Christina's World

I want to write about that summer with Christina but I cannot. Words fly away like a summer breeze and refuse to cage themselves into sentences and paragraphs. I want to write but I am wordless. I want to talk about it and tell as many people as possible what Christina meant to me and how that summer will remain the happiest in my life but I feel strangely muted. It’s as if my mouth has lost the power of making any intelligent sound and, hence, I sit here and try to make sense of the incoherent gasps that escape my lips.

But I want to talk about her and I refuse to accept this muted state that I am in at this moment. I know it cannot last long and, someday, the words will come forth from my mouth like the rush of a waterfall but it is not today. Today is the day for incomprehension, today is the day for grieving without the crutches of language, today is the day for seeking explanations that will never come.

It’s futile, I know. I should simply accept the finality of her passing, and the obvious death of all things that I held to be truly joyous. She will never come back and I am not going to laugh ever again in my life. It’s not easy to accept loss with such certainty but I have to, they tell me and I tend to agree rather meekly, because it’s therapeutic.

I close my eyes and the summer returns with its radiance but, then, I open my eyes again, very quickly, and a white shroud covers my world with its icy clutches. I am living in these two worlds and I like the former because in that world she is still there with me. I have to only allow my eyelids to drop a little and I see her, once again, running in the fields till her feet ache. My ears resound with her laughter and with that of the birds chirping away singing their summer song. I smile again as I see her resting and pondering whether or not she has the stamina to dart towards the barn and come back to where I am.

“Run”, I tell her, “follow the wind and let it take you where it will.”

And so she did. She ran and ran and ran, and did not see the truck speeding in her direction. I open my eyes with a start to shake away the memory of that event. I can only call it an ‘event’ because using any other words would simply signify acceptance of a certain fact that I wish to ignore as much as I possibly can.

There are those who might think that I am running away from the issue and not tackling it head on. They feel that I am committing grave injustice and blaming myself for something that’s not my fault. They believe that I need to accept the reality of the situation and move on with my life. They might just be right in their various assertions but I cannot accept it.

It’s not that I want to wallow in my misery but I don’t see any other alternative. How can I? Christina was my only daughter and my only link with her mother who passed away in childbirth many summers ago. I always thought that it would be Christina who would bury me in my old age and not… what eventually happened.

I want to write and talk about her and somehow bring her back onto the pages of my memories. But human language is so futile because it can never really explain how I can ever live the rest of my life with the shame of having buried my only child.

Christina's World was painted by American artist Andrew Wyeth (1917 - 1948). This story was inspired by that painting and was written as part of a writing exercise on Shakespeare and Company, a writers forum part of


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