Mary, Mary, quite contrary

October 6, 2010
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Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

Squeezing her eyes shut Mary flinched, cringing from something that wasn’t even there. Her heart beat raced as if she ran a six hundred meter race and her hair, drenched in sweat, clung in clumps to her oily scalp. Breathing rapidly she backed up against the brick wall, hoping its stability might hold her up too. The light wind that brushed passed chilled her to the bone.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.

Mary’s stomach clenched as memories surrounded her.
“Oh please not again…” she pleaded mentally.
Pushing herself off the wall she tried to run, desperate to escape but you cannot run from memories. Etched into her mind and gnawing at her subconscious – she could only endure.
Lifting her dirt covered hands she hid her face. She didn’t want to hear, she didn’t want to see.
“Mary, Mary, its not there, nothings there,” she repeated to herself until finally slowing down to a walk. Her arms collapsing to her sides she trudged forward, her face masked with smudged dirt.

Depleted, Mary gave in to the unwanted and taunting memories: her twin brother leaving her with Mother, everyday coming to a home that smelled of alcohol and filled with people who did unnerving things, being bullied as a child as she was considered a freak, marrying a man who used and abused her and giving up on herself, on her own life. Mary resented him, her brother, he who left her and managed to get away. In a way she was jealous but it was too late for that.
Her husband would be looking for her by now, she knew and feared it. She remembered how every night he used to sing her that lullaby, whispering it into her ear. At first she thought he was kind and loving, that his beautiful voice was filled with affection for her but as time passed she recognized his words for what they really were.
She researched that nursery rhyme, her curiosity getting the better of her. To tell the truth, she didn’t like what she found.

The rhyme referred to Mary, Queen of Scots: ‘garden grow’ associated to her rule over her land, ‘silver bells’ related to catholic bells and ‘cockle shells’ implying that her husband was disloyal.

Another description was of Mary I of England: ‘how does your garden grow’ ridiculed her inability to give birth to any heirs and ‘pretty maids all in a row’ indicating to her miscarriages or her execution. ‘Silver bells and cockle shells’ were probably tools used to afflict pain.
Mary was shattered with grief when she first learnt of this.

Was her husband mocking her failure to have children, which he knew that she wanted so badly? Or was he really being unfaithful to her? Did he lay every other night with another woman in his arms?

With this knowledge Mary was unable to allow her husband to touch her without recoiling or look at him without shying away. Tears filled her eyes as she remembered how his breath felt against her ear when he whispered to her that rhyme as if it was in some way a declaration of his own love. She screamed in agony, though unphysical, and sank to the ground.

Pounding upon the pavement, Mary lost sense of her surroundings. She didn’t see the people walking by and staring scornfully at her, she didn’t see the parents dragging their children away from a mad woman – all she saw was how loving and devoted she was to her husband for all those years! All the blood and sweat she put into their marriage, even when he beat and abused her. That was durable, but the thought of him touching another woman’s skin and breasts before touching her own, of his lips kissing another’s and afterwards still dare to kiss hers –that was unbearable. Just the thought of it made her gag and a few times she threw up in disgust. She felt dirty, like a prostitute. Used, thrown aside and then used again.
Mary, Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.
“NO!” she screamed, this time allowed - willing those horrid words away from her. Suddenly she was aware of a presence behind her. It was a policeman, clearly new at his job, he stared at Mary with wariness in his eyes. A young woman, dressed in proper clothes but covered in dirt and screaming like some sort of maniac.

“Excuse me miss…”

Mary looked up at the man who meant nothing to her and collapsed out cold onto the pavement. Many said that the policeman frightened her, hit her even but in truth Mary could no longer handle the continuous agony that filled her. She has given up on herself, she fell and refused to stand up. It was not a sad day when she left the world. In truth her husband hadn’t been looking for her at all. He already left her a note that he was leaving and never coming back. Mary’s parents were dead and her twin brother was gone. Policemen searched in vain for someone who knew the mad woman but no one came. The young policeman, who found her, felt guilty about her death but had soon forgotten it. No one shed a tear for the woman who was shown nothing but hatred and hardship in the world.
No one cared because in truth…there are many Mary’s out there.

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This article has 7 comments. Post your own now!

TuffGurl said...
Oct. 13, 2010 at 2:25 pm
CuteAsIce!!!!! I didn't know this was your work until I saw your comment and now I'm really excited because I LOVE your pieces. This is SO good!!! And I loved how you ended it and all... and I'm glad Mary is (hopefully) in a better place where these horrible memories won't haunt her. But you did really good! You sucked me in and I was always so nervous when there were gaps that it was the end, but then I would be relieved that it wasn't the end. This is really good and please keep writing ANYTHI... (more »)
CuteAsIce replied...
Oct. 14, 2010 at 9:32 am
haha ;) of course i'll keep writing, most of my pieces are just still pending. Thanks alot for the support!!! :P
TuffGurl replied...
Oct. 14, 2010 at 3:09 pm
Thanks for thinking that way... I bet I looked like a stalker. :p but your work is really good, and you're welcome for the support!
CuteAsIce said...
Oct. 8, 2010 at 7:29 am
Sorry!!! i dunno why the story has so many big gaps between it like that!!!!! :(
Amiee said...
Oct. 8, 2010 at 2:15 am

... that was scary but good

you made it sound very alive and dramatic it made me sink into the story, not a lot of stories lure me into doing that. i liked the ending, the conclusion, and especially the last line ^^

CuteAsIce replied...
Oct. 8, 2010 at 7:28 am
thanks ;) i felt like trying something new....
SARCASM said...
Oct. 7, 2010 at 9:44 pm
That was really good and kind of depressing.
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