The Endeavourer by Jack Grey

Quite the feat really, or one would think it so. For a woman in her prime to experience such a calling. In a dull world it is all we learn to expect: the unforeseen idiom that is faith. It controls and dominates us, and it is commended. Sitting on a simple park bench was the perfect likeness to contrast from her current life. The vibrant colours of the dreadful wind flashed past her eyes scornfully, only to draw her attention to the small bird nesting in the oak above. She felt somehow connected to this weak, defenceless creature – and continued to stare. The sweet melancholy call alerted the mother bird, who was quick to respond to her needy offspring with a tender meal. The fruit of her labours. She was reminded of her own mother, and of the day she passed away. The mother bird quickly dived, determined to nourish its little one, leaving the chick alone once more.

The calling was now clear and imminent. She often dreamed the thought: “Please mother, give me a sign.” Her yearning was considered worthwhile. She could recall the experience being both divinely powerful but at the same time, comforting. The only words uttered as a response: ‘’Be strong.’’ The endless wind began tearing through her as though to reap the very soul. This no doubt became quickly unsettling and her oblivious nature soon resulted in declining stability. The blame for this instance may lie with the same being behind her mother’s demise; some omnipotent devil. She now knows that it was the right time for the occurrence and to this day holds no grudge.

It was brash for her dreaming to be so suddenly broken; and thankfully time would be lengthy before the doubtful, apprehensive creature would divulge. Reality attacked her as the cold chill of an approaching winter stroked her pale skin; its desperate attempt at consoling her fruitless. The bench had spent countless nights of solitude undisturbed causing the wood beneath to be undeniably ice cold; and thus providing little comfort. Sunken crevices held the glass kaleidoscopes of eyes; revealing the entirety of the situation exposed. This was predictable? Some may say. But the years of memory did not recede to the depths of the forgotten. She dreamed on.

In her mind she wanted to think of her mother, however her thoughts were directed to the birth of a child – her own flesh and blood. The first person to be alerted of the forthcoming event was her mother, much alike her current circumstance. She simply screamed, with delight most would assume, and calmed uttered, “I’m on my way, love.” The conception of her first-born was difficult, as most births are. Throughout, her mother would stand by her side, simply hoping – even praying – for it all to be over soon. The cliché continues: “It’s a boy.”

A playful shriek was heard and her eyelids were once again open. Despite her location, it was still difficult to prevent her mind from wandering around in the memories of the life she lived – a lifetime ago, it seems. How spiteful, for she suddenly felt that the mocking wind were to say it so. Each flicker of golden leaf to be encased upon the wind’s influential breath smouldered with colour and dazzled with graceful dance. Was it guilt she felt? For the first smile in weeks was now an eager sapling. Her mother would have said, “As long as you are happy, I am also.” Ankles would cringe at the touch. Fingers would grasp and remember. Eyes would well up and drown. And it was known, that at this moment, in all its divinity; she was calm.

The penultimate night, for her mother, meant nothing to her. Ordinary, it could have been called. It was spent, predominantly, cawing – as the forgotten being she would always be. It was not known, that as she lay, her mother was embracing her final wretched hours. Drifting. She became oblivious through every illness and infirmary her mother had to bear, and through years of recurring sickness she was proven to be an invincible deity – not accounting for the way she insisted on behaving: to ‘seize the day’. Grief is thought to be a factor in making humanity what it is today. Worldwide it is experienced hourly; yet it is thought of for the most part, to be more difficult when alone. The day arrived, beginning with the knowledge of the incident. Rousing her from sleep – hours before her usual awakening – came a phone call, announcing the news.

Days were transient and swift. The problematic lifestyle she once led had halted. It was also decided, at the time, that the ending of her mother’s life was hasty as well as unnecessary. For it was at a time where prior matters were not stable; and it was reasoned to be the death which caused her breakdown. Time is rapid, it changes and heals us. It was in fact time which healed the wound, and time which led to the eventual tranquillity of ecstasy. She always idolised her mother, never once believing such a fate could befall such a magnificent woman.

She thought back to the funeral of her mother, and whispering “goodbye” ever so softly. The constant yapping of the endless crowds: “Your mother was special, she looked after us all” and “Sorry for your loss.” This seemed to reinforce her loss rather than provide comfort. Shifting from a fortnight of clenched fists, disbelief and agonised wails was a woman; the same woman. Retired to her room the eventual scream was bliss. The sting of memory glaring on every wall held the same forbidden eyes that would never look back. She lived on, only in her imaginings. Her memory receded to the last words ever to leave her mother’s lips: “Farewell, my child, such is life.” The immortal reverberation to haunt her evermore.

Memory serves that she felt obliged to visit a place of illustrious value to her own heart after the passing. A small village where she, the endeavourer, spent a great deal of her childhood. She also seemed to have taken an unfamiliar path to her destination out of sheer chance – explaining how she came to be upon the bench. Thinking, and listening to the audible echoes of the universe. The area of grassland was well kept; it stretched to the end of time. Despite the futile attempts of fate to dampen her spirits, she was calm. Bright orange trees sang in the chilly autumnal wind; the ground relishing in encompassing her bare feet. The memories of her mother were strong in this place, and she could faintly remember running with her mother against the tallest lush grass. The fog reassured her of the location, which she found comforting; for here in England, it was typical of the weather to be so.

Birdcall anointed her into the world of her childhood, and glancing across she spotted a pair of airborn sparrows darting with such synchronicity they may have been reflections. Landing on a branch of one of the many trees surrounding her, the birds were silenced. In the park she often sat reflecting on her life and of those closest to her. It seemed to be calming. She often willed time to reverse, for her time to be spent celebrating her mother’s life instead of spending it an aching orphan.

Harmony landlocked – there was no escape – the soaring eyes darted, releasing the pained expression for a modest fear. Destiny had been affirmed; the sole pessimist lunged ever further, to hold the ground as though a child, dreading the forthcoming destruction.

What she then experienced changed her. A violent wind raged through blowing all of the large trees, decorating the ground with fiery sparks of colour. Except one. The tree directly in front of her, the tree in the open, did not stir. By the time the gust had subsided, not a single leaf had fallen; the divinity of the moment was mystical and supreme. She was shaken by the sheer power of the gale, unable to speak. There is no explanation to what occurred to her that day, although she did believe it was a sign. To stay strong during the most difficult time of her life; just as the tree did. Simply stay strong when all the trees around you are blowing in the wind.

Just as the mother bird always returned for her offspring, she believed that her own mother did the same. The calling was too strong not to believe in an existence greater than we consist of here on Earth. She truly was confirmed a believer of greater beings, whether they be Gods or those passed, but the journey had not been in vain. In fact, she now believes it was a crucial part of her developing as a person, through life. She stood, and walked purposefully, to be in her sanctuary, her place of haven. A happy ending resulted: her mother at peace, and the closeness felt with each of her own children.

Prior to the encounter, she had never been a very spiritual woman, nor had she ever experienced something so powerful. She was in complete awe of this moment; and believed it was her mother waking her from the endless nightmare. Saying, as mothers do say, and always will say: “Everything will be alright now.”

The next morning, she woke up with heartburn and wondered why…