Life was the colour of all seasons.
It’s hues streamed forth in to the autumn dawn like prisms of dancing light.
But life was not always so beautiful and warm, life was cold and dark and it’s strands of colour could entwine and strangle the breathe from the strongest valiant being.
Alison was such an individual, she had been blessed with a fortitude of talents and had decided to support her community and use her God given gifts to there greater potential. Alison was a fun loving and compassionate person who always saw the best in everyone she met.
She could not believe the depravity of compassion in some people’s souls.
However as a lamb led to the slaughter she was castigated and defaced by all those she held the hand of faith out to.
This was the colour of red it’s shades of betrayal in the heat of the summers passions, radiated around her like a blanket of confusion.
That summer Alison had unwittingly saved her local school from the brink of disaster by organising a tremendous fundraising event, which was extremely well attended by all of the great and the good in the community. Alison was so successful, and in deed raised the funds for this floundering school and was at that point was deemed the hero, when the school was saved by her efforts.
That whole summer Alison was flooded with pride and illuminated with all the colours of a dazzling rainbow’s hues.
She felt elevated with joy and also accepted at last by her community as she had felt so alone and rejected by this village in the past.
As the shades of the summer drifted away into the dawn of autumn, Alison suddenly saw a change in the villagers, they where no longer friendly or supportive. Alison’s fears where aroused when she was informed of devastating information that had been sent to every parent at the school.
The letter read as follows: While we are extremely grateful of Ms Alison Black’s efforts of saving our school, we would like to inform you as parents that she has made threats and scandalous remarks to certain individuals at the school and indeed we believe she has stolen funds from the cause. We will no longer be dealing with Ms Black and advise other members of the community to be aware of her lack of truthfulness and honesty.
Alison was shattered as she read the letter, she agonised why had she been so cruelly attacked in this way. What where these individuals motives, why had she been defaced?
She felt rejected and defiled and desperately wanted to leave.
A few people in the community rallied to her appeals for support, one being The Reverend Celestine Brown from the old village church and her curate Evelyn Smith.
Celestine Brown was a large bubbly ebony skinned individual who oozed compassion and love from every pore.
Evelyn Smith her curate was mousy with a dower demeanour although rather illuminating and witty at times.
Celestine and Evelyn became a great source of comfort to Alison in those dark days.
Alison was now held in her own personal hell: unsure, untrusting denied and vilified for no crime; save only that of telling the truth and justice.
She wondered who would bring justice had even God and her faith drawn the colour from her moon and the heat from her sun.
Had hell been brought to earth so soon where it should be heaven, where had all the angels gone had they been evacuated to a place of safety.
Alison called out from her pit of despair and the deep black hole of pain, ‘why have my angels left me and why has God forsaken me’.
Her hands pressed into the creases in her black dress, as tears rolled down her face and broke like shattering glass against her cheek.
The devastation of these people’s actions eroded the spirit of community, people whom where once open and out going would hide behind a façade of fear of retribution. Even those who where always so compassionate and kind questioned her truthfulness.
The seasons ebbed away like leaves falling from the trees.
All the shades of autumn danced around the Alison in her darkness; its shades illuminated the strands of hope she clung so passionately too.
The hope of divine retribution, the hope of truth and justice finding its rightful resting place back in her community and in her life.
As the seasons changed from the heat of summer’s passions to winter’s chill – the hole of pain in Alison’s heart which lay frozen by the passing of time and the unforgiveness of those souls. Her heart slowed like the fading darkness of a winter’s night, as she lay motionless in her darkness. Alison had hoped for the healing of time but the sages of time were reeling her in, ever drawing her into the abyss of the deep sleep.
Her heart shattered into a million frozen shards; punctuating the air she breathed with reminders of the life she had dreamed and promised herself so selflessly.
Time for Alison had now passed, life had let go and the pain of unforgiveness by the community had drawn its final breath.
For life is a continuing circle of shades and hues of all seasons.
The Reverend Celestine Brown and Evelyn Smith had started to try to intervene and organise individuals in the village. They had planned to hold a village meeting to address this wrong. But know this had been put into question after the untimely death of Alison Black. Even so the Reverend Celestine Brown knew in her heart that this still had to be addressed and the guilty parties had to be brought to justice for this was now not just a simple case of victimisation but a murder case of the most depraved kind. For poor Alison Black spent those last months of her life caught in a hellish prison of self destruction brought upon by worthless individuals.
For months Alison had been trying to pick up the pieces and get things back into place. Every time she built new alliances and thought the dust had settled another part of the jigsaw would crumble away.
She felt lost and isolated, abandoned and confused and all though the Reverend Celestine Brown was an ever watchful presence, Alison felt that life was dealing her too many bum cards.
Even when her daughter Millie had started at the school she tried to blend in with the other mums but it always felt so futile. Millie was so popular at school and all the kids wanted to be her friend, but Alison wondered were she had been going wrong when it came to the mums?
Just when she thought life was rosy and friendships were beginning to blossom, down came an icy wall of doubt. The mums had their little cleeks and Alison no matter how hard she tried always became discarded like an old used pair of pants.
In those last few weeks Alison had been really making an effort to try and appease everyone, home, work and social life where all starting to become a mangle of vivid colours. The pressures of life and daily survival were starting to take their toll.
As the colours of the seasons changed from their bright hues to the sombre shades of winter, Alison knew that she could take no more of this uncertainty.
That dark winter night Alison had, had yet another quarrel with her estranged husband Jack. Everywhere she turned there were doors being closed, the colour of blood swirled around her as her head was filled with torrents of blinding rage. As she looked into the blackness of the night she realised that she could not go on any longer and that her only way back to those effervescent shades and hues was to become a strand of the prism of light. Alison had taken Millie to her parents for a few days so that she could catch up with chores at home, and sort out her life, as Jack was becoming such a mindless individual.
As Alison lay on her bed in the darkness she wondered what would happen to Millie, could she find the money she would need to leave the village and Jack? Would life become brighter and sweeter if she could leave and start afresh?
Alison was so confused she adored Millie but was working so hard already to keep a roof over their heads that she could see no way forward.
And there would be no way to find the money to leave the village or Jack.
Hope turned to hopelessness and Alison felt tears of frustration and the madness of carrying on all too frightening. The blackness of the night pressed against her skin like ashes from a funeral pyre.
She knew that she had to stop thinking and decide her fate, time had not been that great a healer, and all roads did not lead effortlessly to Rome.
It had started to snow outside and the blackness had been punctuated by dots of white snow as it drifted slowly down like feathers falling from the wings of angels.
Alison once again pondered where her own angels had gone, and then started to sense the drawing in of life.
As she took the next and final pill all of the colours melted into one and the seasons started to float away. As she drifted into the stillness and opacity of the night she tried to fight to stay for her daughter Millie. But it was too late.
At the funeral that winter’s day amidst the white snows, the church was packed with so many people. There were Mums, strangers, friends and foes. Millie clutched her father’s hand and screamed into the openness of the building in pain.
For today there were no colours or hues, but only the shades of blackness and sombreness of grey. The whole village became racked with sorrow and guilt. People started to question themselves and even turned on each other. Certain individuals in the village started to realise that Alison had indeed left a huge hole in the structure of the village life.
You see it wasn’t until that day that everyone started to see how much a part of all of their lives Alison had been. How much Alison had helped the village to change over the years, and the great work she had done.
You know the saying “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone”, well this bell was tolling loud and clear to everyone.
Jack had also made a major realisation that the final factor in the breakdown of his marriage had been the small-minded individuals in the village, particularly people he had confided in throughout the years.
He had now taken full custody of Millie and after much soul searching and deliberation he decided that it was time to move on, move on with life and move out of the village. By the end of that week Jack had packed everything, and that late winter he and Millie left this place for good. Jack had decided to leave before the house had been sold and had found a new cottage somewhere up the coast.
The Reverend Celestine Brown and her church community had passed by to say their goodbyes’ to Jack and Millie. Celestine assured Jack that the death of Alison would not be the end to the story and promised that those guilty would be found and brought to justice if not by the hands of man but by the hands of God. She said, “That time was a great healer”, and “that the sun would shine once again in there lives soon”.
That day the sun had been shining, and as the light hit the crystal heart pendant that Millie wore around her neck, prisms of rainbow light radiated from it. Millie’s face was illuminated by an effervescent rainbow of light in that late winter sun. She remembered her mother’s love of colour and how full of sun her mother Alison had been. Jack and Millie were so close and both Jack and Millie missed Alison’s great passion for them and life.
There were days when they grew so hateful with rage at how Alison had been treated by the villagers that she had given so much to.
The years passed by after Alison Blacks death, very little had changed in the village apart from people dying or leaving and new blood moving in.
Celestine Brown remained the vicar at the village church, but Evelyn Smith had left the village shortly after the death of Alison Black.
Evelyn had decided that she could not live in a place of such beauty that had a heart of blackness beating within. Evelyn now lived a short distance from where Jack and Millie had moved to and met with them often.
Jack had made changes in how he lived his life and made sure he had more time for Millie. Millie had settled in well at her new school and had made countless numbers of new friends. Both Jack and Millie thought about Alison often and had planted a tree in her memory. They visited the village and Celestine occasionally but never missed being there or the icy memory the place had scarred them with. And on the plaque at the foot of Alison’s tree were written:
“For life is a continuing circle of shades and hues of all seasons”.
Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Hodgetts