After years of toiling hard in the fields, S could finally hope for a better life. Here, in her village, she was always on duty. Her mornings started with waking up earlier than everyone else and then, taking care of the livestock.
Then, she had to clean and tidy her shack while the rest of the family slept. Her father worked hard in the fields during the day and worked an extra job in the evening.
She was the eldest among the four siblings and therefore, had to take care of their meals, their studies and their general well-being. S’s mom had passed away after giving birth to her youngest and so, S took the role of the primary caretaker.
Her father hardly had any time to be with the children so S had to wear many hats. She worked late into the night and slept only a few hours.
S didn’t look like her siblings. She was light-skinned unlike anyone in her family and she often wondered why. Many a times, she would find herself just scrubbing her skin or applying mud on it to make her look more like those around her.
As the day approached, S was nervous, but definitely more excited. She was going to leave this village, this country, this life, forever. The man who had the same skin color as hers, had asked for her hand in marriage.
He had shown them pictures of his castle and his farm, and his country. He had seen her near the river one evening and had followed her back home. He had fallen in love instantly, he told he father. S was amazed to see someone who looked more like her than her own family. She felt an instant connection.
He promised S’s father that he would take her to England where she would live like a queen. He added that S would fit in comfortably as she looked more like his people than her own.
As she prepared snacks, the father and the man went out for stroll. When they came back, S’s father looked happy and content. S smiled at her fate and experienced joy like never before.
It was evening when they reached the castle after traveling for days. S was mesmerized at the sight. She couldn’t believe her good fortune. The grey castle stood in all its glory. The huge green lawn in the front added to the opulence. She felt like a queen already. Her days as a maidservant in her own house were over.
The first night was refreshing. She got to sleep in a luxurious bed with the softest mattress in the world and ate food that she had never even laid eyes on before. A male servant served them as S and her husband ate together. She wasn’t sure what to do once she was done. So, she retired to her room and looked around her room. She whispered a prayer and thought of her life in the village. She smiled and slept peacefully for 8 hours for the first time in her life.
Things changed pretty quickly in the castle the next morning. As she came out into the humungous living room, she realized there was no one around. The dining table was empty and the male servant was nowhere in sight.
She went into the library and found her husband reading a book. He looked at he and smiled.
“Good morning lovely.”
“Did you sleep well?”
“I think I did.”
“So, ready for some cooking?”
“I know you cook really well.”
“Sure. What do you want to eat today? And where is the man who was serving us last night?”
“Oh. Well, he went on leave for a few days. He has been cooking for me for years now. And that too, without a break.”
“Ok. I will freshen up and then see what’s in the pantry.”
S didn’t even realize when and how it happened, but she soon took on all responsibilities around the castle. She was cooking, cleaning, dusting, taking care of the farm and all the animals. Her husband was mostly locked up in his study and rarely did they interact as a couple.
S had the best clothes in her closet, but one look at her and you would think she was a maidservant and not the owner of the castle. She toiled from early morning until late at night without getting enough sleep.
As she cleaned another bowl in the kitchen, she looked out the window and wondered,
“A change of place, country, or even class, couldn’t really change my destiny.”
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