Thursday, June 6, 2013
ANNE EYRE (Lost: chapter Twenty-four) #Jane Eyre Retelling
Feeling the weight of my world on my shoulders, I travelled to Cambridge, not knowing what else to do. In that university town, I found a room to stay in until term started at university, but I could not settle. For days and nights, I could not relax or find any measure of equilibrium.
I knew I had to pull myself together. There was no one else to do it for me.
I had my saved wages, and I found a job working in a restaurant in the evenings which would leave my days free to attend classes, if I could settle into them. My approved scholarship would pay for the rest. I filled the weeks until term started with ordinary activities: watching television, reading and working.
Making the adjustment to the life of an impoverished university student was not so hard, but it didn’t make me happy. Academic learning interested me less as every day went by. I simply could not see a future for myself. I attempted to make friends with people whose company quickly seemed shallow to me. My world had become uninteresting even to myself. I could not settle and searched within myself for something beyond the limits of my fragile reality.
After a few weeks, I deferred my courses and took a bus back to Devon where I found myself wandering through a village fair. I’d found the business card Connor Rivers had given me and contacted the family who invited me to visit them. I arrived at the country market with my suitcase in tow. The Connor siblings were selling candles in the marketplace to make money for their local church. They were still fundraising for their trip to India where they would go to build a school. We talked over lunch and they asked me where I was staying. I shrugged and they offered a place to stay. I accepted their offer without hesitation.
It was eight weeks since I’d left Thornton and I was truly lost.
The siblings were warm towards me and we got along well. The girls were still at school and Connor, as head of their small family at just twenty, was very involved in the local church community. Connor, who studied Theology, was very religious; He intended to become a minister. His sisters giggled after he glanced at me whilst saying grace before one of our evening meals. They seemed to think we were boyfriend and girlfriend by the way he passed me the butter and touched my fingers as he did so. He looked at them both, witheringly. His sisters smiled as if their brother was used to their teasing.
Connor told me they needed help at the local primary school, a tutor in English and French. I was grateful for this job offer as I was so over working at the local cafe and this gave me an opportunity to practise languages. There was also a school trip that I’d been invited on. Some of my university friends kept in touch; but my heart was heavy and I wasn’t interested in making further social connections. My heart was elsewhere, back at Thornton with Nathanial Rochester and Sophie Varens.
I was glad to have been able to defer university until I got my head together. Mornings were spent tutoring at the school and I found being around small children distracted me from the past. At least I felt I was doing something useful and I intended to return to my courses next year, so I had not thrown away that opportunity. I was aware, however, that I was in danger of drifting through life like an astronaut drifts through space.