Once upon a recent time there lived an ever so petite hobbit lady whose vertical axis spanned 158cm, which was probably the best explanation for why microscopes were invented in the first place, however what was imperative to remember in her case was that the top part of that axis – her head – was devotedly and splendidly in communion with all things imaginative. She loved to bide her days by conjuring up stories whose contents pulled a clean punch at the rules of order and logic, favouring instead to toy with the possibilities that only in dreams we allow ourselves to mingle with.
It was on an ordinary day, just another number staring out of the calendar, on which she discovered to her skipping delight that she had been accepted into University to study the art of writing. She had always wished in her heart to do something like this, and now, as a consequence of a succession of astonishing and fated encounters and correspondences, she was about to embark on a new journey and this time her footfalls would be made across the white expanses of papery lands.
That 158cm girl that never grew is me, but You knew that way before I even got started!
“Ladies, I AM IN!!!” I shouted my lungs out and if only I could have had a rooftop and a violin I swear I would not have hesitated, for I would have gone on to burst into a musical, leaping from roof to roof to sing the rhapsody of my joy out to all four corners of, ahem ahem, Winchester! Oh do cut out that insufferable and theatrical bit of whimpering! You know as well as I do that if I am to bellow any louder just for the sole purpose of making certain that You hear me, from wherever You might be chomping down Your mouldy lettuce leaves, then it would have obviously required Your exceptional co-operation insofar You would have to import to my house an old brass gramophone horn from which I could roar out my message! All that fuss, You say?! Exactly!
“Mazzy!!!! I am so happy for you!!! I knew you could do it!” Agnes flung her arms around me and squeezed me tight. I now know fully well what it must feel like to be in the unclasping embrace of a hungry boa constrictor! What strange fun to think that one’s joy could lead to instantaneous epiphanies worthy of any respectable wildlife documentary!
One second there I was hesitatingly accepting that I was in the strangulating grip of a mighty predator, and my strained bleats of happiness the mimicry of a tiny marsupial clinging to dear life, and then, the next moment I was suddenly shoved into the rather rough and tumble scenario of the poor spectator in whose hands the ball had somehow fallen and now half a dozen giant rugby players were storming in to get it! Why do I refer to this blustery analogy? A simple enough reason if only You knew her. You see, Katie was there too!
“WOOOOOHOOOOOOOO! Go Mazzy!!!!” Katie caved her entire arms around my neck so that I no longer could see the sky and my vision went blurry as the last remaining globules of oxygen in my pint-sized lungs lurched out of me! I was all hot-wired to be blacked-out!
“Oh blimin’ heck, I can’t breathe!” I went from being a round dough ball to a flat pastry sheet and all courtesy of the rolling pin effect of my fabulous friends!
And then I remembered about the odd workings underlying the multiverse of happiness and to my enormous relief I soon realised that though both my mates had me clenched in a squishy embrace, I was more alive than ever! Pay attention that the heavenly strawberry sticky jam found in between two slices of Victorian sponge cake is never ever seen complaining about its restrained predicament, precisely for the reason that it is in between the companionship of those two essential and contrasting slices that it derives its enjoyment of being a substance of purpose. I was in a sticky situation too, fidgeting in between the wrestling hugs of my two good mates, but it was the most nicest sort of unbreathable jollity and, if the truth be known, I was incredibly ecstatic with my news that I forgot to inhale and exhale as normally one would, and I suppose that is what the purest of joys does to us. We become so wrapped up in the moment that we are more than willing to dismiss the necessities associated with survival off the pitch and to the backbench!
I do not know how I finally found myself cut loose from their chain of arms but eventually I did and a terrific idea whooshed out of my brains that if I did not share it I would be on course for internal implosion. Highly disgusting bit of trouble!
“I don’t know about you ladies, but I feel like partying!” I wriggled my nostrils, a trademark indication that we had to anoint the occasion of my good news with something recklessly inappropriate!
“Swinging in the children’s park!” Katie hit jackpot!
“Let’s do it!” Agnes must have carefully observed in the past that I suffered from the uncurbed tendency to wriggle my shoulders when the excitement got the better of me, for she was giving hers a thorough workout as she mouthed the auspicious words!
An unanimous agreement reached, the three of us wasted not a second more and broke through the red gates of Abbey Gardens! The ducks on the banks by the river went into shock at the approach of us harridans wearing wicked smiles, fearfully diving back into the water, some even capsizing their heads to leave their feathery bottoms bobbing about in the dire hope that we would not see them! We meant them no harm, of course!
We raced to the swings, alas, they were already in use by legitimate occupants whose ages were around three decades younger than ours!
“We’ll wait it out! Let’s head out to the bench over there!” I may not be the most mature of people however when the resource of patience is required I am on the case! We sat ourselves down and admired the spray of pink blossoms on the trees when all of a sudden a little girl of 16 months came up to me. Snot trickling down her nose as if they were two unclosed taps, this adorable child was called Evie and she brought me gifts that she had lovingly picked up from the grass. They included a teeny piece of granite stone that seemed as if it had once been embedded in a great wall, a piece of twig and a curled leaf. We spoke to their parents for a long time and all the while I was pleasantly surprised to see that here was a little angel who somehow knew I was the bearer of good news. I have safely kept little Evie’s gifts in my bag, adamantly believing them to be a sign of good and promising wishes handed down to me from Destiny itself.
“Wasn’t she so cute!?” Katie hugged herself.
“Oh my god Mazzy, she likes you!” Agnes could see that I had turned awfully broody.
I frowned with a dreamy smile on my face as Evie and her parents waved goodbye to us and strolled out of the park. It did not matter that I had no daughter of my own, what was infinitely more significant for me was that the Universe had its own unfathomable way of ensuring that the part of my heart that was a maternal womb would always be filled with tokens of pure love from little people, wherever I was in the world. Love was not biology, it was a constant.
“She is an angel. I know it...” I tenderly gazed at my friends and smiled assuredly.
“Mazzy, get your camera out!” When Katie discharges orders I am convinced that even the Prime Minster in Downing Street jolts out his leather chair with a start!
“With pleasure, my darling, but may I ask what brought this sudden desire to be photographed?” I plundered my bag whilst my curious poser hung in the air like an over-sized question mark.
Agnes exchanged conspiratorial glances with Katie. I tensed up a little.
“Mazzy….” Katie began to lean slowly on her back and one of her legs began to rise.
The camera now poised to shoot, I was muddled by what I saw and yet in equal parts I was sure that the two of them were up to something that would seal this day as the beginning of a new and fabulously adventurous chapter!
Katie’s right leg now raised above the bench, stretched and pointed, I distractedly twiddled with my camera and remarked, “Yes, I know hobbits have hairy legs, Katie! I vow that I will wax my legs more often!” I grunted in feigned indignation. Before I could slice in edgeways with another word, Agnes determinedly grabbed Katie’s uplifted leg, and both imagining it to be an acoustic guitar, my two friends burst out singing the simple and nostalgic lyrics to a song that has always been embossed in my dreams ever since I was as small a girl as our bearer of good tidings, Princess Evie:
“Country roads, take me home, to a place, where I belong…” ♥♥♥
“… Agnes determinedly grabbed Katie’s uplifted leg, and imagining it to be an acoustic guitar, both my friends burst out singing the simple and nostalgic lyrics to a song that has always been embossed in my dreams ever since I was as small a girl as our bearer of good tidings, Princess Evie…”
“We’ll wait it out! Let’s head out to the bench over there!”
“… I soon realised that though both my mates had me clenched in a squishy embrace, I was more alive than ever...”
Photography & Words: © Masufa Khatun | Mazzy Khatun Photo Stories | Abbey Gardens | Winchester | UK 2016