By Brittany Collins
Streams of salt water flowed down her face—a cooling contrast to her flushed cheeks. Her knobby knees were reminiscent of the fetal position as her body lay over them, folded into the wooden floor.
Her mind was strong, but her body had cracked. Tears a foreign concept, she swiped the liquid diamonds across her mascara-stained pores, making warrior lines with her fingertips.
Her hands curled into fists—their natural state. The limp toile of her torn skirt created a sea of cotton-candy fabric.
Her life whirled through her head, but nothing stood out. She couldn’t bear to remember her past; recollection made her hungry for innocence. She blockaded her memory, creating an impermeable wall through which she could not break. Snapshots of her life entered her head, but her mind shut them down before they came to fruition.
She reached, unsuccessfully, for the shards of a champagne glass that lay near her head. She felt remarkably connected to the remains, her quivering fingertips longing to salvage what would become trash.
As dusty beams of sunlight began to dance with the night’s darkness, they revealed the purple bruises that tattooed his presence upon her body. She gasped for air as she remembered his cold grip and the twisted smile he had worn when he whispered “I love you.” Those deadly words had violated the fairytales she longed to believe in.
Focused exertion allowed her eyes to scan the room; the sight of a flowerpot gave her pause. A single daisy sprouted from the pot. She remembered planting it. Its isolation saddened her; she longed for a garden. One day, she would plant a garden of her own. She would save the daisy—immerse it in a field of blossoms. One day.
Without recognition, her daydream had moved her painful body across the room. Her knees skinned the floor as she thrust herself forward, clutching onto the flowerpot. It was hers. For once, she had something to save.
Waves of guilty excitement coursed through her veins—a pulsation that made her feel alive. Reborn. With less exertion, she saw her room for the first time. The creaky floors, the grand piano, a stack of dusty books, a broken picture frame with his face inside—all seemed new. She observed.
Feeling foreign in her home, she longed to breathe. She craved oxygen, space, and room to exist. Claustrophobia consumed her. Numb to her physical state, she took the flowerpot and left. She pushed through the door, without pausing to close it. Ignoring the worried stares of passersby, she streamed through the building, onto the concrete, and into the field.
Her sturdy feet penetrated the ground as she ran into the woods, arms outstretched. She ached, but as the sun kissed her tie-dyed skin, she felt something as strange as her tears: freedom.