Just as life begins with the first breath, a story starts with the first letter. It's just like that, she thought, as she laid there in bed with a sense of unreality and with a newborn baby by her side. Two new, little, blue eyes had seen the light of the world for the first time this beautiful November day when the thin snow cover - that would soon melt again - covered the ground and the trees' branches. The sun was shining only on this day to welcome the newborn baby's first breath, first cry and first meal. What would the rest of the days look like? Would they be gray or red or yellow?
Her thoughts wander in this story, a story that's hers. Many funny memories mixed with melancholy stories emerge. She has been longing for this moment when she can be alone with her thoughts, even if the life she had just given birth to interrupts her thoughts sometimes. It's still a strange feeling, but something she'll get used to. It will be the baby and her from now on. She has given up her dream of becoming a writer, at least in this moment when life itself has gotten in the way of life. But whose life is it that she should live or want to live?
Sometimes she wonders if she's the only one in the world, who feels that the best thing in life is to be just left alone with her own thoughts. Her thoughts that are only hers and that no one else can take part of. Her thoughts open the door to a different world and a freedom that no one else but she can understand. It 's like having a secret, like that feeling you have when you were little and had secrets with your best friend. It was exciting. It was magical. It was bubbling fun when you had a secret. And she's suddenly brought out of her thoughts by a small whimpering followed by crying. So heartbreaking, but at the same time a reminder of life. A life that isn't hers, but that will be a part of her whole life. The little baby girl has opened her eyes and brings her thoughts back to the white reality, because right now everything is white with an uncertainty, a pride and a lovely, surreal feeling of being a mother to a toddler. Surreal but white. A feeling as unreal as the magically gleaming snow outside the window. Maybe this is just a dream or one long thought that has become her reality. Sometimes she can't really distinguish what's a dream and what's the reality. She thinks, sighs, wonders and marvels at life.
Miranda. That would be her child's name. Miranda, like the girl in the book she had read a long time ago when the world was different, or was it a completely different world she lived in at that time? It was the time when a summer felt like an eternity. She used to smell the grass and hear the sound of locusts as she whizzed along the road on her old, red bike. Nothing was new at the time. Things were inherited and re-used, neighbors met over a cup of coffee. Life was less complicated and stress was a word that barely existed. It was this world she often re-created in her mind, but today's reality had become cruel, dark and grim, except for this moment right now that was white.
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Now a new era begins, a new era that's a part of eons of time. In her dream Miranda is in a meadow of flowers and she feels the sun warm her freckled face and her naked, pale arms that have not seen much sun this summer. Suddenly she sits up with a jolt when she hears something rustling in the grass, and she sees something sticking up among the meadow flowers. What is it? It' a ... With a jolt, she wakes up sitting on her bed, with cold sweat running down her spine and with the image of a snake head left on her retina. Once again, a dream turned into a nightmare in a second. She looks around the dimly lit room. She is surrounded by shadows formed from the streetlights' glow outside the window. She hears the sound of a car enging starting on the street. Is it morning yet? The clock says 4:44 am. She could still get to sleep more than an hour before the alarm clock would wake her up with a short melody of soft tones. When she closes her eyes again, the heart starts beating faster and the image of the snake's head is becoming clearer as the heart rate increases. What 's going on with her? She has a thousand and no thoughts in her head. There would be no more sleep this morning.
Weekdays are gray, it's said. Miranda's day is going to be everything except for gray this day. Today's shades will be a memory for life. After the abrupt awakening by the nightmare with the snake, she takes a long, hot shower to cleanse her body and mind. One hour later, she twists the key in the lock to her apartment on the 3rd floor. What she doesn't know then is that this is the last time she locks the door to her apartment. She leaves the house and the echoing steps of stairs behind for good and eventually she's out on the street. The morning is misty and the cold creeps through her body when Miranda goes to the bus stop, where a middle-aged man is standing and waiting already. She has never seen him before, she's wondering who he is and what his task in this world is. She would never know. The thought strikes Miranda how many people and lives you'll never know. So many life stories that exist, but that so few people know about. Would her life be the same without a reminder for the posterity about who she was, what she did and how she lived? Perhaps it was up to her to make sure her story is remembered.
Miranda usually takes bus number 614 at 7:15 am to her work. This morning she's early. Bus number 603 stops at her bus stop and she stands up from a cold bench at the bus stop. She doesn't know why she, for some reason, takes another bus than usual, and she doesn't know where she's going. She looks out the window as she sits in the almost empty bus with ugly seats. They could surely have chosen a more pleasant color than dark blue for the seats, as well as a better fabric. Some bus seats have obvious signs of abuse. Today's youth don't understand the meaning of money and value of things, Miranda reflects. Did she do it herself?
Spring is coming soon. Miranda enjoys this time of the year when the days get longer and brighter. There's still snow on the ground, but in a few hours the sun will shine brightly and transform small snow crystals to running cold water along the streets' sidewalks. She gets off the bus at an undetermined location without a name. Everything here is different than in the neighborhood she lives in. She thinks that she should have been working right now, met with her colleagues and done what's right. But something has steered her toward a different direction today, towards a new goal in life. She looks around. She's surrounded by people she has never seen before. The streets teem with life. Traffic is brisk, children are running around in tattered clothes, everyone speaks a foreign language and the sun is warm. What a lovely spring day, Miranda thinks, but she soon realizes that it isn't spring. It's warmer now, in fact really hot. And there she stands in her winter jacket, winter boots and gloves on her hands, and she feels she can't stand the heat anymore. When Miranda has taken off a couple of layers of clothing, she starts walking around among the people, the traffic, the shops and street stalls. She has never seen anything like it. It seems like nobody sees her. Everyone is busy with their own lives around her. Buy, sell and survive. This place reminds her of India as she has seen the country on TV.
She didn't know that bus number 603 would take her from a suburb of a town in the cold North to a lively country similar to India. She didn't even feel guilty that she had not gone to work. She's looking for the phone in her bag to see if anyone has called. "Three missed calls." She puts the phone back in her bag. This is a country where phones and computers are overrated. People meet outside on the streets and cafes instead of sitting at home alone in front of a screen, to see the names and pictures of friends who you haven't seen in years. Is that for real? Are they even her friends?
The whole day Miranda walks around in the crowded city. She sees beggars, to whom she gives her warm clothes. Maybe the nights are cold here. She doesn't know, but she likes to do what she can for those people that don't have much. She replaces her shoes with a pair of sandals with a salesman. "I wonder who'd want my winter shoes in this heat?", she ponders. Another salesman gives her a colorful necklace for free. He smiles at her with dark, warm eyes and broken teeth as he hands her the necklace. Miranda takes the necklace with a grateful glance. She marvels at this stranger's kindness. Soon, Miranda manages to find a bank where she exchanges her money to the correct currency. She eats spicy food that is very different from the food she's used to, but it tastes very good. She drinks a heavenly, sweet tea with a taste she can not describe. What a contrast to the life she has lived! What a life people are living here! What a feeling it gives her to feel at home!
This place is colorful in every way. People are poor or rich. Miranda can see the gaps between the rich and the poor so clearly. She now sees everything with new eyes. She takes in all new impressions with her Nordic blue eyes that have not seen the cold reality out there in the big world before. She feels scents she has never felt before and she hears new melodies of a language played in the crowds. The sun's hot rays make her forget the white, gray and cold things people call snow, ice and winter. It's in this country she belongs. All the rest of her life, her whole life up until this day, was perhaps only a parenthesis, a thought, a dream or an illusion.
The same evening Miranda falls asleep exhausted. She doesn't wake up in a cold sweat because of a nightmare, but she sleeps comfortably on an old mattress in an old iron bed in a run-down hotel in a city, in a country similar to India. Next morning she wakes up refreshed. After her breakfast, she goes back to the streets where a new day is waking up. She stops at a vendor selling clothes. She should get more appropriate clothing for the climate. She can't speak the language but she picks up a lot of words the first days in her new country. Weeks and months go by and they will eventually become years. She'll never return to the other life in the other country, to a life filled with nightmares that raises her pulse.
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On the other side of the globe, there's a woman with silver splashes in her hair. She thinks about the day that changed her life. Her daugter Miranda had gilded her years with many wonderful memories. She had enjoyed the moments when she could devote herself to her thoughts. During the early years with Miranda, there was not much time for her own thoughts. After the day when Miranda suddenly disappeared, her life had been filled with terrible thoughts, despair and anxiety. Everything had seemed pointless back then, but she continued to live and hope to one day meet her daughter again. The days had passed in a gray fog. The nights had consisted of nightmares. No one had seen a trail of Miranda after an early spring day so long ago. It had been an ordinary weekday when life had changed forever, both for Miranda and for her mother. It felt as if life itself had ceased on the day when Miranda took bus number 603. Suddenly one day when eons of seconds had passed, Miranda's mother decided to start living again. She would do something she had always wanted, but never dared. She had finally decided to take bus number 603.
For the first time in her 70-year old life, Miranda's mother dares to do what she once dreamed about, and this time she will not repent. Miranda's mother finally sat on the bus and she was amazed at the shabby bus interior, but in her mind she's already moving towards another goal in life, and can't be bothered to waste thoughts and energy on the bus's appearance. The bus trip is just a tiny little part of the journey she's going to take. At the next stop, she gets off. As she steps out from the bus, she meets with a deafening heat when her feet hit the ground. The first thing she sees is two eyes and a mouth that looks familiar. She had seen them for the very first time so long, and then they had changed her life forever. There she stood now – alive – her own Miranda. In the middle of nowhere in a country similar to India, the woman had met her daughter again. Miranda's mother is overwhelmed by a white feeling that breaks out in a big, sparkling firework of colors and emotions. It's overwhelming! This is almost unreal, and soon she'll probably wake up from a dream. But nothing happens. Mother and daughter are standing a long time just looking at each other until Miranda says: "Finally, I managed to snatch you out of your mind, mom. This is my reality that will become your reality, mom. This is a country that you didn't know existed, but we are here now, mom."
A big part of life has been gray for Miranda's mother, but the shades of life were so many more. Miranda had changed her life forever from day one. Day 13 958 in Miranda's life had brought the same feelings to life as when she became Miranda's mother. She now had the same feelings as the day, when she had that little baby beside her in bed. "This is what life is about," she thought. Her life, her thoughts. The thoughts had taken her far from the safe, gray everyday life into a colorful, warm country on the other side of the world. She wished that this whole story had not been her thoughts. She wished it would have been her life.
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Now an old lady sits in a rocking chair with a doll in her arms. The doll is her little Miranda. Miranda, the girl she wished she had once gotten, but never had in reality, in the reality of the other people. She had lived her life through her thoughts and they had many times been real to her. Her thoughts had given her a daughter, who had disappeared, but she had met her again in another part of the world. Here at an old age, when her memory fails, she now finds comfort in her doll Miranda who is real to her. Miranda is the most important thing in her life. This is the life and the reality for an old lady.
A keeper comes into the lady's room and asks if she wants to rest. She replies, "Yes, I do. I'm so tired. So tired of life." The keeper helps her get into bed and tucks her under a blanket. "Get some rest now and you'll have dinner a little later. Miranda is laying here next to you.” the keeper says. "Miranda, are you tired? We can rest for a little while." the lady says and looks at her doll. Miranda's mother closes her eyes and dreams away to another world and another time and place, when everything was so different from now.
There's one person missing at the dinner table that evening at the residential home. Miranda's mother, the old and tired lady, did never open her eyes again. She's already on the other side of the world in a country similar to India, together with her daughter Miranda. Now she has finally time to write her story – the story of her life. It will be called "Miranda's Mom."
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