Posted in Comics/ Books, Quiet Stories

Imprisoned in the Meadow (Short Story)

The lush green grass playfully tickles my bare feet.

The sweet scent of pollen and innocence of summer days seeps into my nostrils, tantalising my senses. I sit cross legged, my back resting comfortably against my dearest friend, the old willow tree. He greets me warmly, waving his ancient limbs in the gentle breeze. The breeze grazes my cheek playfully, the whisper of a touch. The cicada masses chirp their mating call in a symphony of sound and life. Yet our spot remains peaceful never the less. The ability to leave a person with such a carefree peacefulness, as if all your worries were eternally distant, a rare quality summer never felt the need to share with the other seasons. The sun above is an ocean of blue brilliance, the clouds taking their time as they stroll across the heavens. The warmth the sun blankets me in is pleasant, comforting. I open a basket and take out an ice block. I take a bite. An icy tingle shoots through my teeth. The taste of winter during the hottest part of the year was a concept that I always found humorous. They don’t want me to come and see you anymore Mum. They say it’s not good for me. But I can’t stop seeing you Mum. I can’t.

I’m back at our spot. Summer’s departure and autumn’s presence is clear. The smell of death is in the air. But not the foul decrepit smell of someone killed tragically before their time. More like that of an old friend peacefully passing into the beyond, after a long lived and fulfilling life. The willow tree’s limbs always droop this time of year, as he goes through the process of shedding his leaves. Many have fallen but some still cling desperately on to his branches. Each leaf a splinter of the tree’s life, and a memory the tree shared with me and Mum over the previous year. The leaves lay in clusters around me and under me. I lay within one of the many piles, each one a collage of crimsons, browns and golds. I let the pile swallow me as I sink lower. I feel a sense of safeness within the leaves like nothing can hurt me. The leaves remind me of your arms. Nothing could touch me when I was in your arms. I haven’t been happy for a while now Mum. Why does every aspect of my life leave me with such an empty bleakness? They are becoming anxious. They have called in men who reek of judgement and loosely veil the illusion that they possess empathy. They say they are trying to keep me safe. Why don’t they understand that the safest place for me is with you? I feel the crinkle of leaves between my fingers as I clench my fists. I hear them crunch and smile. Do you remember when we played in the leaves, I haven’t laughed like I did then in a long time. My smile fades.

It’s hard to recognise our spot at this time of year. It has covered up in its winter coat of white and mourns just as I do. The old willow always sinks into depression around this time. I try convincing him that he will once more bud with life. That even though all he sees now is darkness and misfortune, the spring will come, and he will be able to see the light. I tried to convince you of the same thing Mum. You had trouble believing me too. But you weren’t as strong as the old willow.  The snow that carpets the landscape remembers all who pass through it. Foot prints and forgotten snow men. Tattoos upon the snows flesh. As far as the eye can see is white, until it meets the horizon of course. I used to revel in the unexplainable beauty of this winter paradise, but those thoughts are tarnished by other memories of this time of year. The wind hits me hard in the back. The wind is rougher, more aggressive than it is in the summer. Its touch is icy. I always feel hurt when the wind treats me this way. I never understand what I’ve done wrong. Something small and wet drops onto my forehead. I look up and am greeted by the first drops of rain from an oncoming shower. A gang of stormy faced clouds had snuck up upon me.   I stick out my tongue. The droplets of water taste cool, refreshing, relaxing. I miss you mum, why aren’t you here with me. I close my eyes and listen to the delicate pitter patter of rain falling.

 

Spring has returned at last. The return of warmth, the return of life. Young animals are brought into the world and the flowers awake from their slumber and finally begin to blossom, their scent sweet and strong. The sound of life is everywhere. It fills my ear drums, and I smile as two blue birds sing to each other. Delicate creatures announcing their passionate love for one another, the lifelong bond they now share. The scent of the old willow joyfully budding once again fills my nostrils. I lie on my stomach, feeling the soft grass upon my cheek. Remnants of the morning dew still on each individual blade. Meanwhile the sun begins to warm my bare back. Its heat a precursor of what is to come. A sign that summer will soon return. This was our spot Mum. You were smiling in the meadow in the summer. You changed in the autumn, I never saw you smile after that. You died in the winter. You never saw the spring. I don’t blame you for what you did. I’m ashamed I didn’t try harder to make you happy. We came to our spot in the meadow every week, I still do. Are you here with me now? I hope you are. This is our spot, it always will be. I miss you, Mum.

And although my body remains, I died with you

I’m desperately trying to cling on to the last whisper of sanity I possess. But I only have the strength to do it when I’m here with you.

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