Story by [Linderel].
She was a wildflower; beautiful, fragile, impossible to control.
As children, we used to sit together on the meadow behind our home, shadowed by hills and lighted by the high noon sun. Among delicate flowers, grass and saplings we ruled our own world where there were no rules, no conflicts, no grief. The butterflies were our loyal subjects, our powers limitless.
Our father, dead since our ninth summer, would never have borne the foolishness. The town was a small, sleepy one, but set in its habits and held together by the iron will of the men. Rules were strict, children all but forbidden from idle play and especially from going outside the town alone. Still our mother never punished us, and perhaps we brought her shame, but it didn't seem to matter when we could run free to our hearts' content.
I used to hold her hand back then, and lie beside her or rest my head in her lap as she carded her fingers through my wind-mussed hair. Her skin smelt of fresh water and daisies, or so I liked to imagine. We would speak nonsense, letting go of all our worries and vexations, and chase each other to the hills and back before returning late in the night, blushed and with wide smiles meant only for ourselves.
Summers never lasted long enough, but we took solace in knowing the next year would still come. Upon sloppily braided hair and clumsy wildflower wreaths we promised to stay together for eternity, and there was never a time it wasn't meant. Despite this I grew to see I could not keep her forever; she was always the wilder one, and whatever feelings there were, she would not be held by them if she could not thrive.
If only had either of us known she could not thrive without my presence to balance her as only I could. Perhaps things would have ended differently.
The last time I saw her was by our mother's deathbed, pale and scared and lost. She told me she had searched her heart and reached a resolve. Gripping the lax, bony hand beside hers upon the covers she pleaded with me to leave. Winter was upon our door, the cottage freezing, and no other soul there to help her.
Yet I never could deny her anything.
Five years later, I heard of her passing. It might have been an accident, but I still remember that purse of little black seeds on her nightstand, lying there innocently as she swore to me to use them if she ever found herself needing me. Something made her fall on that cliff.
The meadow has been taken over by trees now, the tiny saplings grown to reach the blue sky. Only little strips here and there still hold ghosts of our presence: a mound of rocks, now hidden under a low-hanging branch; the remnants of a tiny bridge built over the stream; memories, memories, memories, images playing over in my mind.
A carved box of ashes is what remains of her now; her body had been burned before my arrival, the container left to sit on her bed. No one greeted me as I came, for no words were needed and the people have a long memory. Perhaps we both are still shamed in their eyes. It matters little to me. I've only come to let her run in the meadow again. Her ashes are snatched up by the wind, blown towards the hills, and I must chase her one last time.
She was a wildflower, and this was where she belonged.
Return to the Blessings of the muse?