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A Hushed Secret
A girl of sixteen stooped down to pick up a fallen flower. Cradling the fragile object in her small palms, she examined it. Vibrant shades of blues and violets and reds swirled together to become one final beautiful piece of art. She stared at it longingly. The beauty of it was astounding and unlike anything else she had ever witnessed, yet, it still had flaws like everything else. She spotted a small tear in the upper corner of a petal. Any bigger and the flower could be considered a ruined beauty. Another petal was withered slightly.
She sighed and brushed away her vibrant red hair, tucking the item safely away behind her ear. The bridge lay just up ahead, and she continued on towards it.
Out in these woods, she finally felt a sense of belonging, like she was part of a secret world where only she could enter. The strong earthly smells made a fire inside of her ignite. Just gently brushing the soft bark on the trees as she strolled passed them sent a hum to her fingertips and a luster to her green eyes. She felt safe, protected, away from the outside world full of hurt and betrayal and suffering. This, it seemed, was her only way of escapism from reality.
The amount of time spent here was never adequate, of course. Before long dusk would begin to settle in, and she would be forced to head back into that world full of judging eyes. For now, however, this was enough.
Her boots gently scraped against the fading wood as she walked to the center of the bridge. Gently folding her arms across the railing, she leaned over. A distorted reflection of herself stared back at her from the icy blue-gray waters. The features that stuck out the most were her hair and eyes, the two things she considered her best and only good features. The others were distorted, but she could still make them out from memory: the nose just slightly too big and bulb-like; she faded freckles; the too full of lips.
All her life, the one thing she had wished for was to be a flawlessly beautiful figure, the kind that stopped boys in their tracks to gawk in wonder, mouths hanging partially open while the girls would look on longingly with a jealous gleam in their eye that only you could see. Why couldn’t she have that? Be that perfect porcelain of a girl?
Why didn’t anyone call her beautiful? For, really, that was all she wanted. It didn’t really matter who it came from; a boy, a friend, a parent, as long as she heard those tiny three words that held so much power: “You are beautiful.” Did anyone see her in that way? A thing of beauty? Did even God think that?
Thoughts like these troubled her. They were one of the many reasons why she came here to escape those prying eyes of other people. And yet, even though she couldn’t see them, they still haunted her, following her wherever she went like a translucent ghost.
Angrily she tore the flower out from behind her ear and threw it out into the river. It remained suspended in the air for a few seconds before falling softly into her blurred reflection. Tiny ripples cascaded from its mark on the water, and slowly it drifted down the stream until it was no longer in sight.
Her mood had turned sour again, as much as she hated to admit to it. She rested her cheek in the palm of her hand, mouth set in a grim, hard line.
Moments later she heard a sound, something like a whisper-thin voice.
She stood up a little straighter. There it was again. A feather-like breeze wafted past her, ruffling her hair a little and making it tickle her cheek. That was when she knew she had heard it correctly. Being carried along the air current was a delicate murmur, calling her name. A visible shiver passed through her as she looked around. Surely she had to be alone?
Little feathered and flapping wings suddenly flew into her line of vision, coming just inches from hitting her in the face. She stifled a gasp. A tiny blue bird landed precariously close to the edge of the bridge railing. Something dropped from its mouth and then it was off again, leaving her to stare with stunned eyes at the object.
It was the flower.
Her hand trembled slightly as she picked it back up. The tiny tear in the corner had spread, nearly splitting the petal in half. It was soggy and wet; she feared it would crumble apart in her fingers if she wasn't careful. Yet . . . the beauty was still there, almost hidden away like a hushed secret. The vivid and unusual colors stuck out, allowing the flower to still shine in its own unique way. Its lovely flowery smell remained as well.
As dusk began to settle in, the girl made the short journey back to her home, cradling the fragile blossom in her hand. When she stepped through the small foyer and turned on the light, she found the house to be empty. At the kitchen table sat a note with hurried, scribbled writing. She set her little treasure down and picked up the note. It read:
Conflicts at work have caused me to leave for the evening. I should be home sometime around 11 or 12. Don't wait up for me. There are leftovers in the fridge that you can have for supper. Just please dont leave it heating on the stove, forgotten and turning into charcoal. The first time the fire department had to come out was embarrassing enough. Be safe.
I will see you in the morning, my beautiful angel.
She tucked the note to her chest, a faint smile touching her lips.