The Recluse (Part VIII)
Silence in isolation is morbidly obese and Estelle feeling overwhelmed and breathless under the pressure grabs Caravana and heads straight to bed. Institutionalized thinking she developed during the long sentence endured in her personal prison drives her to seek out the only escape she can easily access, sleep. Her dreams are usually much livelier, interesting, and socially attached than her real life but just like conscious reality, her dreams also have a course and purpose of their own. Not long after drifting off, Estelle finds herself walking through her familiar house dream, once again. She steps from the room she now sleeps in, through her bedroom window and negotiates the familiar broken-down passage way into that secret, other-house-addition attached by her streaming subconscious. She wanders its halls aimlessly, inspecting each room. She wonders why she leaves these lavish furnishings here in these forgotten rooms and never moves them into the other house. She notices a door so very, familiar from the house of her conscious world but is confused as to why this door and this room are here in her private dream-house. Feeling the rising terror of a nightmare, Estelle walks into Emma’s room, and hears the door slam shut behind her. In vain, she tries to open the door and get out but the door won’t budge. She runs to each of two windows in the room but finds they are false windows and this room is an inner room with no access to the outside. Estelle feels the world begin to spin with the sensation of falling and just before she hits the ground, she wakes up to a concerned Caravana staring into her face.
Depression settles over Emma but because she is a true survivor, she valiantly lifts the invisible, leaden slab-weight off herself and slips out from under it, thereby enabling her to get up to do what she must do to continue living. She walks from her bed to her familiar bedroom window (the only one she’s ever known) and pulls back the curtain to make sure there is a world out there and not just a landscape painted on a brick wall. She hears laughter and looks over toward the Hernandez’ residence and sees the small family hugging, hurrying, talking, carrying Bibles, and piling into their car. “Church again?” Estelle thinks first critically and then curiously, “What does it mean…God?…church? Why do people believe such things and what do they get out of it?” God was never a part of Estelle’s upbringing and none of it made sense to her. The Hernandez family was her first real contact with a sort of people that always seemed otherworldly, distant, and rather threatening to Estelle. Now, a new face of Christianity is emerging and that face belongs to the small somewhat, dysfunctional Hernandez family. As they drive off down the street, Estelle considers what she just saw and compares it to her own experience of family. The William’s family consisted of only three persons, with one daughter but that’s where all resemblance came to an end. It was obvious that Tony loved Maria and Maria loved Tony. Their focus (though too subservient) was on their daughter. Her wellbeing was their upmost concern, even if they didn’t always express it in a way best for Alisha. This little, imperfect family enjoyed a lot of love. Did that love come from their religion? Was there something to this God stuff?
Estelle’s thoughts wash backward into feelings she’d rather not explore but has no power to stop, now. That bond of love was not what held the William’s family together. It was Emma’s need that formed the adhesive of her family. She and her father’s drive to fulfill a self-imposed duty to serve that gaping lack had kept the William’s family together. As to a damaged false idol, Estelle and her dad paid all homage to Emma and found their sad, life’s purpose in trying to satisfy the poverty they called wife and mother, with themselves. Their worship and service were futile because what Emma needed was the personal development of growing to become a complete person. Joe’s love for Emma was a kind of sad penance that Estelle would never understand. He worked himself hard to give her what she demanded, while not even sharing her bed but instead, sleeping in a separate room that resembled a monk’s cell. He tried to give his daughter the things she needed but was emotionally, unavailable. He was too overwhelmed with trying to complete his wife to have anything left for anyone else. He emptied himself out for her and died with nothing. Emma was a non-persona and had nothing to offer anyone, let alone her daughter. Estelle, with no deliberate thought, simply tried to relate to her mother by mirroring Joe’s relationship with Emma. In this moment, the past and the present congeal in Estelle’s mind and heart and she realizes she grew up as an invisible child. Her parents were so lost in themselves that they seldom saw her and never knew their daughter. Even worse, she knows she remains unknown, unattached to others, and is an obscure woman.
Finding it hard to breathe, Estelle opens the window. The day’s last golden rays of sun-light stream in with sparkling, intensity and a sudden gust of strong wind pushes a weakened Estelle down on her knees. With head and hands on the window sill and tears streaming, Estelle without thinking finds herself praying, “God? Oh… God…? God. I need you! I don’t know what to say…or even if you hear me…but I can’t be like this anymore! Please, help me find my way out! Please! Send someone to love me so, I can know what love is before I die!”
The powerful gust of wind now settled into a gentle, caressing breeze is comforting and Estelle lifts her eyes to witness a brilliant gold and peach sunset that she understands as a visual reply to her prayer. Peace settles over her and the painful ache of an unnamed longing she’s always born ebbs away. None of it makes reasonable sense but her heart accepts it all gladly, without question. Caravana rubs against her thigh purring and she knows he understands too.
“Oh, Caravana! I don’t know what’s coming tomorrow but I think everything has changed!”
To be continued.
For previous posts in this series visit my Page entitled “The Recluse Series” at https://joyindestructible.com/the-recluse-series/