Monday, April 13, 2015

Short Story: Loved, Part 11 of 15

I am writing this WEEKS ahead of time!
Well, one week really. But by the time I get to part 15, it will be weeks!
And by the time YOU get to part 15, it will be WARM! I hope.
If you missed the beginning, click here.

Rebekah was dreaming a dream she hadn’t dreamt in a long time. She dreamt she was a flower, sitting quietly on a hillside. She opened up her bright white petals as wide as they would go, drinking in as much sunlight as she could. She was waiting for something, waiting to feel the wind brush through her petals. She could hear the soft sound of its breathing growing in the distance. Her stem stiffened; she reached up to greet its coming. The flowers below her started to frolic, then the ones right in front of her, then, oh glory, she herself was dancing. Not by her own power, but by the gentle touch of the wind kissing her petals and pulling them out to places they had never been before. She knew that every flower around her was also dancing, but she felt as if she were the brightest and the tallest of all. She felt as if the wind had picked her out personally as a dancing partner, for she was so open and willing to let his touch push her beyond her limits. The sun reached down his golden rays to look directly into her face. The spotlight pulled her up from the myriad, igniting her own flaming petals, as if each fragile piece that made up her face were more important than all the field that lay beneath her.

           Rebekah breathed softly. A peaceful smile graced her lips. Content for the first time in years, she lay quietly, until a damaging thought pierced her dreams. What if Charlie sees me like this? The joy was replaced with fear. These dreams displayed her deepest desires, and life had taught her that those must be protected from the rest of the world. Charlie was someone who did not respect boundaries. He would not believe in the mask she chose to show him; he had some ability to see past that. He could know everything about her, if he chose to. How terrifying.
            She gasped and suddenly sat up. She wasn’t in the library room with the fireplace. She was in a garden, surrounded by flowers. Red roses, all of them.
            “What is it you want, girl?” a voice called from behind her. She turned around, but saw no one.
            “He…hello?” she called.
            “Hello!” A gremlin jumped up right in front of her. Rebekah screamed. He giggled at her fear.
            “You must be the other half,” he said to her.
            “What? What are you talking about?”
            “Everyone who comes to me has another half,” he explained. “Someone else they want to be with, or want something from. If I am ‘Love,’ there cannot be only one for me to work with. There must be at least two.”
            Rebekah was not sure she understood. “If you are ‘Love’?” she questioned. “Well are you or aren’t you?”
            He giggled again. “That is for you to find out. I have something for you, girl!” He disappeared and immediately reappeared on her other side, holding a mirror intricately engraved with roses.
            “Here you are, girl,” he held out the mirror.
            “What do you want me to do with this?” she asked him.
            “I want you to look into it,” he said. “I want you to see who you really are.”
            Rebekah looked into the mirror, but her own face did not stare back. Instead, she saw a white rose, one just like in her dream. But then the petals began to darken. Slowly a blood red color worked its way through the flower, until its pure white was overtaken. The petals began to shrivel, and Rebekah’s heart pounded in fear.
            “What is happening?” she cried.
            “That’s you, girl. That is how you view yourself. Not how the world views you. Not how you want people to see you. Simply how you see you.”
            “How do I change it?” she asked him.
            “That’s what you have to find out,” he smiled. “Good luck!” He began to dance around and around her. Rebekah grew tired as she watched him, until sleep once again took over her mind. She awoke in the library room where the fire had died low, clutching the mirror.

            Charlie was looking for them. The painted man’s posse was looking for them. The cops were looking for them. But three little children and a jaded young woman sat together in an abandoned library, telling stories. Collin regaled them with the story of how he had so bravely dived into a dumpster to rescue the watch he now wore. Lucas told stories of his imaginary trips to France. Polly was quiet, until Rebekah asked her about her doll. Her old doll with the little chipped face that Polly had so carefully carried through her rainy adventures and propped snugly against the fireplace. Why was it chipped? Rebekah wanted to know.
            Mrs. Peers had given it to her. Her name was Amelia, and she had belonged to Mrs. Peers’ grandmother. She was very old and fragile, Polly explained.
            Mrs. Peers had smiled when Polly fed the doll imaginary tea from her tea set. She had smiled when Polly read the doll bedtime stories from her children’s Bible. She had not smiled when Polly had tripped racing Lucas and Collin home one day and fell with her precious doll to the ground. She had screamed and shouted at the ungrateful girl who had destroyed the last memory of her childhood. And seeing the hurt and pain that she had caused, Mrs. Peers never let herself feel attached again. She buried her emotions and became the proper and strict governess they knew. Polly began to cry as she finished her story.
            “Oh sweetie,” Rebekah held out a hand to comfort the crying little girl. “It wasn’t your fault. It’s ok.”
            “No, it was my fault!” Polly sobbed. “I made Mrs. Peers mad, and she was never happy again. I ruined her!”
            Rebekah sat down on the floor beside Polly and wrapped her arms around her. She held her tightly for a few minutes, just letting her cry.
            “You know what?” Rebekah whispered into the girl’s ear. “I bet Mrs. Peers is very sorry she yelled at you. I bet she misses you, and wants you to come home and be with her again.”
            Polly shook her head, her face buried in Rebekah’s shoulder. She could sense Polly’s tears dripping down her arm.
            “I left someone, too.” Rebekah continued. “Because I didn’t think she liked who I was anymore.” Rebekah pulled Polly away from her body so she could look her in the eye. “But I miss her.” Her lip started trembling. “I miss my mother. I miss being able to ask her for advice. I miss curling up on the couch and watching silly movies with her. I miss hearing her sing off key while she did the dishes, and forgot anyone could hear her.
            “It’s hard to learn to live with people. But I think it’s so much harder to learn to live without them.” She sniffed and rubbed her nose on the sweater.
            “I…I don’t think I can do it.” Her lip started to quiver as she tried to control the tears. But Polly was already sobbing, and she gave Rebekah a tight squeeze.
            “It’s ok,” she whispered. “You can cry.”
            That was it. That was all the advice this 9-year-old had to give. But that was all Rebekah needed. To cry with someone.

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