It was a beautiful Friday morning. The sky was clear after weeks it seemed. The rays of the sun seemed to peep in from behind the clouds. Even though Rose loved the rains, this sunny respite seemed to add on to a zing to her life. She knew this Friday will be special.
The onset of the winters was particularly pleasant in this small hill station. It was the time of the year when nature seemed to be sporting a completely different hue altogether. As the golden brown foliage seemed to bid adieu with the strong winds, the dipping temperatures added an entirely different feel to the Nature’s beauty.
A teacher in this quaint hill station school for children, Rose was a person who seemed to look for joys in every small thing in life. Be it the joy of seeing bees sucking nectar from the flowers of spring, to taking a bath in the waterfalls of the mountains, to striking a pose like the models in a random billboard, Rose knew how to relish each and every moment of life. An orphan when just three, Rose had mostly spent her life in hostels, only to go to her uncle’s place once a year, during her extensive winter vacation. However she had never seemed to complain about anything in life and her best accessory was her perpetual smiling face.
The clock struck 8 in the morning, and Rose set about to get ready to go to her school. Even in this far-off hill station, she had to leave early in order to beat a certain amount of traffic jam on her way. For a person who did all her duties diligently and never bearing a grudge against anyone, there were moments Rose felt unusually lonely and forlorn. The children in the school helped to bring a spark in her sometimes dull life. Teaching them, playing with them, were her source of sustenance. Yet there were moments she wished she had someone whom she could call her own, her very own.
Friday was a busy day for Rose at work. Along with the usual classes, there were tests to be conducted, rehearsals for the school fest and the farewell celebration for Mrs Gomes, one of Rose’s favourite colleagues at work. Mrs Gomes was one of the most dedicated teachers of the school, who had taken only five leaves in her entire career. Her school was her life. And when the day of her retirement neared, she was unusually quiet and desolate. Talking to her, Rose suddenly had this sense of fear. It seemed that she could see her entire life in Mrs Gomes. What if her entire life turned out to be like this? What will she do after the school is over? What will happen once these fun-filled days with the school children came to glaring halt? Who will take care of her?
That night she took out her favourite quilt from the suitcase and wrapped it around her at night. She was seeking some strength in the softness of this quilt that her uncle had gifted her long back. After his death, there wasn’t anyone she could call her own in this world. Her aunt had made it amply clear that she was in no mood to maintain any kind of cordial ties with her.
The weekend came and went and days passed and Christmas neared. However, ever since Mrs Gomes’s retirement there was an unhappy streak in Rose that kept her restless even amidst the festivities of the days ahead. She seemed to always look for something as if a strange sense of apprehension at the approach of something took the better of her. However, she didn’t know what it was that she was waiting for.
Rose started taking part in the Christmas Carol classes, was a part of the teachers’ play at school. Her days were full and yet she seemed to have parted with her happy streak. Soon Christmas approached. She prayed ardently during the Midnight Mass. She exchanged greetings with everyone at the hilltop church and set for home at the darkness of the night. The chill in the air seemed to be reaching her bones. This year the winter was cold, very very cold! Rose was about to reach home, when near the bend of her house lane, the sound of faint cries of a baby came to her ears.
Startled, she looked around to find a bundle wrapped in a red shawl below a tree. In this crazy cold weather, which heartless person will ever do such an inhuman thing of abandoning a newborn below a tree? She took the bundle and brought it inside the warmth of her home. As she unwrapped it, she was faced with the most beautiful baby in the world. A face that can be this unearthly was unbelievable. Rather than feeling perplexed at what she was burdened with, Rose was filled with an amazing sense of calm and happiness. The restlessness that had taken the better of her for weeks, was suddenly gone. Rose was finally at peace with this beautiful gift from Santa on Christmas night. Probably, this was what she had been waiting for. She could finally fathom the reason for her restlessness. God had finally gifted her with someone she could call her own. Rose was content. Rose had finally entered into Motherhood and was filled with a sense of calm. It was indeed a beautiful Christmas this year.