In search of freedom

For the fifth time in a row, Yasemin had woken up at around five o’clock in the morning. Today, she decided to get out of bed right away instead of lying on her back with her eyes wide open, waiting for the first rays of the morning sun to slowly light up the room. After relieving herself on the toilet, she went into the bathroom. There she repeatedly filled her cupped hands with cold water and gently splashed her face. “Ahhh,” she sighed with relief and looked up in the mirror. “What a mess,” she said out loud with a look of disapproval to the face looking back at her, as if she believed she could shun the consequences of her own actions. 

Donna Summer – MacArthur Park

She closed her eyes while leaning with her hands on either side of the sink and looked back on what had taken place that hot summer night two weeks ago in the bed that she had left only minutes ago. Instantly, the same bittersweet feeling she had experienced that night came surging up and spread throughout the rest of her body. Did she still love him? Him being Mauro, her now ex-boyfriend, with who she had mutually decided to end their three-year relationship. Not that they quarrelled or that they were unfaithful to one another. In fact, they had gotten on very well from day one, supporting and listening to each other and enjoying to the full the many moments that they had shared together. In short, they were close friends and to Yasemin, Mauro was the best friend she had ever had. 

She definitely loved him, Yasemin told herself, when she opened her eyes and looked in the mirror again. However, their break-up had not come as a surprise and had been brought on by way of a gut feeling that was backed by common sense. Deep down, they knew that they were not meant for each other. They were different in their vision of the future and in what they were really passionate about. Staying together would only prevent them from living their own lives to the full and experiencing what their hearts desired. Seeing that they both valued their freedom very highly, breaking up was the most sensible and most loving thing to do. 

When you wake up, it’s a new morning
The sun is shining, it’s a new morning
And you’re going
You’re going home
From: ‘Baker Street’ by Gerry Rafferty

Gerry Rafferty – Baker Street

After they decided to break up, Yasemin took Mauro by the hand and led him to her bedroom. There they undressed each other and made love in her bed as they had done countless times before. It was a final expression of their love for each other. Little did they know at the time, that it would not be as final as they had thought. In the days that followed, Yasemin was overcome by an uneasy feeling. The feeling grew and started gnawing at her mind and told her to pay attention. Once she did so, she placed both hands on her belly and felt something deep inside that she had never felt before. Immediately, her heart began beating wildly as it dawned on her what was going on. She was pregnant. She found it hard to believe at first, because she and Mauro had taken sufficient precautions. At the same time, she remembered stories of women who had become pregnant even though they had been on the pill. 

Fortunately, it did not take long for Yasemin to recover from her initial shock. She began to see this turn of events as a welcome surprise. Her unexpected pregnancy became a joyous expectancy and she looked forward to giving birth to their love incarnate. She did not even bother to take a pregnancy test. To her it was clear that her body had spoken to her and she was now very certain that their child was on its way. This was confirmed by Mauro’s reaction when she told him that she was expecting. He was overjoyed and looked forward to raising their love child, even though this meant he would have to delay his travels abroad for several years until the child was older. That was just like him, Yasemin said to herself. She smiled tenderly when she remembered his words: “Oh, when she’s old enough, I can take her along.” Especially his use of the words ‘she’ and ‘her’ reminded her of what he had told her when they had just met. When she asked him about what the life of his dreams looked like, he had said: “Being a father to a girl with a mind of her own just like you.” She knew then that she wouldn’t have to go it alone, despite them having two separate households.

Thrupence – How To Be Invisible

That was then. Now, as she stood there looking at her reflection, she no longer felt the thrill of becoming a mother. Instead she looked at her future from a different perspective and saw the irony of her situation. She and Mauro valued their freedom very highly and that is why they had decided that they would both go their own way, to begin with. Despite this decision she had now lost what she had been in search of: her freedom. “What a mess,” she repeated and sighed wearily. Her heart grew heavy and she felt a pricking sensation in her eyes. Before long, she broke down and sobbed like a child. “What am I going to do?” she asked when she had stopped crying. The answer was clear. What she wanted most, was to be invisible. Invisible to the world, so that she could be alone and reconnect with herself.

As always, when Yasemin wanted to be alone, she went to the secluded little beach near her house just outside the little town by the Mediterranean Sea. Before she descended along the narrow dirt trail that led to the beach, she stood for a while on the low cliff to take in the view of the azure coloured expanse of the sea. Instantly, she was overcome by a sense of calm. She then turned her gaze to the beach below and stared at the waves lapping at the rocks. “Hmm,” she sighed, soothed by the sound that the waves made. While she watched them roll in from the sea to the shore again and again, it seemed as if she was looking into the very depths of her soul. She smiled, contentedly, when she realized that, just like the waves, she too was returning home to the place deep in her heart where her soul resided. “Come on,” she said, resolutely, and headed down the trail to the beach. 

When she got there, Yasemin wasted no time in kicking off her sandals and slipping out of her summer dress, to reveal her white cozzie. She then ran with her heart beating wildly, across the warm, light coloured sand to the water’s edge. There she slowly made her way through the gentle surf to the waves, jumping up with a feeling of exhilaration, every time a wave broke against her hot body. She shivered with pleasure from the refreshing sensation of the relatively cool water. As soon as she felt that it was deep enough, she got into a horizontal position with her face in the water and duck-dived towards the seabed. From the seabed, she pushed off with both feet and rose slowly towards the surface. As she did so, she gave into the feeling of being weightless. This and the softness of the water enveloping her skin, comforted her and filled her with a sense of calm. By the time she broke the surface and took a deep breath of fresh air, she knew that everything was going to be alright.

“Ahh,” she sighed, gratefully, and took some time to float on her back and fully take in the wonderful feeling of being alive. Right now, there was nothing she could do to change her life, so she closed her eyes and smiled. This was her life, here in this moment, and she was enjoying it to the full. With this insight in mind, she opened her eyes and duck-dived underwater again. She swam and took a good look around at her surroundings. A small school of fish darted past and disappeared behind a sand bank. Life here was so different, she noted. There were few distractions and there was very little noise. She liked it that way, as it gave her the opportunity to rely more on her sense of touch. She began to pay attention to the rolling motion of the swell, caused by the continuous flow of waves from the sea to the shore. 

It felt wonderful and she began to imagine what it would feel like for the embryo that was floating in the waters of her womb. It would probably feel very similar, she thought, and it dawned on her that not just the physical feeling but also her feelings would influence her unborn child. Hmm, she thought and slowly made her way to the surface. That was when she realized that if her sensations and feelings affected her child, she must make an effort to make these as pleasant as possible, even in the most difficult of situations. “Haha,” she chuckled to herself when she surfaced and an idea came to mind. 

She looked towards the sea and began to study the way in which the swell progressed towards the shore and gradually transformed into waves that eventually broke and formed the frothing whitewater. When she found out the pattern, she started swimming parallel to the shore in the same direction as the waves were breaking. As soon as the right swell presented itself, she turned towards the shore and swam faster to catch the wave at the right moment and let it carry her. “Wahoo!” she shouted with excitement as she felt the wave lift her up and propel her forwards in a diagonal line.

She had done this a couple of times, when she was surprised by a shiny, grey, streamlined creature that popped up about five metres away from her in the very same wave that she was bodysurfing. Her heart skipped a beat. Wow, I’m bodysurfing with a dolphin, she exclaimed in her mind. The dolphin disappeared in the water in front of the wave and she was wondering where it had gone to, when it suddenly reappeared right next to her and gently brushed her left side. To Yasemin it felt like an invitation. Without thinking, she grabbed hold of its dorsal fin. “Woohoo!” she cried out in excitement, as the dolphin shot forward, taking her along with it. This was a whole new experience to which her own bodysurfing could not compare.

Holding on tightly to the dolphin, she forgot about everything in her life and lived solely in the moment. No more thinking, just feeling the bodily sensations and the feeling of excitement that these evoked. Her excitement was magnified when she looked further down the line to her left and noticed that they were not alone. About a dozen other dolphins had joined in. Yasemin figured they must be its family. Over and over again, the dolphin darted underwater in the swell while a new wave was forming and launched itself into the wave as it rolled forward. Tears erupted from Yasemin’s eyes and flowed down her cheeks, mingling with the salty droplets of seawater in the corners of her mouth. “I’m free,” she laughed as she felt her heart bursting with joy. 

The bodysurfing seemed to go on forever and Yasemin had lost count of the number of waves they had caught together. After a while, she noticed the sun had almost reached its highest point. At the same time, the dolphin stopped swimming and turned towards her as if it wanted to say something to her. With her heart still beating wildly, Yasemin looked into its eyes as their hearts connected and the dolphin conveyed a message to her without words. ‘You are in search of freedom, but freedom lies within you, in your heart.’ Then it nodded its head a few times while making a squeaking sound. “Thank you, you magnificent, wise creature,” Yasemin said, bowing to what felt like a teacher. The dolphin squeaked again. “Goodbye, I hope you have a good life,” Yasemin replied, after which the dolphin turned around and darted away to join the other dolphins.

Amazing Dolphins Surfing Waves in Western Australia

If I told you what it takes
To reach the highest high
You’d laugh and say “nothing’s that simple”
But you’ve been told many times before
Messiahs pointed to the door
And no one had the guts to leave the temple
From: ‘I’m Free’ by The Who

The Who – I’m Free

With a deep sense of fulfilment, Yasemin swam back to the beach. She still felt the rocking motion of the waves as she waded through the surf and walked on the dry sand to where her clothing lay. She looked up into the sky, closed her eyes for a few moments and enjoyed the soothing sensation of the warm sun caressing her face. With both hands placed on her heart, she silently thanked the dolphin for playing with her and for its wise words. She felt blessed with an experience that many people could only dream of.

As soon as her cozzie was dry, she slipped into her dress and put on her sandals, and climbed the trail to the cliff. At the cliff, instead of taking the shortest route back home, she decided to take a detour through a short and narrow stretch of rainforest. She often went there to unwind and immerse herself in tranquillity after a busy day, or just to enjoy the beautiful scenery, the large variety of birdsong, the cool shade and the patterns of the ever-changing currents in the slow-moving river. Now she was going there to let the events of that morning sink in.

She had walked some twenty paces into the rainforest, when she repeated in her mind what the dolphin had said to her. ‘You are in search of freedom, but freedom lies within you, in your heart.’ She repeated the sentence a couple of times to let it resonate in her mind. She felt very powerful, knowing that freedom lay within her. It meant that all she needed to do in order to feel free, was to leave her mind and feel in her heart. That night as she lay in bed, she drifted off to sleep into her dreams, unaware of how her surprise encounter with the dolphin that day would affect all of her days to come.

G. Wayne Thomas – Day Comes

Many years later, Yasemin woke up early one morning and went to the bathroom. She looked in the mirror and gently plucked at her straggly yet beautiful silver grey hair. “What a beautiful mess,” she said with a big smile of approval on her face. Her words brought on a flood of images from the past that reminded her of the day when she had stood before the same mirror and lamented the loss of freedom that she thought had been caused by her pregnancy. Intuitively, she placed both hands on her belly in the same way as she had then, and remembered the dolphin that had helped her to release her fears and find freedom. Before she was able to recall any further, she was interrupted by the happy sound of a young girl’s voice.
“Look what I found, Nine.”
She turned around and dropped to her knees, just in time to let her three-year-old granddaughter, Sumeyra, fall into her arms.
“I love you so much, sweet granddaughter of mine,” she said, smothering Sumeyra’s little face with kisses, and glanced past her at her daughter, Roxana, who stood smiling in the door opening. Their eyes met and their hearts beat as one. No words were needed to express the deep bond that they shared. Then Yasemin let Sumeyra go and waited for her to present what she had found.
Silently and with a big smile on her glowing cheeks, Sumeyra stuck out her little hand that held a tiny jasmine flower.
“Oh, is that for me?”
The girl nodded.
“Thank you, sweetheart,” Yasemin said and gave her a gentle peck on the cheek.
Sumeyra then ran off as quickly as she had entered the room with her mother in her wake, leaving Yasemin to converse with her reflection in the mirror.

“Thank you too, Mauro,” Yasemin whispered with a warm, glowing sensation emanating from her heart. Her eyes glistened and she smiled radiantly as she remembered the man who was without doubt the love of her life. “Thank you for creating our beautiful daughter with me. At the time, I thought I had lost my freedom, but I discovered that it was merely narrow mindedness borne of fear that was holding me prisoner in my own mind. Luckily, I came across a wise and playful soul who taught me how to expand my mind. Now, I find freedom always and anywhere, and whatever the circumstances.” She closed her eyes and saw Mauro’s face appearing before her. He smiled lovingly and whispered in her mind: ‘I know, sweet Yasemin. I felt it the first time that we made love and you let me in to your heart.’ 

There’s no formula for happiness, that’s guaranteed to work
It all depends on how you treat your friends
And how much you’ve been hurt

But it’s a start, when you open up your heart
And try not to hide, what you feel inside
Just open up your heart
From: ‘Open Up Your Heart’ by G. Wayne Thomas

G. Wayne Thomas – Open Up Your Heart

Symbolism and terminology:

Yasemin: Yasemin is a Persian girl’s name, meaning ‘jasmine’ and ‘Gift from God’
Jasmine: The jasmine flower symbolizes: love; purity; feminine power; sensuality; modesty; hospitality; inspiration; spiritual ascension – Source: UniGuide.com
Dolphin: The dolphin symbolizes: peace and harmony; protection; playfulness and joy; resurrection; inner strength; cooperation; freedom – Source: SpiritAnimal.info
Nine: One of the Turkish words for ‘grandma’

Images:

‘Sea’ by StockSnap on Pixabay
‘Woman’ by VisionPics on Pixabay
‘Pregnancy’ by Robster_91 on Pixabay
‘Sea Antalya’ by Yucel Tellici on Freeimages.com
HD Wallpaper’ by VisionPics on Pixabay
‘Dolphin’ by derevv on Pixabay
‘Rainforest’ by Atlantios on Pixabay 
‘Jasmine’ by manfredrichter on Pixabay

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