She had lost count of how many times she washed her hands today. It was difficult to know if it was all the anxiety or justified. She checked the time again. It was difficult to get used to this new routine. Time passed by quickly and slowly. Last month felt like last year. She heard somewhere that was natural, there were so many changes. She looked up the stairs to check if she could see or hear her husband. Nothing. She sat at the bottom of the stairs, waiting, gathering her thoughts and feelings. It had been a long week, she missed his hug and kiss before her shifts. But doing that now was too much of a risk. Although the risk for her at work was unavoidable.
She would have never imagined her home one day being like this, divided in two. She could only use certain parts of the house. Yet through this, her husband cared for her in every possible way. They talked through closed doors, he cooked and put it outside her door. Always her favourite meals with a flower on the tray and a note under the cup saying I love you.
Sitting at the bottom of the stairs was breaking the rules. But all she knew lately were rules, worries and procedures. Before all this started they were trying to start a family. She remembered the heartache every time she got her period and realised this wasn't the month. Now that was a relief and a blessing, she wouldn't have wanted their precious family to start at a time like this. People said it was a war. She didn't see it that way. For her, it was a tragedy that destroyed and swept through unforgivingly. In war, your main weapon is not love, care and compassion for others. For her, that's what her role was in all this. She looked at the phone again, it was time to get ready for her duty. Once again she washed her hands and felt the sting from the soap on her scraped hands.
Summer was beautiful, bright, always radiating energy, excitement, hopes...
It seemed just summer's presence would bring people hope and joy. That was a power that couldn't be denied. But within oneself, Summer didn't see it as a power, it was a protection so no one would know the truth. Summer thought others were better and had more to offer. In comparison, Summer thought to be dull, predictable, boring, tiring... Of course, that couldn't be shared or expressed. To others, Summer was the luckiest of them all. It seemed wrong to feel that way, be a burden to anyone else.
The Castle changed so much over the years, it was hardly recognisable. One could say the walls looked taller in this bare worn-out condition. But its walls didn't make the castle stronger, even so, that now that was the only part of it that kept it together. There were no more windows and doors to the outside world or a roof for protection. Within its walls it was harder and harder to see out, it all looked scary and lonely. The emptiness of the rooms was day by day more imposing than anything else. It looked like time has stolen the life and beauty out of it. If nothing changed this castle was doomed to its destruction and soon would be part of the past.
Summer woke up one day and decided that was the day. She was tired of how she felt and how hard it was to keep the outside walls looking pretty and perfect for everyone else when the inside was crumbling down and rotting away. She didn't know why she just knew she couldn't go on. She couldn't dare to think of burdening anyone else when she couldn't understand any of it herself. She was only certain there was only one way out of her interior castle.