DISCLAIMER: This is (kind of) a true story. I made most of it up. I enjoy writing stories. 🙂
In my English class, our most recent assessment task was a creative writing piece. For this piece, we had to “select an everyday item and bring it to life”. We were to personify this item, and have it go on some kind of journey. Here is my piece; hope you enjoy it. (Oh, and yes, in this piece, Elliott is a girl’s name).
I wanted to remind you of what you do not remember: the story that began long before you were dreamt of by your mother and father. This is your story, but it is my story as well, for I witnessed it all, and I played my part.
I go back to the time when I was still flourishing in the garden of new beginnings, where the air is pure as gold refined in the furnace of the stars. The sun is always shining there; shining far brighter than it ever will in this world. You can see the smile on its golden face as it watches the children of the future dancing with the soft, sweet-smelling grass between their toes. The garden is a place of waiting; and yet, none are bound by the strings of time while they are inside its crystal gates. Because of this, while we were waiting, you were both a dream in the Father’s hands, and a precious one inside your mother. I was knee-deep in the soft, rich loam that is only found there, swaying to the song of peace and love that is carried on the gentle breeze. I was quietly, patiently waiting for you to be ready. I was growing as you were growing, making plans and preparing myself, developing into a soft, innocent bud of blush pink. My petals, wrapped tightly around each other in a secure embrace, would soak in the beauty of the sun’s rays, growing deeper in colour as they took in more sunlight. Though I was small, I was strong. Though you were small, you were loved. I watched you from my place, and the delicate butterfly with trailing purple wings, the centre of your soul, would come to rest on my petals.
When your eyes were opened, together we watched the world we had not entered into yet. There, your young mother would wait, seated on a lumpy, yellowing mattress in the centre of a cold, bare room. She would spend her time knitting tiny, soft mittens and caps for you out of deep ruby-coloured wool unravelled from the sleeves of her well-worn cardigan. Her nature was always to serve, just as it’s the lion’s to protect. Night after night, we would hear her heart crying out to the Lord, asking for mercy for those in need, and wisdom for herself. We would also watch as your father would come home each night to her petite smile, bringing food from the small, struggling restaurant that was his uncle’s dream, and his own hard earnings. He was the hard worker, but, wisely, he would also stop to allow his heart to be touched by the pleadings of the earth. He was not afraid to let tears spill from his brown eyes when he was a witness to sadness. He has always put others first in life. I would smile at the small, significant sacrifice he would make every night, giving the larger portion of the meagre meals to your heavily pregnant mother. Their love for each other was plain for the world to see. When your ears took shape, we listened as they would sing sweet lullabies to you, an amazing contrast to the turmoil that raged like the ocean outside. Their gentle singing was what made that house a haven from the raucous voice of the hatred outside.
We would listen to the steady, strong heartbeat of your mother, and your heart learnt to imitate it in its consistent reminder of love and life. Her heart was a dove, yours, a butterfly, both flapping their wings as I got stronger with every beat. Each beat was a countdown to when she could hold you in her arms at last.
When you were born, two vibrant green leaves sprang up, a simple garland around my neck. The first one, Joy, bubbled up when your father held you in his strong arms and played peek-a-boo through his busy beard. A giggle escaped your sweet pink lips, and Joy was born. She has been there throughout the years of your life, deep down in your soul. She will never allow the heavy chains of despair drag her down, but always remains firm.
The next-door neighbours also had a baby around the same time; a blue-eyed boy, feeble and sick. Every night, his pathetic gasps for air and the moans of his mother would pass though the thin walls of the apartment, causing your heart to ache and Compassion to gently take its place beside Joy, turning its face towards the soft light. (Take care of this leaf, Compassion, my child. Do not let the thorns of your own hard circumstances crowd out your Compassion. Water it daily, tend for it, and it will remain green).
As you grew into a small girl, with raven black hair tripping over your shoulders and a sweet smile always on your lips, I grew also. My petals spiralled out, as wings taking flight, and developed a colour of deep, endless red. My arms, carried by the warm sunlight, were continually stretched out in worship to the giver of light and life. You took care of me; watering me every other day with tears of Compassion and of Joy; never leaving me in the dark valleys of despair, but letting the sunlight stream through to my place in your soul, restoring my hope daily. The love of others was lavished upon you: that was the fertile soil covering my feet. Back then, all you had was me, and love from your parents. All you needed, you had in abundance; my stem was upright, my petals bold, strong and soft. You were kind, thoughtful, caring. Every word that left your mouth was spoken by me.
Sometimes, it was easy to forget that we weren’t still in the garden of new beginnings. That we weren’t still free from the tight, binding strings of time.
When the age of ten was on the horizon, you begged your father to do something to help the blue-eyed beggar who would come, with empty hands and eyes, to silently sort through the rubbish heap of the restaurant for food and treasure. This made your father gaze in wonder at the precious tears rolling down your cheeks, and his heart to ache at the special gift you were to him. Despite knowing it would be a sacrifice for the struggling business, the next day he employed the boy as an errand runner. Who was to tell, that the scrawny beggar would be able to work such fragrant, tasty magic with the herbs and spices, bringing the success of the restaurant? Your father rejoiced, and thanked the Father and you for seeing worth in a nobody- for now the cup of blessings was overflowing!
Time passed on and you soon moved into a larger house, with high ceilings painted blue as the sky, birds singing amongst the treetops in the clouds and room enough for your parents, yourself and your new baby brother. You could begin school now, for your parents could afford books, clothing and tuition. Suddenly you weren’t the grubby little girl who was barely better off than the street children. You were now a teenager, with carefully styled hair and striking features; with a hundred friends, but all of them envious. You had everything you wanted, and more.
Where was I, while this turn of events was changing your life? I was still there, at the centre of your soul, knee-deep in the love of your parents, but wilting. You neglected me, never watering me. For the first time in my life, the sunlight faded and dusk fell. The gloomy darkness was overwhelming and heavy, choking me, pushing my face into the dry soil. My petals faded to a pinkish, old brown; drying out, losing their softness and becoming crackly and unfeeling. Joy and Compassion became lifeless, losing their vibrant green colour. They were still raising their heads hopefully at the sight of a small diamond peeking through the thick walls of dark clouds. Yet they were only just clinging to the last colours of sunset, the last drops of light. It became too dark to see the rich purples of the butterfly’s fragile wings; the shadows became too heavy, and so she slowed the lively beating of her wings. I felt unwanted. Unused. You had all you wanted, but not what you needed. I was becoming lifeless, drooping further every day.
By the time you turned seventeen, my face was almost buried in the crumbly soil. Our place down here was clogged with the heady smell of moth balls and dust, of neglect and misuse. With our weary and aching knees on the ground, day after day, we bowed down in a prayer for rescue. Sunshine, warmth and cool drops of dew were but a distant memory, a worn photograph on the shelf. We longed for a song to break the endless sound of silence.
Our prayers were answered. Three days later, your mother and father called you into the kitchen to talk to you about their dream. They planned to start an orphanage, to touch the world and its untouchables on the street. It would mean personal sacrifice: they would move into a larger home, but give up the luxuries you had become accustomed to. Would you help with teaching and loving the children, now that you were almost finished school? At this, I rose up, invigorated, hoping your heart would be touched again. Compassion lifted her weary head. The butterfly came to rest on my petals as one that has come home after a long night working. Yes. You would learn to love again.
You began to look after me once more. The colour returned to my cheeks, and my petals became full again, as they were rejuvenated by the chuckle of sunlight. My heart warmed and began to beat again as the sun brushed away the cobwebs. As children with red cheeks and full bellies danced around you in the midday sunshine, with delicate blades of green grass in between their little toes, tears of joy fell down, sprinkling me with the drops of revival. The light of much happiness streamed through the windows to your soul, and peace came to life once more. Hold onto this love, dear Elliott.
And here you are, my child, dressed in white at the door to a small city chapel. You do not have as many material goods as you once did, but you have love, and that’s all you need. The butterfly in your soul has come to rest on this man’s finger, and I am overjoyed. You have his heart in exchange. Drink this moment in, as you travel down the polished wooden aisle, with well worn pews reaching out to congratulate you on either side. See the sunlight streaming through the reds, blues, yellows and greens of the stained glass ahead of you, stroking your face and beckoning you forward. Turn, and see your father’s tear-filled eyes being held up with the deep smile lines that grow with age. Listen, hear the birds singing in accompaniment to your brother at the piano. Taste, and see that the Lord is good. Love is in this place, in the air, in your heart and in his blue eyes. Love is contrasting with the pure white of your gown, its rich redness emanating with the sweet fragrance that will always be there.
I just wanted to remind you of these things, dear Elliott. For I am a rose, planted knee-deep in the soil. I am love. Don’t ever let me go.