The Prayer Garden

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Sitting alone on the steps in a crowded place. The gym. Hot, stuffy, too loud. Her head spins. So many people, yet, she’s still so alone. She’s sick of hearing all their joyful cheers, happy conversations; she needs to drown it out. Or she will indeed go mad.
Everyone’s backs are turned to her. She sits alone once more, the lone soul seated and silent; lost in her own world. The music pulses through her, flowing, comforting, then screaming, loud, to drown the pain. The music fills the silence left when the words won’t come; when all the things she wants to say are caught up inside and she can’t get them out. Alone, there is no one willing to listen anyway.
Then a glance toward the cold crowd she realizes she is not as alone as she imagined. A single soul, one boy, meets her eyes. His wide eyes warm, understanding, laced with words unspoken. He gives her the smallest of gifts he can, a smile, small and secret. For a moment, her heart warms; there really is someone who cares about her at all. This boy, he seemed to understand, if only for but a moment, that she hurt. That all she wanted was a single soul to listen, a single soul to care.
Then her illusion cracks, the thin pain of glass left protecting her from the chill of utter sadness broke; leaving her wrapped heavily in the cold loneliness. Maybe she had just imagined the warmth captured within his eyes, or perhaps he let her catch a glimpse of feelings supposedly gone. His back was once again turned, his lips upturned in the clownish smile they all seemed to wear. He had let his mask slip for but a moment and now it was back in place. The only protection their plastic souls had from being melted by the heat of reality.
She stood; anger pulsing through her veins, she needed an outlet. Immediately. There was no time to sit and seethe; she would erupt; all she’d turn out to be was a shower of paper hearts and vanilla flowers. She fled, down the stands, side stepping all the people, avoiding eye contact, praying no one would call for her attention. She fled, squeezing through the doors, flying across the lobby, pausing only to decide the doors were her only option. Bursting outside into the chill February air she sought refuge from her onslaught of emotion. The prayer garden sat lonely and silent, its bright flowers and cute benches covered with a blanket of snow. She brushed snow from a bench and sat quietly, looking at the muffled garden and relaxing. Letting her emotions go. She sat; her hands tucked into her pockets letting the silent prayer garden heal her hurting.
She hadn’t realized she’d let her eyes slip shut. The sound of a door closing shook her back to reality. Her hands and face where numb and her eyelashes where frozen and the snow was falling again. She looked up into the sky to see fat flakes float slowly down around her. She listened as the footsteps neared and entered the prayer garden. Only when the footsteps fell silent did she look up. There he was; the boy who’d hid his worries. The boy who must really actually care. “You look cold.” I am cold, she thought, but it’s not just the weather that causes my chill. “Can I sit with you?” he spoke softly watching her. She nodded, scooting over on the tiny bench. He sat, looking at her. “What’s wrong? You can tell me.” She stared at him, her eyes wide. What makes you want to know what’s wrong? He met her eyes, held them, and wordlessly they came to an understanding.
They sat quietly together, in a snow coated prayer garden, watching snowflakes muffle the world. He offered his hand and she took it, reveling in the warmth. He offered his shoulder and she leaned on it, loving the support. He offered her company and she accepted, glowing; happy to share a moment with a single soul. He offered her his heart and she tentatively touched it, before pushing it back to him; she would not be responsible for any damage done to it. They were happy, and both of them loved it.





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