Overgrown Anxieties

April 1, 2018
By thehazeltree BRONZE, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
thehazeltree BRONZE, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
4 articles 0 photos 0 comments

There are six succulents on my window sill, each in their own spherical, glass holder. I got them last spring in an attempt to seem artsy, but all I’ve done is neglect them. They thrive in the sunlight, though the one on the end is cursed to live in perpetual shadow cast by the Venetian blind. Sometimes I water them, and I’ve replanted them in fresh soil, but their roots never seem to catch and they are forever shrunken.
Lately, when I’ve tried to fall asleep, I cannot. This is a common affliction for many, but for me it has never been an issue. I’m tired until I lay still, and then my heart begins to beat frantically. It beats so quickly that the constant flutters keep me queasy and awake, crushing my chest. At these times, when my heart rate is the highest it has ever been, I believe I can hear my succulents scooting around.
I imagine scraping, faintly sloshing water, the fluttering of the blind slats. When I look, the succulents are always in their perfectly situated straight line. Occasionally they are out of order, but I put that down to my forgetfulness. I tell myself I’m acting crazy. They have no minds of their own, and if they do, they’re nothing like human minds. They cannot move themselves around. Still, these odd sounds plague me.
Tonight is different. When I toss in my bed, and close my eyes, I can hear tinkling, as if someone were flicking their fingernails against the glass containers. My body twitches as something foreign touches my left foot. I don’t want to look down, afraid to see something crawling, cool and smooth, through the gaps between my toes.
I lift myself onto my elbows, eyes opening. I am shocked to see green vines there, slowly reaching up my shin like blind fingers. I yell and lash out with my leg, but I’ve waited too long. I thrash as a hundred vines, pale green, rise around my mattress. I hit them away, clawing at them, but I only manage to get fragments of leaves beneath my fingernails. The vines are wrapping around my limbs, pulling me down to the bed, holding me there.
I crane my neck to my windowsill. The Venetian blind is completely overgrown with plants. My eyes drop to the succulents, all neatly lined up. The holders are tipped on their sides, thick green stems growing out of them. Each is like a human leg and seething as if they were breathing.
Stems wrap around my neck, unfurling like ferns around my ears, leaves budding in my mouth and nose. I am slowly being suffocated. I am bound down, and all around me roots and stems and leaves are crawling over themselves like nets. How could my succulents, so sweet and harmless, grow into something so destructive? I’ve only ever put them from my mind, and now, when I am my most vulnerable, they are taking over.
I can no longer see my window. The vines are thick across the walls, and my body is slowly being consumed into a jungle of leaves and twisted blooms. All of the discerning features of my life are being overgrown by these plants. The moment I can no longer so much as wiggle a finger, the vines weave across my vision, leaving me in darkness.


The author's comments:

In this piece I was trying to convey what it feels like to be overtaken by anxiety in a creative, metaphorical way.


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