When the Flower Blooms
St. Raphaela’s Secondary School,
The dark, murky waters pulled me in, hypnotising me. One step, two steps. The freezing water wrapped itself around my knees, sending chills throughout my whole body. My shaky breath got steadily heavier the deeper I entered. The moon and the clouds were mirrored in the sea, as if there was another world waiting for me underneath. A world of peace, where everyone got along and where everyone was happy.
The water now reached my waist. I flinched as the harsh cold came into contact with my stomach, but bit by bit, I persevered. I started to think back on my life, the short amount of time I had to experience it. Along with all the memories came the emotions. I thought of what would happen after all this, after they found my body, informed my family. Would they even care? Would they mourn? Would they be sad for a week and move on with life, having other things that needed their attention, needed taking care of? Would anyone miss me? Would my friends cry over their loss? Or would they simply brag to everyone that they knew me, that they were close to me, that they used to be my ‘friends’. Maybe they didn’t actually like me. Maybe, from the very beginning, they had been pretending. Maybe everything they had said and done up until now was all a lie. Either way, it didn’t matter anymore. It would all be over soon.
“What are you doing?”
I panicked. I stopped edging forward and slowly turned my upper body around so that I could see behind me, see who said that. Their high-pitched voice had me guessing; once I turned around I knew I was right.
A little girl, about 5 years old, was standing on the beach, her feet in the water, her long, tangled hair waving slowly in the gentle wind. An oversized dress hung loosely from her delicate and fragile body. Its white colour stood out against the darkness, making her seem like a ghost.
“I could ask you the same thing. It’s already late, what are you still doing outside? You should be in bed by now.”
The fact that I was triple her age gave me authority of some sort over her, a power to tell her off and tell her what to do. I’d shoo her away, and then I’d continue my…journey.
“Why are you crying?”
She had ignored my question, and instead pointed in my direction. I realised that I still had remnants of tears on my face. With the dry part of my sleeves I quickly wiped them away, hoping that that way she would magically forget that she had noticed me crying. But she just stood there, staring, waiting expectantly for an answer. I just wanted her to leave already; she was interrupting me, and I wanted to get this over and done with.
I decided to play along a bit, hoping that the girl would leave me alone once she got an answer from me.
“Because…I’m just a little sad, that’s all.”
“Did someone say something mean to you?”
Was this girl seriously trying to help me right now? ‘Pathetic’, I thought. Kids always saw themselves superior to everyone else, as if they were smarter than us. It frustrated me.
“No, no one said anything mean, I’m just upset because nothing is going the way I would like it to go right now.”
“Did you not get what you wanted?”
“…Yeah, you could say that.”
The girl picked up a stick lying nearby and crouched down. I cringed as I saw the lower back of her dress get wet in the waves which were crawling up the sand and then slowly retreating back into the sea. However the girl didn’t seem to care; she didn’t even seem to notice. She occupied herself with doodling on the sand; she’d wait for the waves to make her markings disappear before starting over. She continued doing this for a minute, thinking deeply.
“You know, you don’t always get everything you hope for in life.”
‘No shit’, I thought.
“Yeah, I know that. But you deserve to get something, right? Anything at all; my problem is that I have nothing. I’m not asking for everything I hope for in life; the bare minimum would be good enough.”
Why the hell was I even discussing this with a 5 year old? The more I thought about it, the stupider I felt for taking part in this conversation.
“I think you’re underestimating the things surrounding you. I mean, you have a family, right? You have friends. Isn’t that all you need to be able to live a happy life?”
Where the heck did this kid learn to use such big words?
“You see kid, I can’t talk to these people about this. If they heard about my problems, if they heard how sad I am, they’d just try to fix me; the thing is, I’m not broken. I don’t need fixing. I just need someone to listen to me and be there for me and hug me and help me get through life…”
My eyes started welling up. My vision got blurry, and I could just barely see the outline of her white dress against the darkness surrounding us. I couldn’t breathe; the hiccups were getting the better of me; the tears just continued to flow. I couldn’t stop myself, no matter how hard I tried. It was as if I had been taking care of a balloon filled with water inside of me, and then this girl came along and punctured it with a needle. The balloon simply burst, spilling its contents everywhere. As I stood there, rubbing my swollen eyes, I glimpsed the girl getting up, and, with swift determination, entering the water.
“Woah, hold on, what are you doing, stop, it’s too deep for you here!”
I dragged my legs through the water to shallower ground. I was up to my knees again when I met up with the girl. It was then that I noticed the bruise; a purple mark stretching across her left cheekbone. The deep purple colour confirmed that it was a fresh bruise; it looked as though someone had recently punched her. As I was about to question the girl about it, she stuck out her tiny bony arms and tried wrapping them around my waist, but because of her petite figure ended up wrapping them around my legs, as tightly as she could. She whispered something barely audible, something that made my eyes fill up with tears again, tears which rolled down my cheeks with swiftness and landed on the top of her head.
“It’s going to be ok….”
I returned the hug, squeezing her delicate body as much as I dared.
“Yeah..it’s going to be fine…”
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