I will add a *trigger warning* for abuse - only because that is ultimately what this piece is talking about deep down. A companion piece to the other "Bedtime stories" I used to tell on the message boards.
*opens my mental book*
Where were we...oh yes...
Once upon a time there was a girl
who looked a lot like you.
She was a beautiful soul,
she was a rare flower
in a crowded garden.
She was rooted deep in the rich dark soil.
Her petals were tightly curled and she had yet to bloom.
There were other flowers who grew around her. Sometimes they shoved her.
Sometimes they stood over her and blocked the sun.
When the rain came and harshly pounded the garden, the other flowers leaned away and held each other. Leaving her to be over powered by the heavy drops.
Her leaves were pale and weak.
She felt invisible and out of place.
Truth be known she was afraid to bloom.
She had seen what happened to the other flowers who risked it all and bloomed,
They had been picked and taken.
One spring day as the bees were busily skipping from flower to flower she heard laughter near her.
Shyly she turned and looked. It was a weed outside the garden fence. A rough and tumble prickly weed with strange white flowers.
Again the weed laughed. She looked around to see what the others flowers were going to do.
They were too busy preening in the sun to notice the stranger.
The weed stirred as a warm wind rustled through the garden.
"Come dance with me!" the weed chimed in a musical tone.
She drew up and shrank back. "I - I - I can't dance."
"Sing with me then!" the weed giggled.
"I - I - I can't sing."
The weed stopped and leaned under the fence, "oh?"
She drooped and sighed. " 'fraid so."
"why?" probed the weed.
"I'm a flower, we don't dance or sing we...we...bloom and look pretty."
"Let me try that." said the weed and drew itself up straight. It flexed its muscles and made its little flowers twist. "Boooooring!" the weed cried and relaxed into its loose form.
She snickered before she could stop herself.
The weed smiled, "ah, that is what I thought...you need to get out of that garden."
The weed ducked under the fence and before she could utter a word, she was pulled from the ground roots and all.
"WAIT!" she called "I'm afraid..."
"Don't be silly" scoffed the weed. "I got you. Besides they are not seeing you and the pain you are in, those flowers are not supporting you."
She glanced down from her perch in the weeds prickly embrace. Everything looked so strange from this angle. "I am no longer afraid" she announced. "I feel stronger up here."
The weed wriggled and twisted like a happy dog, "OH I AM SO GLAD!"
"Actually I feel safe in your arms, cause if anyone tried to pick me they would get cut by your thorns." She said as she relaxed and pulled down inside the weeds canopy of thorny arms.
"Ouch!" she squealed as a thorn tore her pale green stalk.
"Sorry" commented the weed, "I shall stand very still so not to hurt you."
And the weed did so. It grew tall and strong and dense, surrounding the flower and protecting her from the other flowers and from the people who came to pick the flowers.
But before long her stalk and leaves were covered in many scratches, even though the weed was careful, she would still bump against the sharp thorns.
Occasionally the gardener would try to remove her from the weed, but he couldn't reach her.
Once the flowers tried to help her out too, but she wouldn't go.
'I'm safe in here.' she would tell herself. 'Nothing hurts me in here.'
She tried to bloom once. However the instant her petals started to uncurl they were sliced by the sharp thorns. She thought, 'I don't want to get hurt, so I will stay quiet in here and be still.'
And so she was.
She was so quiet and still that she started to wonder if she was dead.
"I want out." she said aloud one afternoon.
The weed bristled and tried to open so she could get down
"OUCH!" she squealed as the thorns bit her.
"Better just stay put." said the weed, "I can keep protecting you so nothing hurts you."
"You are hurting me". She said sadly. "we have never danced or sang...I want to go back to the garden, please."
The weed shrugged its shoulders. "Fine, but you will need to find your own way out."
She wandered aimlessly in the maze of thorny thistles, unable to find her way out. Each wrong path left her with new scratches and pokes.
Defeated she stopped and didn't try again.
Wait...what was that scratching?
She looked down and saw a fat Caterpillar inching its way up the weed.
"WHEW!" wheezed the caterpillar, as it reached her. "Now what the heck do you suppose you are doing up here my dear?"
"I am lost!" she sobbed.
"That you most definitely are. Come with me me I know the way down." He turned and started descending.
The pillar stopped and looked back at her. "they will hurt you as we make our way out." He told her. "There will be stretches were we can get around them, but you will not get out uninjured."
Dejected she slumped. "It sounds too hard."
"No harder than staying here and living like this." He smiled and and turned back to descending. "I will be right here, walking with you, offering support and a few legs when you need help."
She started to follow the Pillar.
"WHOA!!" she squeal as she slipped and fell. She closed her eyes and clung to the weed with all her might.
"I am right here." the pillar said softly. "You are doing fine. Slips are to be expected...stay focused on the result of our walk...not the walk."
She looked at the pillar with tears in her eyes. "I will get down."
"Good girl." He smiled and hugged her with all his legs. "Back to work, dear one, we have a long climb."
And they continued on their journey.
They spoke as they inched their way out. They talked about many things. She told him how mad at the other flowers she was for the way they treated her.
I"m going to give them a peice of my mind when I get out!" she stormed.
The pillar laughed, "so you shall." He gestured to his left.
She looked up to see that she was on the garden floor.
With mouth agape she turned back to the pillar..."We are out!"
But he was heading back into the weed core.
"We just got out!" she hollered after him. "Why are you going back in?"
Over his shoulder he hollered back, "You are not the only flower in there. I am going back for the others."
"but why?" she asked, awed at his words.
He paused and said quietly and gently. "Because...I know the way out."
She watched him out of sight and then turned to face the garden. She felt very good. She was covered in scars but she felt very strong and empowered. The journey had strengthened her and she had grown.
Across the rich dark soil she stomped. Right up to the other flowers. "HEY!!" she called.
Every bloom turned to her.
"I have a bone to pick with you! All of you ignored me! All of you stood over me and blocked the sun, shoved me, lean away and left me in the rain! You hurt me!"
She glared at them preparing for a fight.
The flowers gently took her and hugged her. "We have been so worried about you! We have missed you."
"We stood over you and blocked the sun so you wouldn't get burned." said some of them.
Others said, "We shoved you to correct your posture so you would grow up right."
"And we leaned away so you would get fresh water so you could grow into the rare flower you are."
"We love you." they all cried, hugging her again. "We are so sorry we didn't ever tell you."
She felt the anger slip away as her roots eased back into the soil.
"Some flowers need to hear that every day." she said "Everyday."
So they did.
Weeks later under their watchful eyes, they began to bloom.
As her petals opened and she felt the sun on them she began to let off the most beautiful fragrance.
When at last her inner face was exposed and smiling in the sun, her heart began to sing.
She heard foot steps approaching on the gravel path.
"They will pick me" she smiled sadly. "My life is over."
"No." whispered a butterfly, who just happened to strangely resemble one fat caterpillar, "They will pick you and your life will begin."
She closed her eyes as she felt the hand close around her stalk and pull.
When she opened her eyes she found herself staring
into the beautiful soul
of a rare face
in a crowded world,
Who just so happens to look a lot like you.
*closes my mental book*
looks around at the sleeping "flowers" in my garden.
*tucks each of you in*
*kisses your heads*
night my friends, sweet dreams...
(C) P. Russell 5-26-2005