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  • Silky Jaiswal


The school bell, the riotous and ear splitting sound of the school bell was music to the ears of Belle’s peers. It was the music of freedom and often, she wondered if they, in general, had a poor taste in music or the school bell was an exception. The last period had been English and she had been thoroughly enjoying it as it was about a boy who wanted to grow up and become an astrophysicist, learn about the wonders of the universe and explore the limits of humankind. It astonished her— the depths of the universe. Its vastness, the treasures that it hid under its twisted warps of darkness and all the secrets that were not yet revealed— all of it, astounded her. Although Belle detested the scientific elements, she was more fond of the sheer beauty of it and not how space was directly proportional to time.

Clearing her mind, she pondered about the day ahead. Her life at home contrasted strikingly with the one she led at school. School was exciting, it gave her shivers as it unfolded a new mystery everyday. A new lesson that left her with a myriad of questions, a new chapter that made her head spiral around only to send her to a different world altogether. Home? It had become exhaustingly monotonous after Mother has passed away. Father had started to while away the hours by allowing liquor to course through his veins and the false realities of the TV shows infest his brain and it's funny how he tends to push aside the gravity of the situation and lets lies depress him beyond explanation. When mother was sick and bedridden, she had managed to mumble her last words to Belle, which she pledged to never forget, “Remember Belle, nothing in life is anticipated. Parents do lie, boats do sink, and life will go on, with or without me, alright?”

And it was. It was going on but not as smoothly as it did before because earlier, Belle went home with childlike wonder, eager to tell her parents the tales of the day but now; it was just Dad blaming herself that maybe she should have appreciated him more.

Belle hated going back home. She was so fed up with her misery that she finally decided to stay back at school. As soon as the boisterous laughter of her peers disappeared into the thin, crisp air and the school building was left in tranquility, she strolled towards the staff room. Upon reaching her destination, she knocked specifically thrice before drawing the attention of her English teacher, Mrs Fallon Rochester, who was stuffing her books and tiffin inside her handbag. Ollie knew- she understood- the situation of Mrs Rochester’s household yet she seemed to run out of options. ‘Isabelle, have you missed your bus, darling?’ Mrs Rochester’s docile tone made Belle’s hectic heartbeat slow down as she shook her head in denial.

‘No, Miss.’

‘Then what is it?’ Mrs Rochester put down her handbag and motioned Belle to come inside the staff room and sit on the seat in front of her. ‘I wanted you to continue the story of the boy who wanted to be an astrophysicist. You left us at the part when he was discussing the Supernovas.’ Belle’s words snatched the ones that were producing inside Mrs Rochester’s throat. At her request, a saccharine smile graced the teacher’s lips, however, the smile was full of sorrow. ‘Isabelle, I-I am afraid that it is not possible at this hour, you see I have to go home.’ Mrs Rochester stammered, afraid of her husband’s reaction and the list of suspicions to her late arrival and per usual, no excuse would spare her. She gulped as she watched Belle’s big, azure irises beg. ‘I should call your mother, she might get scared! ’

“Miss, I do not want to go home…It is the last place where I want to be.” What could the poor lady do to a little child’s humble request? Refute? Never! So she chose to stay for a little while rather than shatter the child’s heart. “I cannot argue now, can I? Fine, sit.” She continued, dismissing the previous topic, “Now, in a literary sense, what is supernova?” “A star that has collapsed?” Belle answered , a childlike curiosity flashing past her eyes.

“In scientific terms, yes. It is the final stage of a star in which it dies due to a titanic explosion. But, according to the boy in the story, what was the supernova described as?”

“A star that burned out to shine its light on some other planet.” As the sentence left Belle’s lips, an epiphany percolated her veins. She recalled how Mrs Rochester had problems in her house, how she struggled with her dubious husband and yet, she chose to push aside her own issues and put forward someone else’s. “Exactly.”

Belle murmured the word too because that’s exactly what Mrs Rochester was, she was a supernova who burned out herself to shine her light on someone else. Maybe life will go on.

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