All she could feel was numbness. In that dark cell she felt that her body was overflowing with darkness. Darkness not only relating to the colour but also relating to the fear,grief and pain. It was not that she did not want to go out. She could not go out.
She had never seen the sun or felt the sunlight. She could not. She had to either stay inside a room in darkness or stay in a room lit with fluorescent light. She could only go out in the night when there was no sunlight. She had Xeroderma pigmentosum. A genetic disorder which would cause skin lesions even if a ray of sunlight fell on her skin. She was managing well inside but on some occasions she wanted to feel that warmth, to see the bright light falling on the lush green leaves and see the early morning sun. She was 14 and friendless and an inactive member of a support group. Lara’s only salvation was books and music. She attended online architecture classes. Whenever she made a model she used to insert a man wearing a nuclear radiation suit. She could relate to it. I hope you have understood how. Everything was fine in her life before a tumour was diagnosed when she accidentally came in contact with the sun. That tumour was diagnosed very late and according to the doctor she had only two more weeks to live.
Already hurt and concealed, Lara wanted to fulfill her wishes before she died. She decided to go on a journey to fulfill her wishes. “Getting a credit card is easy”,she said as she received it from the delievery boy. “Tickets-check, diary-check, hotel bookings-check, charger-check, phone-check, passport-check, the extra thick leather onsie- check, thick face mask-check, sunglasses-check.” With this she was ready to go on a journey fulfilling her wishes in her last two weeks. The leather onsie , the mask and the sunglasses would protect her from the sun. Her list included:
- The Louvre Mueseum
- Central Park
- Watch a French Opera
- Statue of Liberty
Living in a place like Cavern, in France she did not know much about the whole world and so her 4 spots were based in NYC and Paris. As she never went to school, she never got the opportunity to learn different subjects thoroughly. After reading about archaeology, she always wanted to become an archaeologist and so the she wanted to visit Louvre and Statue Of Liberty, both of which are places with rich history. As she had never gone out and touched the plants and felt the grass between her toes, she planned to go to Central Park. Opera music was always played at night fests in her small town and she longed to hear them. After writing a letter to her mother and wearing her protection suit she went to catch her train to Paris. People gave her weird looks and she felt hurt. But then she realized that if she can’t carry herself with respect and love herself with her faults she would never be proud of herself. At that very moment she understood what self love is. It was almost 5:30 when she reached Paris. She ignored the looks and took a taxi to Louvre. She reached her first destination at about 6:15 and the sight that caught her eye was fascinating. For us it just might be an artistic and architectural excellence but for her it was her dreams stitched with threads of magic with her presence. The time seemed to have stopped at the sight.
After visiting her first stop she checked into her hotel and retired for the day. She checked for opera concerts and booked a ticket for the one scheduled to be held day after tomorrow at Palais Garnier. The next day she stayed in her hotel and enjoyed the facilities provided. The next day at 8:30 she entered the opera house.
She did not have to wear her suffocating outfit. The opera was a famous one. La Traviata. She closed her eyes as the relaxing music kicked in like a drug. The waves of the known lyrics washed her. For us it might have been just an opera act. For her it was the taste of freedom. Returning from there, she packed her bags again to leave for the Big Apple the next day. It took her about 7 hours and after the long journey she did not go to her third destination. The next day she first went to the Central Park.
The dewy leaves reflecting the sunlight, the blooming flowers and the whispering bushes- all in all the sight was overwhelming for her. After visiting the park she went to her last destination the Statue Of Liberty. The glistening torch and the magnificent structure looked like they were made for her. The air there agreed with her.
After completing her whole trip she retirned to the awaiting arms of her mother. Her burial happened 6 days later. The last words of her diary were: “My destinations were not something completely unique but the journey was more beautiful for me than the destination. We have become so caught up in achieving success , that we have forgot to live life. The destinations were freedom but the journey was were I discovered myself. I did not regret the decision and will never do so. Forever, Lara Jones.