Feelings of solace | Sunday Observer

Feelings of solace

2 May, 2021

Episode 16

Sarah and Nicolas, the soon-to-wed couple bring Samara across the border, hidden in their vehicle, as she’s wrongfully accused of carrying illegal drugs. At the border, they pretend to be married, although they aren’t, and Sarah is arrested for carrying an ornamental gold pagoda in her handbag. She’s bailed out the following day, and a court case is filed. She wonders why Nicolas and Samara don’t turn up to inquire after her, and later learns that they’re in a secret affair, and that they have betrayed her. She attends the court case alone, pays a fine and faces a suspended sentence of six months imprisonment. The following week, she flies to a city far away, finds employment there and settles down. She follows a university course to become a teacher. She coincidentally meets a young man (Sherman) and falls in love with him. He suggests Sarah be his niece’s home-visiting tutor, and introduces her to his family. She gets negative vibes from his sister, Kumberlin, whose husband has faced a tragic death in the past caused by a sudden heart failure after learning that his wife has deceived him. The relationship continues between Sarah and Sherman. She moves in with him. Sarah conceives, and on the same day she finds it out, she gets to know of some corrupt doings of Sherman’s brother, Jerad. She lies low about what she knows with regard to Jerad. Her visits to the library in the convent become more regular and she develops a close association with Sister Priscilla. Sarah and Sherman get married, and on the same day, Sarah gets to know that the lawyer who represented her at her arrest is Kumberlin’s friend. Kumberlin learns from her friend about Sarah’s arrest in the past and uses it as a weapon against her. In an antique shop, Sarah coincidentally comes across the ornamental gold pagoda confiscated at the border. She visits the antique shop regularly, and Sherman is suspicious of her. He is manipulated by his sister, Kumberlin, and files for  a divorce.

Sarah woke up. She opened her eyes, rose to her feet and she walked... She went back to bed, stood up again, and she walked... She went back to sleep or to rest, to stand up again and walk... However, she never had the mind to leave her room. She spent a long time in her room between her bed and window, resting herself in bed, standing up and then walking.

She was happy that she had eaten well at the convent. Sister Priscilla had made sure of it. She walked into the bathroom and freshened herself up. For some reason, feelings of solace had begun to grow in her. She felt more relieved to see a little object right at the door on the floor. She was shaken at first, but looking at it, she calmed herself.  Well, it was the ring that she exchanged with Sherman, the day they were married! He had returned it! Sarah smiled to herself. She kept hers right next to it on the floor. They were beautiful together. 

Gold pagoda

She  found herself looking through the window. It was windy, and she embraced the breeze with open arms. Suddenly, she saw a man outside the gate. He could be easily identified through the window. It was the shopkeeper from the antique shop! She hurried herself. She opened her door to see apparently  no one. She rushed to the gate to meet her friend.

“Sarah, I have something for you”, he said.

“What?”, she asked.

He held a cloth bag, and it wasn’t hard to pass it through, although the gate was locked. She opened it to find her little gold pagoda!

“It’s yours, Sarah. You deserve to have it. I decided to give it to you, after listening to your story”, he confirmed.

“How did you know I lived here?”

“Best way of finding you was Sister Priscilla. I knew that she was the best person to ask. And she gave you some food when I said I was coming here today.”

Sarah in her bewilderment, was lost for words. She had all her senses focused on him.

“I don’t want you to be here for long. You can go back in”, he said, moving his eyes towards the house.

He turned back while her whispers were gently touching his listening senses.

“Thank you.”

Sarah walked back inside into her bedroom in stealth. Fortunately, no one had seen her leaving or returning. It was wonderful! Also, she realised that she had never asked his name. Unbelievable! She didn’t know the name of her amazing friend. 

She sat on her bed and examined the pagoda. It was glowing and she was consoled. No one outside seemed to know about her existence inside her room. In brief, she was invisible to them. So, went  a few more hours slowly and fast.

At night, she heard someone moaning. Opening the door a few inches, she figured out that it was Jerad. Sarah watched in astonishment. Jerad was holding his head with both hands, bleeding from his head. Sherman, Kumberlin and Sidney were trying to help him. Listening to his own words, Sarah understood that he had been attacked by someone right at their gate. A man had pulled him out of his car and beaten him on his head with a metal rod. In the dark, he hadn’t been able to recognise the man. How awful! Sarah quickly remembered Sister Priscilla’s words.

“Jerad has a lot of enemies. He has made enemies just by himself - taking loans from many and deceiving them. That’s one example. So, I know there’re many in this town ready to get him. Sidney is no second to him, but in a different way.”

Sarah watched. She wasn’t interested in reaching them. No doubt she wasn’t going to be welcomed. In the present status of horror, none of them noticed that she was watching, and she quickly locked herself back inside. An ambulance was called, and Jerad was sent to the hospital in town. Two more hours passed, and the house was silent in deep sleep. She looked through the window.

Darkness was in pieces as it was well past midnight. Sarah was hungry, and she pulled out a bag of snacks that the nun had sent. She helped herself with no delay, wondering how she felt the flavour of everything. Amazing! She couldn’t feel the taste until the food touched her senses. So, was it possible that the food consisted of any taste? Where was the taste then?  In the food? In her senses? She tried to find an answer.

Sarah looked out of her window again. The weather was fine; it gave way to all her aspirations. She had her backpack ready, although there was nothing much anyway. Things had to be done with no noise. She placed the little gold pagoda safely inside the backpack, and put her jacket, pants and runners on. By now, she had realised the purpose of the key Sister Priscilla had gifted. Fortunately, she had it in her pocket always and not in her handbag, so it wasn’t lifted at the time the other keys were taken. She slowly opened the door, so no one could hear her. However, she was stopped by a piece of paper at the edge of the door. It was a note and she read it.

“I am taking my child away from you legally.  - Sherman”

Well, it was another threat! A smile appeared on her face. How could he be sure there was only one baby? There could be more. Really, there were three! And how could they fathom how she was going to face this challenge? Sarah felt soothed. She carefully closed the door. She had to catch the train in one hour - the train that would take her across the country to a small town far away in the mountains. Right now, her next step was opening the front door. Sister Priscilla had given her the right equipment. She used it, and the door opened. She came out and locked the door behind with no noise. And now the next hurdle! She climbed up the gate. It wasn’t hard. 

When she was at the highest level, turning her head back, she could see the maze in the moonlight, although it was further away. How clear and easy it looked! Sherman had explained it with great effort! But now, viewing it from the present angle, it was the most uncomplicated ever! Interesting!

Sarah climbed down, carefully. Suddenly, she felt a wasp flying around her face and she was distracted for a moment. She looked at the house for a quick second.

Kumberlin was fast asleep, dreaming of the scornful destruction she might bring upon Sarah when the sun rose, advancing excellently with her conspiracy. Sidney was asleep after worshipping his Lord, planning on the next torture on Sarah and whoever else. Jerad, just like Sidney, had tasks to complete, to find out about Sarah’s so-called marriage. When things didn’t  materialise during the day that went past, the reason was that Sarah had been very tactful in destroying all the evidence of her marriage, her first marriage.

What a tragedy it was for them! They had searched through the world to find the non-existing - Sarah’s bigamy, and they’d continue their investigation when the sun rose. Sherman, who was blinded by the controlling forces around him, was still dreaming of the mysteriousness of the maze and his intense knowledge of solving it, but unable to make any move, whatsoever.

The most unequipped weapons were sharpened for the next wonderfully brutal torment on Sarah, from every angle. But she moved on, promising herself, her deepest self. 


Memories of one great crossing flashed upon her: a crossing which occurred between territories. It was a mere remembrance now, a memory and nothing but a reflection of her mind. The same crossing had appeared in many shapes later on. And she knew very well that its emergence would continue in many phases. 

It was going to end one day, but not right now.

At the very thought, a smile appeared on Sarah from the three friends within. Far away in the sky, her twinkling friends shone on her with assertion. The station wasn’t far. For the first time in her life, she began to feel the uniqueness of the gold pagoda in all facets - the gold pagoda, which was safely travelling with her. A sudden realisation sparked within her. She was delighted. The same realisation, which passively rested deep down, somewhere inside her, rising in awareness from time to time, was slowly beginning to soar.

Well, it wasn’t a mere pagoda, it was a stupa! A stupa! Yes, it was a stupa! 

The End 

Copyright - Santhoshya Jayamali Seneviratne