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Magnolias in Autumn
It’s autumn once more. The breeze is filled with a fresh crispness that clings to any living thing it can find, almost as if it were endlessly searching for the warmth that left along with summer just a few weeks ago. Most of the leaves are starting to get their fall colors; all of which will someday reach their prime and fall onto the cool damp earth. The magnolia trees that surround an antique white house have begun to bloom once more before being wiped out by the winter cold. The garden that they inhabit seems to have a kind of eerie quiet to it, the kind of quiet that ensues only when one feels extremely tedious. Time seems to be still, but then again it doesn’t seem like there was ever time to begin with.
The only sign of life stirring anywhere is a young girl wearing a pure white dress. This girl has a sort of misty look to her eyes, as if she hasn’t ever truly seen the world in its entirety. The wind begins to blow against her with its icy breath, but still she doesn’t move. She simply sits for what easily could’ve been an eternity staring at the magnolias in bloom. The girl is unable to remember anything about her past or even about the present, but somehow gazing at the magnolias gives her a feeling she can’t describe. It could’ve easily just have been such a charming sight that it calmed the girl, but the feelings she felt deep inside her were more than that.
She felt as though a whole sea of a emotion came crashing down on her whenever she caught sight of the magnolias in bloom, yet she could never truly understand why. Sometimes, if she stared at the magnolias long enough she would suddenly erupt into tears, yet she still couldn’t bring herself to tear away from the mere sight of them. Every once in awhile, the girl would even think that she could hear someone call out to her, yet she could never quite make out the words spoken. Suddenly, the girl caught sight of something that she hadn’t seen in a long time.
The fence that surrounded the garden the girl inhabited started to creak and slowly open. A tall man dressed in black started to slowly walk across a paved road that ran towards the pure white house with his head bowed down. Suddenly he stopped in his tracks. He slowly raised his head and looked into the young girl’s direction. The girl looked back at him and stared, for he was the first person she had seen for as long as she could possibly remember. Breaking the silence, the man began to speak in an almost sympathetic manner,
“What are you doing out here alone?” he asked. Though frightened, the young girl tried her best to answer back, but the words refused to leave her mouth. Seeing as she was at a loss for words, the girl lost all hope of ever trying to answer the newcomer and she started to gaze upon the magnolia trees once again. The man quickly noticed this, and suddenly turned his gaze towards the magnolia trees as well. “Were you looking at the magnolias in this garden?” the man asked trying to get her attention once more. The young girl looked back at him and slowly blinked her eyes as if to try to answer yes. The newcomer was baffled for a moment, but he gradually understood.
“Beautiful aren’t they,” he commented, “magnolias are some of the most perseverant things on this earth. They bloom multiple times throughout the entire year, and when their time is about up they lose all their petals and drop to the ground so that they can spread their many seeds all over the earth. Then next year when the trees start to bloom again there are hundreds more magnolia trees than the last,” said the man drawing one last breath. The young girl simply stared back at the mysterious newcomer silently afterwards, though it looked like she understood what she was being told.
“Well, I better be going,” the man said tipping his hat, “I hope that when next we meet we’re both better off,” said the man before walking down the paved road towards the white house. The girl stared at the man once again wondering what business he could possibly have in place like the one she was in. Finally, the man reached the doorstep of the house and opened the door while shouting something that the girl couldn’t quite make out before closing the front door shut. After a couple of moments the young girl turned away towards the magnolias once more. She looked at them for what may have been an eternity, or maybe even more when suddenly something caught her attention.
There were loud shouts coming from the direction of the white house and they were gradually becoming louder and louder. Suddenly two figures appeared at the front porch. They slowly drew closer and closer until the young girl could finally make them out. The first figure was that of the man whom the young girl had just met, and next to him clutching onto his arm was a poorly looking woman who looked to be about thirty-five. This woman had long, flowing, dark hair that covered most of her features as she lay screaming and crying. The two continued to move towards the young girl until they were only about a few feet from her.
“This has to stop now! This has been going on for far too long!” the man shouted.
“I don’t know what you're talking about!” the woman replied through long sobs. The young girl, though frightened, looked on indifferently at the two people in front of her.
“That’s exactly what’s wrong! How long are you going to rot away in that house before you accept reality! This girl sits here day after day just staring at the flowers trying to remember what happened to her while you waste yourself away trying to forget about what happened.”
“What am I supposed to remember,” she cried, “and what exactly does that girl mean to me anyways!” she shouted suddenly becoming more and more upset.
“Everything!” the man shouted as he slowly released his grip on the woman’s arm, “everything…” he said, slowly bringing down his voice to almost a whisper. With this the woman was silent, and her body began to rest. “She means everything to you because she’s your daughter.” he said pointing his finger at the young girl. With this the girl’s eyes grew wide. Suddenly, the magnolias started to slowly shrivel up and turn dirt brown. One by one they all started to fall to the ground. However, all of this went unnoticed for suddenly memory after memory came rushing back to the girl. The woman she had just met was indeed her mother, and she had been with her as long as she could remember. The girl’s father had died when she was very young, and she never was able to figure out how it happened because the subject pained her mother so. Because of this, her mother held her closer than ever before and they became inseparable. However, their happy days soon came to an end, for because of an accident the girl ended up losing all her memories. Her mother was unable to take the pain of her own child forgetting her, so she locked herself up in the house and managed to convince herself that she never had a child in the first place. The girl spent some time in the hospital, but she ended up recovering from her amnesia as it was only temporary. Unfortunately, by the time she came home her mother had already forgotten everything about her. Crushed, the young girl ran outside the house and cried for many long hours by the magnolia trees. After she could cry no more she caught sight of the magnolias in full bloom. Something about the sight entranced her, and the more she looked at them the more she felt her pain lift. So, for many long weeks she did nothing but stare at the magnolias, and in the process she locked away her own memories so that she would never feel pain again.
Suddenly the girl was brought back to reality, as she saw her mother stumbling back towards the house. The girl tried to say something and opened her mouth to do so, but the words just wouldn’t come out. While the girl was looking back at her past it was decided that she would be taken away from the house filled with magnolias. Her mother never truly came back to her senses, but she still agreed that the girl should be taken care of elsewhere. The stranger who had come to visit was nowhere to be seen, and once again the girl was all alone. The reality of her situation was too much for her and she burst into hysterical crying. When she had finally ran out of tears to shed she looked up at the magnolia trees that had just died unbeknownst to her, a few hours ago. Somehow the flowers had actually bloomed once more, and looked as if they had never died in the first place. Suddenly the girl became quiet again, and she became entranced by the sight before her. Slowly, she once again trapped her memories deep inside her, and then gazed at the magnolias once more for many long hours. Everything in the garden became still once more. No living creature stirred. The cold breeze suddenly grasped the girl once again. It is autumn once more.