Broken Magnolias| Obvious Secrets and Unexpected Meetings

She screams at me, and doesn’t believe me at first.  She walks around telling me that I could get in serious trouble saying things like that.  I shout back, and show her the bruises.  It’s hard watching her eyes go wide.  I can barely keep from sobbing as I hear her gasp and examine the bruises.  I’m so afraid of the rejection.  She looks up at me, and I can’t look at her. My eyes are shut too tight, but she tells me to look at her.  I’ve never seen my mother so horrified.

My mom and I sit down at the table.  My sister crawling back into my lap once I had sat down.  I tell her everything.  How he followed me from the mill and how he held me down, and told me not to say anything.  I tell her how I almost didn’t say anything, because I was afraid.  She has tears in her eyes as she looks at me.  She cups my chin, and pulls my face up to meet her eyes. She tells me that everything is going to be okay.  When she tells me that she’ll never let him or anyone else hurt me again I break down and cry. There’s nothing she can do to stop the whispers and insults that will come.  My sister mumbles in annoyance as my hands cover my face.  She’s tired of being ignored.  My mom wraps her arms around us both, and tells me once again it’s all going to be okay.  All the same I’m afraid.

I walk out of my house. The whole town is gathered in the village circle.  Well-wishers and family.  People I had known my whole life. He’s even there.  My mother comes over and gives me kiss on the cheek, and I can see the tears in her eyes, and I almost can’t stand it. I look at the boy who pulled me behind the pub.  He smirks at me, and blows me a kiss.  I frown and turn away quickly. It’s time for me to go.  I say goodbye to my mother with one last kiss, and whisper “I’m sorry” before I turn to go.  I leave the square with my mom crying softly behind me.

I walk into the grove. I’m nervous, and I can’t believe it’s such a beautiful day. I wish it would rain.  I’m in such deep thought I almost trip over a moss-covered root.  The leaves dapple the ground with shadows, and the summer breeze sweetens the air with the scent of flowers.  I get to a clearing, and I stand unsure of what I’m supposed to do now.  I stand there waiting for a moment.  I look around, and I try to figure out my future.  I eventually sit down on the forest floor as I chew on my lip trying to hold the tears back. I can only think of how the villagers will look at me, and whisper behind my back. The way my father will lose respect amongst his friends, how my brother will be made fun of. I can’t hold the tears back any longer when I think of becoming an old maid.  Unloved and unwanted. This is not the way it was supposed to happen!

I wait and my heart fills with despair. I know that the unicorn is not coming, but I’m frightened. I begin getting angry and start talking to my self. I can’t go back to my village without that flower!  I sit there with the tears falling on the dress my mother made.   It’s hard to believe that something so small as a flower can brand you as impure.  I cry at the unfairness, and the distress it’s going to cause when I don’t come back.  I rise to leave. I’m not sure what’s on the other side of the enchanted forest, but it has to be better then going back without the flower. If a wild animal overtakes me then at least my family won’t suffer. Maybe I can live in the woods.

I rise and turn from the clearing my heart breaking with each step I take. I look back at the clearing one last time and stop. On the wind I hear something. It sounds like the beating of horse hooves upon the grass. I see a flash of white through the trees and my heart stops.  I can barely breathe as the unicorn gallops into the clearing carrying a large magnolia blossom in his mouth. He enters the clearing and watches me for a time softly nickering and shaking out his white mane. He lays the flower upon the ground, and waits for me to pick it up.  His dark eyes watch me with wisdom that only being ancient can bring and waits. I stand there transfixed I can’t believe he’s here at all let alone with a flower for me.

“I…I can’t take the flower. I’m not a pure maiden anymore”. I don’t know what to do. I try explaining. He just begins to get impatient and paws at the ground with his hoof. I quickly pick up the flower thanking him, and babble out how grateful I am that he came. He snorts and rears back once the flower is in my hand, galloping away amid my jabbering.

“He understood!” I think to myself with joy.“Thank heaven and all saints.  He knew it wasn’t my fault!” I look off into the direction the unicorn galloped off in as I hold the flower close to my chest. I look to the sky, and see that the sun has begun to slip behind the trees. I know that I have to hurry before it gets dark. My mother will worry, and I have washing to do tomorrow!

© SL. Williams 2015


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