I wrote this story years ago, but did not post it as it might seem a shameless plagiarism of a famous tale. However, this so exactly describes my life that I have to put it down. This story is as close to an autobiography as I can get.
The world could be many things. It could be a small blue planet jostling with other planets in the cosmic dust of a universe; it could also be one feature—say, a tree—in a featureless terrain. As the only thing that our eyes could fasten on, and as we continue to fasten our eyes on it, it will grow lovely in our sight, no matter how ugly it truly is. Let us, then, think of the world as a tree.
Once upon a time, a young girl waited under the tree—it was an ugly twisted stump of a tree with no leaves; it knew no spring, no winter, no birth, no change. The tree never died, but it never truly lived either. The twisted tree bore one branch and upon that branch hung a rope noose. It was too high to be of use to anyone.
The young girl did not know how long she had waited under that tree; she certainly did not begin her existence there, but she could not remember being anywhere else. It seemed that her whole life had been spent waiting under that tree.
Other people gathered there as well, for want of a better place to go. They were all undernourished, overworked, bowed down, skin a ghastly white under a sun that never gives out warmth or light.
“What are we waiting for?” the Girl whispered to the older ones. There is never any shouting, any singing, under that tree. Everybody whispers. Nobody teaches them to; it’s just the way of life.
“We are waiting for Godot,” the elders whispered back. But their hopeless eyes belied their words. They had given up on waiting. They had stopped preparing themselves, now they just… exist.
“I can’t wait anymore!” the Girl shouted, springing to her feet.
“Where will you go?” the elders asked in the same dead voice.
“Anywhere! Anywhere but here!” she said. “You are dead and dying! And very soon I will be too.”
So the young Girl tried hard to leave. But, each time she left, she came back again. And with each desperate attempt, she lost something of herself. First, she lost her purity, then she lost her dignity; at the very last, she lost her sanity. After her last trip out, she had to be led back on the end of a rope. One end was tied in a noose around her neck, the other was clutched tightly in her claw of a hand. It seemed that if she let go of the rope restraining herself, she would spin off into the darkness between the stars, never to return to this life, even if it is a life pathetically spent waiting under a damned tree.
The time that passed was meaningless, but one day, an idea came to her. “If I add my rope to the rope on the tree, why! It might be long enough to be of use to me!”
The passion swept her into action, but like every effort under that tree, it was futile from the start. She stared at the tree rope noose, tantalisingly just out of her reach, and wept hot, hopeless tears. On the very last day, before she embraced despair and joined the elders in their deadness, a man crept into the community under the tree.
He fell down in deep exhaustion. The others gathered around and stared with dark, hollow eyes before they turned away. There was no attempt to revive him. Why should they? Why prolong his agony and misery? Let him die.
But the Man did not die. First, he opened his eyes, then he sat up, and finally he ate. He was emaciated and overworked like the rest of them, there was nothing that set him apart. But the Girl held long conversations with him.
“There is nothing to live for, nothing!” she explained to him passionately. He agreed calmly.
“Shouldn’t we, then, end this living?” she wept. He agreed again.
“But there is nothing to die for, nothing!” she contradicted herself in the next breath. He pondered, and nodded his head.
“Should we not try to reach that?” she asked, pointing at the rope high up in the tree. “If we work together, we can attain it.”
She held up her stub of a rope to him hopefully, the noose still looped around her neck. Her eyes shone with unshed tears. She cried for all the hopes, the dreams, the things that could have been.
“We will,” he said tenderly, “Tomorrow.”
He took the rope end out of her hand. Then he took her hand and led her on a walk around the tree. It was a meaningless circuit, because they ended up exactly where they had started. But now the Man held a dry twig in his hand.
“What joy! I found a twig,” he said. She looked on while he added the twig to a pile of branches he had been gathering. “Soon, this will be a house,” he said. She did not think so, but, the next time, she brought him a stick.
She smiled to see him thoughtfully add her stick to his nonsense pile. It made the meaningless jumble suddenly… dear to her.
And so, the days passed, one into the other. He needed something to tie a few twigs together. So she gave him the rope from around her neck.
One day, the Man turned to her and spoke, “No one can see Godot, but all of us are only man enough to be Godot’s hands and heart to one other person in the world. Please can you tell me who is the weakest and the saddest person under this tree? Because I think I have been sent to him.”
The girl thought deeply and lifted her eyes to him, “I am the one you seek.”
And so, the Man and the Girl ceased their waiting and began their being. They were man and wife enough to be Godot’s hands and heart to each other. And at the busiest times of their meaningless (or fruitful, it depends which way you look at it) existence together, it seemed that Godot became more real, it was as if He was right in their midst.