Senhora of Expectation

Short Story

He was chasing the steps that led to the mountain that was named after the martyr. On the 121- st step of the climb, he waited and took the limewater container from the kit and swigged two sips and scanned around to view the amazing flash of the city that stretched far and beyond. The spectacle that encompassed was once a center of trade and military and the Dutch, the Portuguese and the British competed for the hegemony and the British finally got it as a part of the Commonwealth. Nevertheless, the culture was hybrid, leaving the place to a horde of traditions that are a conglomeration of the European as well as the native. From the 17th century, this part was populated predominantly by Anglo-Indians. He had in fact planned this trip a year ago and it was his wife’s urge that he scale these tracks in his salubrious frame and offer thanks to the Senhora of Expectation that was in the church at the top of the cliff for releasing him from the past malady.

Now in this very morning, his wife yearned to accompany him but in the end, hours was held back from it by a phone call from the head office, leaving the kids with him. Originally the journey was mapped in detail including all the four members. He thought for a while that if his wife were there, she would carry his hefty sack, and it will be comfortable for him to make this climb. These are the luxuries he enjoyed in her togetherness. In return, she will sleep on his lap in those long travels by night train, if they did not get reservation berth for both, as he could stay awake the whole night and postpone his sleep for the next day. A guide came and gave him some information, as he had earlier encountered him with the group of pilgrims at the base of the climb….

The Portuguese developed the shrine out of an old pious location. An Armenian merchant paved the granite steps till the end of the cliff, out of  consummate piety, and the legends are that your expectations are fulfilled once you offer your prayer before the Senhora, and countless believed in it and his wife was one among them. He had gone two years ago to see the Catalonian shrine of Our Lady of Montserrat with her because she was a great believer in and had her families near Barcelona…Our Lady of Montserrat or the Virgin of Montserrat (Catalan: Mare de Déu de Montserrat) that bore the inscription ”Negra Sum Sed Formosa” (Latin: I am Black, but Beautiful) and through his wife, he got much knowledge of these topics…

He met her two decades ago in Barcelona when he was the chief promoter of a text that was into its first Spanish edition. He went there with the book’s author and returned to his country with a woman- His wife. But that is an old chronicle. During the last couple of years, he was not healthy due to different strains and then happened the ultimate bathos. He was coming from the office and waiting at the railroad station for the electric train. Suddenly the left part of his chest ached and he thought that it was a minor gas problem as he had experienced in the previous many years, but the catch did not sink and he took a seat on one of the concrete benches. He had reached this location every day at this particular course of the day for the office, but today everything seemed unusual, the terrains, his own perspectives. Quickly he swooned and when he gained cognizance, he was in one of the hospital beds with his spouse’s and children’s expectant casts around him. He later grasped that he had a heart attack. and further in the coming days, he underwent an operation and after several weeks of stay in the hospital came to his flat. When he was quite whole and commenced proceeding to work, in one of the fine mornings, his wife told him that she had promised to the ‘Senhora of Expectation’ on the mount and had sworn that when wholly healed, her husband will come and offer the thanks on this altar ascending the trails with his own limbs. She added that belief wise, he had reached a break glass moment. And now he is here to carry through her promise. He was not a believer at all. But in wedlock, you do plenty of compromises out of love and though he often had qualms about the pertinence of such thing, in his all-pervading integral life he yearned to lead[ though could not completely], and later when he viewed the bright smiling faces of his two children, his own more innocent versions, he is charmed about the general outcome of it all.