Wilted Daisy

April 6, 2017

I'm the one that whisked her away. But no one knows that. I watch as she starts crying, begging to go back home. But it's too late. I snatched her away when no one was looking and now there's no going back.

She's two years old, sitting at the base of the wooden stairs, playing with her brightly colored ABC blocks. Her favorite stuffed animal, a gray elephant named Daisy, patiently watches her from an upright position, meticulously placed by the girl's caring mother. The toddler looks up, overcome by boredom. She takes two crawls to her left and greets her golden retriever puppy with a few quick taps on the back. The dog looks up, continuing his duty as the baby's watch dog. The girl’s smile illuminates the room as the rest of the world spirals around her.

At age five, two rows of white teeth sparkle under the sunlight as her light body bounces on the outdoor trampoline. Her parents' strict supervision keeps her safe, her precious life guarded by the loving caretakers. However, as time passes, the sky changes, and clouds start to form, blocking the blue sky from the oblivious child. The parents rush the girl back into the house as rain droplets mottle the town.

She celebrates her seventh birthday in first grade as her closest friends watch her blow out the brightly glowing candles. Waitresses visit the table with ice cream and the whole restaurant claps at the small celebration. Balloons that lost their owners float towards the ceiling, and the sound of laughter twinkles in the moment. The worry-free girl doesn't understand why her parents frown at the bill. All she can do is count down the minutes until her latent presents become manifest.

She turns double digits on the day her grandfather passes away. Mournful sighs replace birthday greetings. The frustrated girl weeps not for the passing of her relative but for the absence of birthday cheer. The world that spiraled around her changes its course. Daisy the elephant reappears, now a much dirtier gray than it once was, and this finding takes her out of her melancholy state for a moment. Her wet cheeks dry as she reminisces about her times with Daisy, followed by memories of her golden retriever. This brings back memories of being at the vet, realizing for the first time that the best things in life don’t stay forever. The tears trail out again in an endless path, drowning the girl with sorrow.

At thirteen, time stops. Each day is a foggy path, obstacles in every way. The girl thinks that staying in place is the safest decision. But that's where I come in. I send in the monsters that make her run aimlessly and realize the evil in the world. I let her see every soul's malevolent plan, and I create a heartless void that fills her. I'm the one that made her this way, just like I did to everyone else. She runs haphazardly, just to return to where she started. Each time she blinks, a moment flutters away like a butterfly flying back home. And by the time she realizes all of this, it's too late. Whisked away by me, she continues her life under my control. Her once kind heart now bruised, clenching tight every time she smiles. I stole her dreams. I stole her innocence. I stole her childhood. All I left in its place was reality. It had always been there, simply sugar coated by dreams and innocence. Each struggle, melting away one layer of sugar coating and revealing the core, the same way a candy's outer shell eventually dissolves. I take each of the dreams away, replacing their absence with obstacles.

However, unlike a jawbreaker or a lollipop, the girl can begin to grow after her sugar coating disappears. She can surround her core with knowledge and wisdom. Her core can expand as each obstacle becomes an accomplishment.

I took the sugar coated dreams away, because I had no other choice. Would you rather be trapped within your sugar coating, oblivious and struggling to escape? Like a chick leaving its egg, you become too immense to stay protected. I was simply the catalyst, the one to crack her shell and set her free. My name is reality and you can't get past me.

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