– Exordium of the Equinox of the Gods. 1 –
“Ah, to be able to love, to be able to suffer, to be able to feel ... That which all Humans have for granted, for me are nothing but fleeting rays of light amongst the dark clouds that constantly overcast the sky of my life ...”
The sound of the alarm clock brusquely pulled me from my dream. Heart still pounding, I took a deep breath and searched for the alarm button.
With some effort I recalled the day of the week and, being Wednesday, wished it was Saturday so I could just turn over and go back to sleep.
“Mari! Hurry up! You’ll be late!” a woman’s muffled voice called from the distance making me grumbled a silent complaint. Reluctantly leaving behind the warmth of my soft quilt, I stood up and opened the curtains. The heavy gray sky of another February morning greeted me and suggested it would probably rain.
The quiet Cressingham Road where we had just moved to was already showing signs of life, as those who started their days earlier left the comfort of their homes, and I was once again dragged back to my personal reality.
Removing my pajamas, I put on the jeans I’d left over the chair the night before, and the cool fabric against my warm skin made me shiver.
For a moment the dream, that had repeatedly disturbed my sleep for many nights now, crawled back into my memory making my cheeks burn.
I looked in the mirror hanging from one of the walls and sighed. Leave it to me, to have a dream like that ... Or maybe it was exactly because it was me!
Another sigh, this one much bitter, left me somewhat depressed. The truth was that in my seventeen years of life I had had little to no experience as far as relationships with the opposite sex were concerned. In fact, ‘none’ would better describe my situation. And now a dream like that tormented me every single night.
I covered my face, too ashamed to even look at myself, and took a deep breath.
Not much I could do about it. Truth be said, I was far from being an attractive girl. At five-feet-one I was too thin, even though I tried on daily basis to correct that fact by eating enough for two. My straw-like hair was neither blond nor brown, falling straight just below my shoulder blades. My eyes, of the same indecisive color, were too big for my face, making it look like I was always staring at something, or someone, which made me avoid direct eye contact with others. And to finish it off, I was basically deprived of any feminine forms, leading others to believe I was only old enough to attend, maybe, the seventh grade.
I sighed again, now feeling really depressed, and put on a brown, turtleneck wool jumper. Next in line were my rain boots, and I was finally ready to make my way to the bathroom, and face my every morning fight against my dull hair. Once that was over, I was able to finally follow the delicious scent of freshly made toast into the kitchen.
“Finally, Mari! Good morning!” Rachel, my mother, greeted me, kissing me lightly on the cheek while placing a plate with two pieces of toast and a cup of milk in front of me. “Sleep well?”
“Kind of,” I replied, taking a bite, but she didn’t seem to hear my answer.
“I have a meeting today. Which means I’ll probably be late. But you have what’s left from yesterday’s dinner in the fridge. Just warm it up, if you don’t feel like cooking. But make sure you eat!” she stressed while putting on her coat and, like every morning, went about searching for her car keys.
“On the cupboard, in the living room,” I reminded her, and she nearly ran out of the kitchen.
“Ain’t I the luckiest mom to have an all-knowing daughter like you,” she told me as she came back dangling the keys on one finger and then turned around inquisitively. “How do I look?”
Quite different from me, my mother was a very attractive woman. The gray wool-skirted suit she wore fit her perfectly. She’d tied her blond hair on the top of her head, allowing the elegant line of her neck to show. And the soft makeup she wore highlighted her expressive eyes.
We’d moved into that house at the beginning of the semester, after what had probably been the most peaceful divorce on Earth. My father had taken a working position in New York and, it seemed, they had both agreed there wasn’t any reason to try and maintain a relationship that had been slowly deteriorating over time. Only I had been living under the illusion of a happy family and a perfect marriage.
Rachel was an independent woman, her personality strong and outgoing, the complete opposite of me. She worked as an interior designer and, contrary to what one would expect, the divorce hadn’t affected her in the least; almost as if she’d never been married and my father leaving us had been the same as saying goodbye to a nice neighbor with whom she had casually shared her house for the last twenty years.
“Wonderful, like always,” I honestly replied, asking myself what was her secret to achieve such charming appearance, and she smiled happily as if she needed my approval.
“Be good then,” she said, kissing my forehead. “Anything, just call me. See you later.”
“Later,” I answered with a smile. The sound of her high heels echoed through the house until the front door was shut.
Once alone I made sure I ate the two slices of toast, although I didn’t feeling all that hungry. When I casually took a peek towards the kitchen clock, I couldn’t help cursing. I was already late!