And Mr. Darcy said, ‘What did you say of me, that I did not deserve?’ I was sitting on the cold floor and I wept till my shivering hands couldn’t clutch the curtains I sat amidst. I wept for someone who had told me that. It was only him telling me I was still sane when I told him he deserved every last thing he feared. Because it was only an apology. Because I would mortify his pride and he would mortify mine but we would not amount to anything else.
When Rochester and Jane spoke of birds and unearthly beings, I was on the underground. I would be on that underground for a very long time. Men pushed past and there were no seats and my father refused to send me away to university. I wondered why Jane Eyre would not go to sea foam and brine while she could. I read some more.
I picked up The Reader in the bookshop beside the tattoo parlour and emptied the book in one drag. I had another sigil on my skin. There was ink dripping down my wrists, trickling down my sides. They looked at the puncture on my hand and said I had ruined myself. I laughed till the ink bled. There are much worse things to do. Such worse things.
And in my mother’s bedroom one afternoon, I read Borrasca. The curtains were drawn and I squinted into her phone. I didn’t know how to tell her I was more horrified by a story than by the cerebrospinal fluid collecting obscenely in her dying brain.
Maybe it is because I don’t play pretend as often. Maybe I should; I would have fewer visions of taking the bones of a happy girl in my hands, of saying to them, I wrote as much of the book as you did, Jane. Or maybe it is because I am always aware of what I am fleeing from. Our stories are become inextricably entwined.
Amogha Sridhar writes poetry and children’s stories and once wrote for The Times of India as a student correspondent. She currently holds an offer from the University of Exeter to study Literature. She can be found @NotAmortentia where she discusses character arcs at hours past midnight.