Robin. Dejected by the cold shoulder, Robin started staring outside the class window. Before she could realize the early morning dew fell on flowers and her time in the comfort of her bed was at its end. By the time she had reminisced about the happenings of her dream, the glass was empty and she had to leave for another day at school. She tied her bright red scarf and buckled her shoes, before unlocking the door and bid farewell to her mother.
Walking on the cobblestone path, Robin often felt the dread of going to the school. Often left out as a recluse in her class and a middle of the pack student, she felt a great apathy towards the school. A few bright moments of her day would be during her English class, taught by spirited Ms. Colton. Ms. Colton was a mild mannered, short, elderly lady with a strange affinity to pale coloured hand knit sweaters, this is how Robin would describe her. Robin’s face would unintentionally light up during her English classes, it was the amalgamation of the effect that Ms. Colton had on her and the aspirations that Robin had in her heart of becoming a poetess someday, just like Ms Colton, who was trying to get her collection of poems published.Ms. Colton loved Robin as well, at least this is what Robin hoped for. She’d often call her the little red riding hood owing to her scarf and moreover she’d interact with her while she sat on the last bench near the window, her perpetual spot. Ms. Colton owned a typewriter and quoted Wordsworth and Frost on a regular basis, Robin tried to imitate her but the verses wouldn’t strike her when the timing would be right. Ms. Colton wasn’t the only character Robin was acquainted to at her school, Ms. Colton’s apprentice and former student Darcy, worked at the school too. She was a slender and chatty young lady, who’d never remember anyone’s name. She’d call all the girls “Sweetie” or “Sweetheart” to cover her poor memory or lethargy. Robin had no opinion about Darcy at all, she was a common fixture at the school often substituting for other teachers. Now a days, Darcy’s presence was a bit more common, since Ms. Colton had been on an extended leave. While Robin was pondering, her feet had travelled the gravelly road to her destination. The large framed, black iron gate of her school was open and hundreds of students like her were entering the premises. Robin with slow and heavy steps entered her class on the third floor and placed her knapsack on the ending table and leaned against the wall to glance out of the window as long as the teacher wouldn’t notice her.
Most days, Robin would lose most of her thoughts once she started to peer out of the window. Glancing at the tall trees and birds that flew across the horizon. A little ginger coloured cat would frequent the rooftop of the adjacent building and Robin would relish the tiny beast’s antics from her vantage points. A horde of birds would come and go on the trees near her class and no other than herself and Ms. Colton had noticed them. She’d often be mesmerized by the scenery that was visible from the window. On days of pouring rains one could see sky littered with thick grey clouds rumbling and raining, while the drops fervently hit the window panes. On clear days, one could see as far the horizon from the window, the tree tops, the nests and the birds that lived in them all greeted the viewers.
On this fateful day, Robin saw a little Cuckoo, perched on a high branch. The Cuckoo again took her mind back towards the fond memories Ms. Colton, since she had promised that she’d read Robin “To the Cuckoo” by William Wordsworth, once Robin would grow up. Robin was fairly certain that Ms. Colton would be back any day, afterall she had gone away for an entire month at this point, perhaps today was the day when she’d show up back. Her yearning to see Ms. Colton was on hold for a few more hours at least, since English was the last period for the day.
As the hands of the clock ticked away, finally it was the final hour of the day and with boundless excitement, Robin’s sight was fixed on the door. To her dismay, Darcy stepped in again instead of her beloved teacher. Robin gloomily turned towards the window back. Upon hearing the bell for the end of the day, Robin picked up her knapsack, lazily hung the strap over her shoulder and started to move towards the door. As she stepped out of the door, she heard Darcy’s high pitched voice calling her.
Darcy: Red Scarf, Sweetie, Listen to me. Come here, I have to talk to you.
Half expecting a scolding for not paying attention, Robin turned back to the teacher’s table atop which Darcy sat.
Robin: Yes, Ms. Darcy
Darcy stood up, placed her hands over Robin’s shoulders and gently positioned her to sit on the first bench. Darcy had a bit of a distraught look on her face as she stood in front of Robin.
Darcy: Sweetie, Ms. Colton is no more with us. Last night, around midnight she left us for the pearly gates of heaven.
Robin’s upper lip started to quiver and her eyes filled with warm liquid emotions. The tragedy shook her to the core. Unable to even process what had happened a perplexed little girl in a red scarf broke down on the aged furniture of her classroom. The news of this demise had left her devastated, the thoughts of never being able to introduce the tiny ginger cat from the adjacent rooftop to Ms. Colton, never being able to read the cuckoo by William Wordsworth with her and never being able to see her collection of poetry published, eclipsed Robin’s mind. A pair of slender arms had enveloped her while she was deep in sorrow with her face besmeared with tears. Darcy loosened her grip and turned around to pick up her purse. Out of her purse, she pulled out a neat little binded bundle of papers and a loose sheet placed on top of it. Robin instinctively wiped her tears as Darcy presented her with the binded bundle and the sheet.
The bundle of pages bound together was Ms. Colton’s collection of Poetry, typed on her own typewriter, then one she desired to get published someday.
The loose sheet seemed something slightly more special, it seemed to be Ms. Colton’s final message for Robin, typed on her typewriter. It read :-
Our little adventure has reached it’s coda, though I long to enjoy your company a little bit longer.I’m hopeful that someday, years from now you will write your first collection of poems and get it published as well. It will be a great success and I will read it with great joy, wherever I may be. I’d tell you to perhaps look out of the window a little less and try sitting in the front side of the class but I know my appeals would fall on deaf ears, because it is your nature to gaze out in the fauna. Keep good care of yourself and whenever you’re ready to type your first poem, ask Darcy to give you my typewriter.
All the love in my heart
Robin placed the bundle and sheet right on her bosom, the paper almost touching her beating heart.
Darcy: Sweetie, I think you should now head towards your home, your mother must be expecting you.
Robin carefully placed her parting present in the knapsack and started to move out of her class, still distraught but with promising signs of emotional recovery. As young Robin exited her class, little did she know about the event that had happened. Ms. Colton’s untimely passing resulted in Darcy being promoted as the new English teacher and along with the post she was presented with the typewriter and the cupboard that is allotted to the English teacher. Fresh with memories of her senior, former mentor and a lifelong guiding presence, Darcy came to the conclusion that this would be the perfect epilogue, the one that Ms. Colton would’ve wanted.