Emma Fletcher fell in love with the written word when she was in kindergarten. Her teacher had handed her a book about cats who liked to hide in boxes and since that day – she had adored reading. It became an integral part of her life and her identity.
Emma’s parents were quite disturbed to learn that their darling daughter, who had displayed signs of such intelligence, could not speak. Their daughter’s incapability dashed their dreams. But as things turned out, Emma’s love for reading blossomed into a love for writing. She wrote all day. She filled up journal after journal, and never let her speech-problem get in the way of her mental development.
Emma was an introvert by nature. An introvert would know what one means when one says that they are one of the most bullied kind of people. Their habits are constantly poked, prodded and criticised. Emma was spared that criticism, mainly because she was under fire of such intensive sympathy all the time. A sympathy that was derived from her muteness. A sympathy she felt she neither needed nor required. This was because no matter what everyone said, Emma believed her position was enviable. Everyone else around her could talk, which was exactly why they did. And most of the time, they let themselves down.
Emma believed the quality of thoughts was much greater if conveyed through writing.
Keeping this little nugget of her own wisdom in mind, she wrote with pride and she wrote with relish. Speech was a handicap for most people and Emma was free of it. She grew up to be the strong, confident woman she had always dreamed of being, though she never let go of that quiet, shy corner of her being. The part that loved book-shops, musty old volumes, coffee and writing. She recorded every emotion, every experience and every event as she lived it.
As she had chosen journalism as her career, this practice helped.
Emma was fascinated by how perfect and complete the written word was. It had the power and ability to do justice to all the magnificently complex people, places, emotions and situations one faces in life. Words could break hearts and set tears gushing. They possessed the soothing caress that could patch-up hearts and null someone’s pain.
Words had accompanied her, her entire life. They had never failed her. There was a word for everything and everyone.
It was when Emma was eighty – had walked the Earth, had achieved those rainbow, soap bubble dreams of hers that usually pop before one can touch them – that she learnt the sad truth that words are, after all, man’s glorious method of explaining the world to himself. Words, too, had limits.
‘Will there be anything else, dear?’ The nurse smiled sadly down at Emma’s frail figure. The hospital room’s sterile atmosphere swirled around them and the fresh, white chrysanthemums on the windowsill swayed gently by the force of some breeze. A breeze Emma was desperate to feel on her aged face.
Emma pointed at her leather bound journal, that was lying on the chair by the wall. Within a moment, she was handed it and her favorite fountain pen.
In her last few breaths, she recorded her last few thoughts. Her thoughts about how, if there was something indescribable – something that, in its mystery, left her speechless – it was Death.