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A Violet Lily
I saw her walk into the room at 8:34 that morning. She looked different. Her hair was disheveled. Her eyes were dark. Her face was pale, and her skin lackluster. So different from how vibrant she usually was. I was the only one who noticed. I loved her.
“Hey Vi!” I called to her from down the hallway of our High School. Smithfield High. It seems like a million years have passed since that day.
“Hi.” She said curtly.
I ran up to her, saying “You okay?”
“Yeah,” She whispered, “I’m just… Sick.”
Kids shoved past, racing to get to class before the bell. Violet walked slowly, uncaring. Like fish swimming upstream we walked to class not saying another word. She held her books to her chest, looking down at the ground and letting her hair fall in front of her startlingly gorgeous face. I’m sure the few people who looked at her in the hallway thought she looked terrible, but to me, she was beautiful. She was the epitome of perfection.
“I've got something for you.” I said, grinning and hoping to cheer her up.
“Hm?” She looked at me questioningly.
I handed her a lily. A purple one. I knew it was her favorite.
She smiled ever so slightly and whispered, “Thank you…”
We got to her classroom without another word and she didn't even respond when I said “Bye, Vi. Have fun in Biology.”
The day passed without event. Just another day. I didn't see Violet again until I noticed her waiting on the bus at 3:30. I offered her a ride home. She accepted.
We got in my truck, my old wreck of a Ranger, and I drove her to her house. I tried to talk with her, “So ya’ feeling any better?” “How’s your mom? She was in the hospital a couple of weeks ago, right?” but the most I got from her was a “Yeah,” Or “Mhm…”
I pulled into her concrete driveway and up to the small white house her father built years ago. I helped her out and carried her backpack to the door for her. She turned and a hint of a smile crossed her face but disappeared when she turned and walked inside. She whispered, “Bye Derrick,” as she went.
I walked back to my truck, worried for her but feeling that it was best that I just leave. I almost turned back when I heard a voice from inside the house yell, “Why are you so late, girl!?”
I’d known her dad since I was little. He and my mom had gone out in High school and were still friends up until a few years after I was born. He was rough. And he had some alcohol issues, but Violet never complained about it or let his sour, drunken moods bring her down. I never thought he could do what he did that night. I guess sometimes not judging a book by its cover is more harm than help.
It was 9:13. I was eating a late dinner with my mom and sister when a breaking news story came through.
“This just in: A man in Sussex County is currently in custody for the murder of his wife and daughter. Jim?”
The camera cut to a man in a suit holding a microphone and standing outside of a small, white home. I recognized it immediately.
“Yes, Laura. The man, Clarence Green, was taken into custody just a few minutes ago. We haven’t been able to-“ I didn't hear the end of his sentence as the front door slammed behind me and I ran to my truck. My tires screeched as I tore down the road toward Violet’s house.
When I got there, burning tears already lining my face, I jumped out of my truck and cried out to the nearest Paramedic, “What happened? Where is she?”
“Domestic violence, sir. I take it you knew one of them?” The paramedic put a hand on my shoulder. I pulled away.
My demeanor changed. I stopped yelling and turned my back to the man, under my breath I whispered as I slowly walked toward the house, “I knew her better than anyone.”
Sirens blared left and right as I passed their closest neighbor being interviewed by the same newscaster I saw on T.V. “I sawed em from time to time, and I sensed somethin’ strange ‘bout that man… Shoulda done somethin’ ‘bout him, I shoulda.”
I stopped halfway through the yellow and green grass blanketing the yard when I saw a gurney. The last time my eyes beheld Violet Green outside of a coffin, a paramedic slowly slid a stark white sheet past her hazel eyes, and over the top of her head. Sometimes, when I remember that night, all I can see is her eyes. They always looked so lively. They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul. For Violet, that statement was truer than any other. Whether she was sad, or angry, or elated, her eyes displayed her emotion so perfectly. Yet that night as she lay on that gurney, white as a ghost, and her eyes stared up into the night sky, almost as though she were simply stargazing, they looked empty and lifeless.
I looked upwards, straight into the same sky as my darling Violet, letting the tears roll down my cheeks. When I lowered my head again, the grief of the moment making it difficult to hold it upright, I noticed something sitting in Violet’s windowsill. Right there, resting in almost peaceful serenity lay a violet lily.