Suzanne – A story

Digital Art by Ana Stjelja

Digital Art by Ana Stjelja

By Ana Stjelja,

BELGRADE: I found myself on a living room sofa, beside a cradle cradling a newborn, a tiny being yet to embark on the journey of life. The mother shared that a surgery awaited the baby, born with an unusual condition. In this foreign land, the chatter around me blended with the unfamiliar language, discussing the baby, impending celebrations, and mundane topics.

As I absorbed the ambiance, I delved into my own musings, not particularly fond of trivial conversations. Yet, the household exuded a pleasant atmosphere, a blend of tradition, piety, and modesty, despite their wealth. Their dedication to a higher power reflected in every aspect of their lives, a virtue that both surprised and impressed me.

Occasionally, I joined in the conversation, navigating the language barrier. Suddenly, a woman’s voice echoed through the modest home. The mother disappeared momentarily, reminding me of the sick old woman residing there. Suzanne, the aunt and caretaker, emerged slowly, her frailty evident in every step. She fixed her gaze on me and spoke in flawless French, questioning my nationality.

Amidst the hosts explaining my background, Suzanne continued our conversation in French, revealing her status as a doctor of literary sciences. The phone rang, signaling the end of the visit. The taxi driver’s impatience ended our time together, and I bid Suzanne farewell, a gentle exchange in the language we shared.

Leaving the apartment, memories flooded back – Aunt Suzanne, a rich woman dedicated to education, never married, and never experienced romantic love. I pondered her fate, wiping away tears behind my sunglasses. The indescribable sadness lingered, questioning societal expectations for women and the price of pursuing knowledge and education.

Even as reassurances came from family members, stating Susan’s happiness and fulfilling life, I couldn’t shake the sorrow. In my next destination, a splendid hotel on the Suez, tears persisted. I wondered if my destiny mirrored Suzanne’s – a path chosen, not by societal norms but by a desire for more, for knowledge, and for independence. The poignant encounter left me mourning, contemplating the possibility of a fate akin to the remarkable Suzanne’s.

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