Isabella was born in a wealthy estate located in a town of residents with similarly comfortable assets. Her mother did not survive childbirth and her father became more occupied with the liabilities his assets produced than devoting himself to his one and only child.
She was fortunate to receive many gifts that he bestowed upon her – decorated dolls, a princess house, fairy tale dresses, and matching shoes. Even then, Isabella did not indicate much appreciation for them. The natural expectation was that she became too spoiled.
Every birthday, her father retorted to her sulking face, “Isabella, I give you everything you want. There is no reason why you should be so sad.”
The gifts grew larger in the material sense, and her discontentment grew quite the same. Isabella was truly happy the day she moved to a new life at her University campus. The good luck fairy made her presence known yet again in the form of a romantic interest. Their courtship soon solidified into one whose semantics translate as well in society, as they do in legal affairs – marriage. They assured each other the commitment of a lifetime.
Isabella tended to the household chores as he tended to the ones at his workplace. On occasion, he would bring home a bouquet, some chardonnay, and all that would bode well in bed till the following day. The honeymoon phase gradually waned into a more routine life of domestic duties and eager anticipation of his arrival at home, and she unbeknownst to herself, sowed the seeds for her future resentment.
Her hints to dedicate more time to each other were deafened by his lucrative promotion at work. Ergo, he tried to compensate for his increasingly busy schedule with a necklace; his weekends away with another golden chain for her wrist, and she was lost on how to release herself from those shackles she willingly wore on her body and mind.
As she laundered his blue shirts and black trousers and placed them neatly in their room closet, he chanced to see her teary eyes masked behind a pleasant demeanor. Such a stimulus promoted him to make an appointment with a doctor who started Isabella on a regimen on anti-depression medication.
Evenings were spent absorbing news from the idiot box, and he became too self-absorbed in an affair at work to realize that she did not laugh along when the idiot box instructed its viewers to laugh; she did not cry when it demanded tears. Isabella grew numb to her surroundings and proportionately, his concern for her metastasized into frustration and eventually anger at her lack of normalcy.
“Isabella, I give you everything you want. There is no reason why you should be so sad.”
She knew this fully well, having heard it all her life. But she couldn’t mend the isolation of her heart that seeped into every pore of her being and mind. The pills slowly worked their magic of delusion and she discovered an effective way to silence that mind – a single bullet to the head.
Before she pulled the trigger, she held on to his shirt and closed her eyes in reminiscence of the pact they made in their college years — to live a life free of the entrapment of mundane normalcy.
Note: This story is adapted and modified from the real life story of a patient that my professor narrated at an Abnormal Psychology lecture at Rutgers in Fall 2009. It also borrows a hint of inspiration from the plot of the acclaimed novel and movie, Revolutionary Road.