I twisted the head of the tap and the water ceased to flow down on the sink. I wiped the water off my hands with a handkerchief. How long had I been zoned out washing my hands?
The face in the mirror looked unsatisfied and tired. Festivities of this kingdom always were a taxing job. They required me to play the part of the timid, conforming, virtuous girl more efficiently than on normal days. It drained the life out of me.
This coronation was especially depressing. It had malice written all over it. Wasn’t King Duncan just murdered? Yet no one, especially Macbeth, had an ounce of grief. This celebration was tainted and to a great extent, insensitive.
As I was preparing myself to get in character before moving out, I heard someone’s clumsy handling of the washroom door knob. After a few minutes of noisy playing with the doorknob, a tall woman in a black robe stumbled inside the washroom.
“All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!” She shouted and burst into a fit of manic laughter as the door shut thud behind here.
As she tried to walk towards the sink she toppled and fell on her knees still laughing. She was lean with her hair tied in an aristocratic bun, but a few non-conforming strands of it were all over her face. Her complexion was flushed and her face sad. For a moment I couldn’t recognize who she was because I had never seen Lady Macbeth that vulnerable. She was a marble statue at every occasion. An unapproachable figure with a plastered smile and very few, but only kind, words.
I hurried towards her to help her stand up but she pushed me away to lean on the wall and sit awkwardly on the washroom floor. She was wrapped in a repelling stench of liquor. I carefully placed myself next to her to provide assistance which she obviously denied.
“Is something wrong my Queen?” I asked in a whispered tone but it somehow triggered her. Her sad face had angry eyes bored in it and my question acted as a catalyst to that anger.
In a hushed tone that was full of rage, her words came out from between her gritted teeth, “But everything about this is wrong. HE wears the crown of MY ambition.” And a tiny tear escaped her left eye as she swiftly wiped it off.
“Because I had too many dreams for a girl I was married to an ass-licking, ambition-less man and now look at him! He is the KING! MY GOAL, MY PLAN, MY BRAVERY, and MY CLEANING UP THE MESS; and he gets to sit on the throne with a gold crown on his rather dumb head,” Her voice got louder with every repeated and emphasised ‘my’.
“What are you talking about my Queen?” I ask in a concerned voice even though I knew what she meant. Treachery aside, I knew what she felt at the moment. Wasn’t this my life on a daily basis? Frustration of not getting what I deserve. Frustration of not being who I am meant to be. Frustration of being a woman in a man’s world.
“But you get to be the Queen! You get to sit next to him and wear your own crown.” I give my vague consolation that wasn’t even sufficient in my head.
She winced and laughed sarcastically. “Oh no, I get to be Lady Macbeth. Do you know my real name? Does anybody know my real name? NO, because I am Lady Macbeth. Lady to King Macbeth. That is all I am and that is all I’ll ever be. But do you know what I am should be? I should be Ruler of the Land Gruoch. I deserve to hear ‘All Hail the ruler, Gruoch!’ I am meant to be the power on that throne because I’VE done the good, the bad, and the ugly for it. But…”
As her voice trailed off she stared into the void for a few seconds and abruptly stood up to settle her garment and hair in the mirror. Still a little tipsy, she moved towards the door rather gauchely and unacknowledged my presence altogether. She sent a clear signal of ‘this talk never happened,’ to me and I was more than pleased to oblige.
“I know what you are going through my Queen. Trust me, I know,” I said in a reassuring voice. She stopped for a minute at the door with her back towards me and took a deep breath to fake composure, before finally joining the festivities again.
We all were playing our parts.