Reminiscing on Offred's Life
As an assignment for school I chose to do a reminiscence of Offred from when she got into the truck at the end of the book, till a couple years later. Here is my take on what I think could have possibly happened :] Please read and review.
The story does not belong to me, but Margaret Atwood!
I remember sitting in the truck, terrified, not certain whether or not this was really Mayday or if I was now going to die. Of course I was hoping for the first option, I had faith in Nick and did not think that he would betray me. I sat in the truck for what seemed like forever. I could hear the mumbling of the two men sitting in the front, but they did not talk to me. When we finally arrived I was told to be quiet and was led out of the truck. We were underground and it was dark; I could sense that it was still night time. Moments later I was walking into a dimly lit room where a nervous couple was ready for my arrival. One of the men walked up to the woman and whispered something in her ear; she nodded and looked at me. The two men left and I was left standing there feeling awkward. The man motioned for me to sit and then they began explaining everything.
It was indeed Mayday that had taken me from the Commander's house. I was to stay there for a week or two and then I would be moved to a house outside the city. I was relieved but still somewhat nervous. Maybe the Eyes would find me after all. The two weeks went by quite quickly; I had a small room where I spent the largest part of my day. I kept to myself, only leaving my room to join the couple for meals. The couple had a small bookcase, the sight of which was heaven to my eyes. I feasted upon the books, devouring one after another. When reading the books I felt free, I forgot about the fact that I was confined to this house for the two weeks. I still felt constricted, being told what to do, but I felt much freer than when I was living with the Commander and his wife. During the nights, however, I did find myself missing the company of Nick.
When the two weeks had gone by I found myself being hauled back into the truck. Once again it was during the night. Everything looked friendlier though. I was not worried this time, feeling the bumps and cracks in the road as we sped away. When we arrived at the location where I was to stay, I felt a strong sense of déjà vu and I had a momentary feeling of panic. The building we arrived at looked suspiciously much like the Red Center. I panicked thinking I might have been tricked after all. When I entered the building however, the panic subsided within me and I felt more at ease. The red center had been bare, but this building, which I later learned was called Hope, was welcoming and comforting. There were paintings and pictures on the walls filled with words, as if they could sense our need to read, to see words. The handmaids that had been saved by Mayday were all sent here before they were let out into the world on their own. There were two women who ran the facility, they reminded me of the Aunts, but were much friendlier. They used to be handmaids too and were among the first to escape.
Days at Hope seemed long and endless, but at least we were free. There were rules of course, which secretly I was glad for as I had gotten used to structure and order, but there was more freedom. I got a new set of clothes, like the ones the Japanese tourists were wearing. It felt strange not wearing the red dresses each day, but it did not take long for me to get used to it. I soon enjoyed the feel of skirts, jeans and form fitting t-shirts. My hair got cut and I was allowed to go outside again. Something that took me a very long time to get used to was using my own name again. It felt like starting over again, being my own person. The name made me feel unique, like I was truly my own person, not just one of many.
Weeks later I found out I was pregnant. Of course I was overjoyed; I wished I could share the great news with Nick. 6 months later my daughter was born, I named her Nicole after Nick. Once Nicole was born, we moved out of Hope and into a small apartment of our own. My life had become pretty stable; I felt more confident about being safe and was starting to believe I would never be found and be sent back, or worse, sent to the colonies. Slowly I got back up on my feet, I got a job. It did not pay much, but it allowed me to live on my own. Nicole recently started school and is learning how to read and write.
I think about my life as a handmaid daily. Little things spark memories in me. When I walk past a toy store and see the game Scrabble lying on the shelves I think back to the nights where I played the game with the Commander. At night when I apply lotion to my hands, I think about the butter I used to keep my hands moist.
I often find myself thinking back on how it is there now. I wonder if the Commander and Serena Joy now have a new handmaid, or if they have a baby now. I wonder if the new handmaid was a believer or not? What did she think about the scribble in the closet? Did she read the word FAITH on the pillow as often as she could? Was the pillow still there? Does the Commander miss me? Does the new handmaid get to play scrabble or read magazines as well or did the Commander only share that with me? I like to think that I meant something to the Commander, that the time I spent there was not a complete waste.
Occasionally I also think of Moira. I wonder if she still works in Jezebel's or if she has also escaped. Sometimes when I'm walking outside I will see a flash of brown hair and my mind will be so sure that it is Moira who I see. It excites me; I would love to see her again.
Out of everyone I think about Nick most. I think about the hours we would talk in his room. I think about how he listened to me endlessly talk, always being patient. I would like to think he would come and visit me, but he never does. Maybe if the Gilead society falls one day he will find me.
More and more women are being saved by Mayday. It makes me feel glad, but I am also starting to worry if maybe the Eyes will find out what's been happening. I cannot imagine going back to my life there, having to wear the shapeless red dresses, enduring the ceremony each month just so that I could give the Commander a child.
Even though I strongly dislike the society I was forced into, I cannot deny that there were a few good things that came from me being a handmaid. The most important one is that being there gave me Nicole. I still miss my other daughter, who I hope to see again one day. I take comfort in the fact that her new family must love her dearly and take good care of her. The society has made me stronger. The whole experience of being a handmaid made me treasure and appreciate my life and freedom now even more. I do not want to forget the experiences I gained there, which is why I am going to record my story. Also I hope that these tapes will serve as a warning for future generations.