“This room here is going to be mine. It feels just right!” she said, breathing in the salty sea air that blew in through the French window.
The ancient mahogany panes opened to reveal a small balcony, just enough to accommodate a chair or two, and overlooked a breath-taking view of the ocean.
“I can almost feel the sand underneath my feet” she said ecstatically, sticking one foot out of the grille of the balcony.
Although she was a floor high, the beach felt as though she could step on it if she reached out enough. Right below her, a gleaming silver Mercedes was standing obediently in the compound.
Beyond the narrow wall that bordered the early 20th century bungalow, lay the vast expanse of the private beach, each speck of sand shimmering golden in the evening sun. The sea beyond, was bright turquoise, almost as blue as the stone in her neck. Clutching the expensive locket, she turned around to take another look at her new enclosure.
It was nothing grand, not large by any standards. But it was everything she always wanted. A comfortable haven, where she could enjoy lazy morning coffees and evening pensive moments alike, an intimate abode, where all her belongings were always close at hand.
The room was largely empty, barring a large round antique clock, whose hands perpetually showed 12.22, and on the opposite wall was a tall wooden almirah, a grand representative of the days it had seen. She made a mental note to include the two in her décor.
Her father stood at the door, beaming with joy. She already had a mental picture of how she would renovate her room, and he could see it in her eyes. “It’s yours”, he said, and then he left her alone.
For a few minutes, she floated around the room, nimble and excited. She looked at the room from every angle, which wall should be painted red, which one shall house her library, where should the almirah be placed so that it caught every envious eye.
Intrigued by the old furniture’s grandeur, she opened one of its creaky doors, and then the other, and marveled at the smooth interiors. Some drawers had a difficult mind of their own, while others gave away too easily. The last one at the bottom slid out completely to reveal another handle.
“Wow! So this is where the olden people would hide their treasures. Interesting.”
She imagined a young widow stashing away her jewels in that little chamber, worried about the gang of robbers on the loose, or a middle aged mother depositing small wads of cash, saving for her daughter’s wedding.
“The world is so much better with banks”, she sighed, as she tried to shift the handle to the left. It didn’t budge at first, and after a lot of persuasion, it slowly began to move, exposing the darkness underneath in agonizingly small parts.
And then she saw it. Black inside the dark chamber, it would have gone unnoticed, had it not been for its golden corners that caught the last few rays of the sun. With her heart thumping faster at the discovery, she gently removed the leather-cover book from where it lay, forgotten and unnoticed.
Having wiped the film of dust from the cover, she revealed a book without a title. Its sides were yellow, “just like an old man’s teeth”, she giggled at the comparison, flashing her own row of pearly whites. Seeing the peeling leather from the book’s edges, she wondered what would be its age and tried to speculate its contents.
Holding her breath, she turned the leather cover, only to unveil a blank page. Then another. And another.
Beginning to get disappointed, she turned to the fourth page. Finally there was something- a quote written on the centre of the page, written in immaculate script:
Monotony is easy.
If you do today and tomorrow what you did yesterday,
you shall find there are no problems.
But if you do choose to look and question everything you see,
there are lessons to be learnt everywhere!
For the second time in the day for her, something felt just right…