The most annoying thing ever is to wake up before your alarm goes off. It leaves you lying on your bed knowing that something's missing, filled with this feeling of nervous anticipation (like the sort that visits you just before the question papers are handed out). It can sometimes be suffocating. That's exactly what happened to RCW. She woke up with a start at five minutes to 12 and lay there in the darkness, which suddenly seemed vaguely threatening. Something about the way the curtain moved in the breeze, whispering something sinister just out of earshot. Suddenly her decision to climb out of the window and creep away (well not creep exactly, I suppose charge would be better?) into the night with her knapsack seemed scarily idiotic. She had that distinct feeling of 'wtf was I thinking' that is such a common phenomenon in the middle of the night (and sometimes first thing in the morning - but that's a different story).
Before she had time to get cold feet (I hate cold feet, which is why I always sleep with socks on. Yeah, I do. So?)thankfully, the alarm went off. With a sudden buzz that almost startled her. There's something about the buzzing of an alarm. It galvanizes you. Maybe it's social conditioning or maybe there's some deep, dark psychology behind it(I think it's because alarms are a deeply sadistic form of AI and the buzz is actually their evil cackle. That's why you feel that deep dread when you hear them go off. And you thought it was because you weren't a morning person. Tsk.). At any rate, it galvanized her and she quickly switched it off in case her dad heard it. Picking up her knapsack, she quickly opened her window. The drop to the ground was minimal since her room was on the ground floor. (How any concerned father could give his daughter a room on the ground floor is still a perplexing mystery to me. But well, let's not be overly critical of Baron JAP. He had his own problems). She dusted off her hands on her skirt and made her way down the driveway. As she passed her dad's bedroom window she tiptoed. She could hear him tossing and turning in his sleep. Overcome by a sudden daughterly impulse, she looked in at the window to get a last glimpse of Baron JAP before she set out to find her destiny.
As author I feel a decided responsibility to remark on how important a role impulses play in all our lives. If she hadn't stopped at the window this story would have been completely and irrevocably different. Gives you something to think about, huh? Because as she peeped in, dutiful daughter that she was, and watched her father splayed (gracefully, always gracefully) on the bed, with a single, fat tear rolling down her cheek (Rani Mukherjee-style) she distinctly heard him mutter "Have to go to Portugal, jaanu. Go to Portugal". This gave her quite a start (because really it's quite eerie when people talk in their sleep) and her heart jumped into her throat for a second (how unruly hearts are) as she thought her father was talking to her. But being quite ordinarily bright she quickly realised that in fact he was talking in his sleep and wiping away her tear, stopping only to swallow her heart she continued towards the driveway.
But, dear reader, in the back of her mind, the name Portugal was seared. Seared, I tell you. In nine inch red letters. Of fire. No less. Yes, yes this is in ways, a spoiler. On the other hand I might be planting a red herring. One never knows, does one?
(To be continued).