Welcome to Her Nightmare

July 5, 2010
The melancholy of a crystal heart will crack the surface but will not shatter the soul. Consumed in an everlasting sheath of despair, she goes through life silenced, always listening but never contributing. She’s just a gentle wallflower holding her own and hoping for redemption. Alone she waits for the prince who will never come, the shadow in her memory, the ghost who holds her heart. Today he lies beneath the earth resting in an eternal sleep under the scarlet rose she placed above him. As azure sprinkles fall she asks herself, “Why?” No one has an answer. Welcome to her nightmare.
She holds a picture of him close to her chest. Maybe he’ll return if she keeps dreaming and believing he shall. She knows he never will, but a wish never hurt. Except when it killed. The agony returns, and the numbness subsides. Thinking of him only intensifies the anguish, but forgetting him is not an option. She tells herself, she’ll hold onto him forever. She won’t forget anything. She won’t forget the gentle tingling of his electric touch. She won’t forget the radiant sparkle in his emerald eyes whenever he looked at her. She won’t forget the feeling of bliss whenever his sweet, innocent lips graced hers. She won’t forget the way his lip quivered when he broke down. She won’t forget how he was before he sold his soul.
Her mother beckons to her, and she snaps back into reality. She remembers he is gone, and she is only left with memories. After much time and effort she manages a fake smile. Now is not the time to worry her mother. She must go on pretending to be alive, for now. Later she shall wallow alone with the remembrance of him. With a strenuous effort she trudges down the steps into a sea of forced cheer. Hollow, she the robot awakens.
“Yes, mom?” she asks. Her mother stares at her with her frantic, anxiety tainted eyes. Her two lovely yet stressed lavender eyes.
“Rose, would you mind helping me with this?” her mother asks while gesturing towards a clump of unfolded laundry. Rose nods and gets to work. Rose had played a thousand scenarios in her head regarding the time she finally emerged from her room; she’d been wallowing in misery for quite some time in there. Still, none of the scenarios involved boxers and briefs. “Are you doing any better, Sweetie?” Rose’s mother runs her fingers through her nest of tangled, red hair. She hadn’t had the patience to fuss with the mass lately. “Of course,” Rose lied. A silence bestowed itself upon them. The only whispers heard were echoes from ruffled cloth.
The door swings open and a monster returns. Pete, the wretched “man“--if he actually qualifies as human-- who her mother calls dear, traipses into the room without a word. Rose needs to leave; she can’t stand to be within twelve feet of the filthy monster, let alone the same room. Pete is a terrible, terrible “man.” He’s an abusive, raging alcoholic. Although she’d never admit it, he’s hit Rose’s mother on more occasions than once in a drunken stupor. She wears long sleeves and sweaters to cover the bruises, plasters a half-hearted smile onto her aging face, and takes everything in the passive. Rose hears him strike her. Hears her muffled screams. Rose pulls the sheets above her head and cries herself to sleep. She knows she should help her mother, but she’s too cowardly to help herself. How could she help someone else? So, this life continues on. Her mother is abused. Her future step-dad drinks 25/8. And she, Rose, is completely and utterly alone.
Rose brushes her mid-back length, black hair to prepare for the day ahead. She stares into the mirror, stares into her own eyes. Her cold eyes, which were once so vibrant and full of life, dead, gray eyes remain. She picks up a small, black frame of him, Max--how long had it been since she’d last said his name--, and places it within her purse. Max will protect her. Rose exits the prison cell she once called home and makes her way for the park. She needs to think and the calm, serene nature of the park is always her reflecting spot of choice. It is also where she first met him on that bitter December day. There’s an eminent breeze, and Rose puts her hands in her pockets to warm up. She watches as the gentle gust carries a leaf through the air in loops and zig-zags.
“You don’t know how lucky you are,” she says to the leaf, “It’s so easy for you to disappear,” Sure enough, the wind carries the leaf away. Rose sighs and keeps going.
The park is exceptionally quiet today, and Rose greatly appreciates the silence. She walks over to her favorite spot underneath a mighty oak on the shore of the park’s one pond. I wonder how deep it is, she thinks to herself. She walks over to the edge and examines the pond further. From the dark sheen of the water Rose assumes the pond to be about ten or twelve feet deep. Perfect. She unlaces her black, high-top sneakers and takes off her blood red sweatshirt. She leans back on the tree and pushes off running towards the water. It’ll all be over soon.
“Rose!” a familiar voice calls. Rose whips her head around and trips over a twig in the process. She spits out a mouthful of dirt.
“Hi, Ella,” she says while getting up off of the ground and brushing a few specks of soil off of her jeans. Ella was Max’s younger sister. “Rose,” Ella says quietly and her voice cracks at the end of the word. She runs over and attacks Rose in a tight hug. Rose slowly wraps her arms around Ella. Rose feels a wet sensation growing on her shirt, and she is now aware Ella is crying. “The house is so empty without him. He used to always laugh and talk with everybody. Now it’s so quiet, our house is so dead without him, and I can’t even bear to look at his door. Nobody’s been in his room since they found him. I still don’t know why he’d do that to us? Why? Why? Why?” Ella vents into Rose’s chest, lightly pounding her fists. The tears Rose had been so careful to hold onto fell and fell. He killed himself because of the drugs Ella, that’s why he did that to us.
Ella wipes her drenched brown eyes. “But you know what? He always talked about how much he loved you, Rose.” Rose is stunned as she ceases her tears; Max had never said the three words to her; she had been longing for a simple I love you for nearly an eternity, and now the sister of her ghost lover had told her the words he never had the courage to speak.
“Really?” is all she can manage. Ella tears away from Rose and nods. “He never told me.”
“He talked about you all the time. How he wanted to marry you and live happily ever after,” Ella says regaining her usual composure. All Rose can do is smile, genuinely smile. Not the broken smile façade she puts on for her mother’s benefit, a true blue smile. How long had it been since she’d last flexed her muscles into the joyous shape? Far too long. Ella couldn’t help smiling either. That’s what happened whenever Rose smiled, she lit up the world.
Ella and Rose part ways and Rose can’t stop smiling. He loved her, he truly loved her. Although Rose will never have her missing half, she is happy to know he died in love with her. She feels like she is on top of the world. Rose has to go show her mother how she has regained some happiness. Off she goes sprinting down the street towards her quaint, little house.
When she arrives, Rose finds a sight more horrible than death. Her mother is lying on the floor helpless with a face colored as a blueberry. Slices and scratches make terrifying patterns all over her body and there is too much red in the room to handle. The monster was cornering her, whiskey bottle in hand and a broken bottle at his feet.
“Get up Janice!” he screams. Her body gives no response. No. He starts shaking her violently. “Janice! Janice! Janice!”
“Let go of her!” Rose yells as she runs over to the monster. She shoves with all of her might and manages to send him tumbling away from her mother. “Mom! Mom! Wake up!” The accursed drops stream down her face as Rose stares at her battered mother. An eyelid trembles open and a lavender orb is revealed. “Mom,” she gasps. Pete grunts from behind and charges towards Rose. In a panic, Rose grabs a purple, deformed vase she made for her mother in the first grade. Just as the monster pounces, Rose jumps up and shatters the vase on his skull. He falls to the ground, and then and eerie silence creeps over the house.
Rose gains the courage to check on Pete. He has a pulse; he is breathing. The monster lives unconsciously. Rose rushes back over to her dying mother. A single tear splashes into a gash of red. Her mother’s breathing is off, and she’s losing blood fast. Shards or red glass occupy every part of her body. Her bruised face swells.
“Thank you,” Rose’s mother says simply before fading into unconsciousness. Rose runs for the phone and dials 911. Her voice breaks on the phone as she frantically tells a woman of the horrifying scene.
A siren, a wale, red and blue lights, and a few solemn men in uniform save her mother. They place her on a stretcher and wheel her over to an ambulance. Rose squeezes her mother’s hand with no intention of ever letting go. Behind them, paramedics and a police officer walk out with Pete who has now awaken. A clay vase to the head never killed anyone. Rose glares at the monster, but her expression softens when she sees something complete out of character: the monster is crying. The police officer cuffs Pete and recites the famous rights speech as he guides Pete into the back of a cruiser. Pete pokes his head out. “I love you Janice!” he yells through tears. The paramedics hoist Rose’s mother into the ambulance, Rose hops in with her. The ambulance speeds away and Rose can’t help staring at the monster as he cries in the back of the cruiser. He is alone as she once was.

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