An old friend

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Sunday: 11.00 am                                                                                                                                         7/09/1986                                                                                                                                       Salisbury,Wiltshire, UK

‘It’s amazing how in the 42 years of my service, not once have I dreamt a trip to visit my very own country. Pity that in a life of serving the high and low ends of every rich aristocrat in the mansion, I forgot to live my very own life.’

Honestly I do not see any reason to refuse Mr. Abraham’s proposal, Mitchell is happy about it too. I have planned to leave on Tuesday at around sometime in the evening, I asked Mitchell to accompany me, but she refused, she believes that it would be better for me to travel alone.

Also, there is a slight possibility that I might just find a few new recruits to serve at the mansion. So then there seems little reason why I should not undertake my motoring trip to the west country. I would of course have to write to Miss Nicole, a former friend of mine, to tell her I might be passing by.

Tuesday: 9.00 pm                                                                                                                                         9/09/1986                                                                                                                                                       Yeovil, Somerset, UK

Tonight, I find myself in a guest house in the city of Yeovil. The first day of my trip is now completed, and all in all, I must say that I am quite satisfied. This expedition began this morning almost an hour late than I had planned, despite my having completed my packing well before eight o’clock. I suppose I was very conscious about the fact that once I departed, the mansion would stand empty for probably the first time in this century- perhaps for the first time since the day it was built. It was an odd feeling and perhaps accounts for why I delayed my departure so long.

It is hard to explain my feeling once I finally drove off. For the first twenty minutes or so, I cannot say that I was seized by any excitement or deliberate feelings. Now I had always supposed that I had traveled very little, restricted as I am to my very own responsibilities, but of course, over time, one does make various excursions for one reason or the other.

My further plans involve leaving early in the morning, after but a cup of tea, so that I can reach Miss. Nicole’s in time for breakfast. Surprisingly the manager at the guest house was her acquaintance, who had received a letter inviting me on breakfast.

The world is a beautiful place to live in with people who can share your joy, love and sadness, Miss Nicole was truly one of them. As for her introduction she used to work at the mansion with me until recently. What had happened was this- despite the fact that she did enjoyed her work with utter sincerity, she found a man whom she had true love for, a man who had lived his life in Yeovil, with whom Nicole was forced to move.

Wednesday: 7.00 am                                                                                                                                    8/09/1986

Nicole was possible the only friend I ever had, a sincere honest friend. I have the recollections of the times when we were colleagues. Today when I drive to her home in Yeovil, my heart begs to differ from the fact that she’ll have but no less excitement than that of mine. I wonder if she would have had accompanied me with my trip, if she were still at the mansion, but as that’s something which is just a part of my heart’s desire I do not see it happening anytime soon.

As I pass by the rush green fields of this beautiful country, I am wanderlust by how the world changes with every passing mile.  I do not recall the last time when I did something for the first time, my life passed by faster than I ever knew, ever since I joined the Harrison’s, I have never taken part in anything which was not a part of my everyday routine, but now when I travel the country, my very own country, I regret a few decisions I made.

In no manner have I ever despised working as a Butler, but in the process of serving the high and low ends of every aristocrat in the state, I seem to have forgotten that it is not I that needs to survive but we.

After all these years of serving Mr. Harrison, I seem to have inherited his reckless and ignorant behavior, I pity that I never realized the fault in my ways, and was carried away with prejudices that never mattered.

“Certain darkness is needed to see the stars, but let not the darkness bind you in, for in the absence of light one’s soul thrives.”

My pocket watch which once belonged to Mr. Harrison’s ex wife, is a treasure to behold, uncovered with gold and a few mysterious diamonds, it can always outshine anything in its vicinity. As I look down upon it, it’s 7.20 now, Nicole’s home is an hour drive from the hotel I was residing at. I am nowhere close.

It took me another half an hour to reach her house, ten minutes lesser than I had previously calculated. I halted my Ford along side a tree, since I did not wished to make an early unexpected entrance. As I hopped down from the car, I could feel the warmth of the field beneath my feet, and to my left I could see the shop of a florist. The owner, a girl who looked as if in her mid-twenties was arranging the flowers in an some order.

As I walked down to her shop to pick up some flowers for Nicole, I was greeted by her sweet voice wishing me a good morning, she was smiling and was delighted at her first customer of the day. I remember buying a bouquet from her after I asked her to add the most beautiful flowers she had. Since she was a very sweet girl, we chatted for a short while about the beautiful weather and the odd scenario I was in, which was oddly very interesting to my young friend. Bidding her farewell, I left her shop at around eight o’ clock.

It took me another 5 minutes of walking to reach Nicole’s house, which was no mansion, but a sober sweet home, that she was very proud of owning. Nicole on the other hand was delighted of our meet, especially since it was me who had finally left the mansion, if just for a very short period of time. It was amazing meeting an old friend after so long, the laughter we shared and the pain we bore, amidst my monotonous routine I seem to have ignored a lot that I should have had truly savored. I was there for another 2 hours, before I finally took my permission to leave, on our sincere promises of meeting again.

Unlike the first day of me starting the excursion, I seem to have recollecting precious memories and making new ones, ones that are beautiful and everlasting. As I travel solo, being totally responsible for myself, it’s inevitable that I finally find myself being capable of more than I ever knew or perceived. I’ve finally found the fault in my ways and the  entity that I once was, to think of Mr. Abraham, I now know how wrong I was to think ill of him.

‘Sometimes, you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself.’

‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others,’ goes the quote commonly, and probably mistakenly, attributed to Gandhi. Service is a wonderful way to lose yourself, but it’s just one way. I lost myself in the wonders of nature. Others have lost themselves in art, in religion, in a near-death experience, or even in pursuit of a perfect meal. So, whether Gandhi said it or not, I’m proposing an edit to that quote, for any travelers intent on a voyage of self-discovery: the best way to find yourself is to stop trying and to simply lose yourself in the world.

  “Now I am beginning, to see and to believe,
in who I am becoming—and all I’ve yet to be.”

—Lang Leav (Artwork by Jiwoon Pak)

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