Home > We, the Wildflowers

We, the Wildflowers
Author: L.B. Simmons

 

PROLOGUE


The hallway around me is…spinning.

And spinning.

And spinning.

And spinning.

I try to feel nothing, yet now I feel everything as I’m forced to acknowledge the consequence of a poorly made decision. All because I wanted to experience something… anything but feeling alone.

Abandoned.

Insignificant.

You did this to yourself.

You only have yourself to blame.

Much like the walls around me, the words circle around and around and around…unforgiving accusations and blame. I slam my hands against the sides of my head and cover my ears, trying to make them stop, but it doesn’t work. Out of frustration, I thread my fingers into my hair and yank as hard as I can.

Shut up.

Shut up.

Where do you think you’re going anyway?

They don’t want you.

Shut up!

They won’t even look at you.

I choke back a sob and shake my head, refusing to hear them. To believe them.

Several minutes pass before the harsh murmurs finally lower to faint white noise in my head. I peel my eyes from the marbled floor, and only then do I realize I’m standing in front of my parents’ bedroom door.

That’s when I feel it. A tiny glimmer of hope. My heart begins to race as it flickers to life inside me.

I need you.

I reach desperately for the words, fumble for them as I try to grab hold, but they are out of reach. Always out of reach. Uncontrollable tears stream down my cheeks as my mind splits in two and begins its battle.

You stupid girl.

They want nothing to do with you.

I need you.

I need you.

I inhale deeply, trying to gather my strength. I have to win this war. I will not let them ruin me. I cannot let them win. I refuse.

Just as I lift my arm to knock, raised voices drown out the ones in my head, leaving my closed fist hanging in the air.

“So you’re leaving again? With your whore of the month?”

“Diane.”

I swallow deeply in response to his calculated tone. Although the door separates us, I can picture my father’s expression perfectly. Cold, callous eyes narrowing in my mother’s direction. Jaw ticking wildly in frustration. Yet, when he speaks, his voice remains unaffected. As though he’s merely swatting words like flies, when in actuality, he’s pounding them with a mallet.

He sighs deeply. “It’s business. You know that.”

“Right,” my mother scoffs. “It’s always business, Tristan. Never any twenty-something extracurriculars, right?”

Her words are slurred—as usual. I can picture her, too. Cheeks reddened by the alcohol, pouty mouth curved to the floor—stress carving lines into her skin that will be erased come Monday—wavy blonde hair that refuses to cooperate, and her light brown eyes? Puffy from tears and so very sad.

I am her mirror image in every way.

My father’s bored tone turns glacial. “A twenty-something extracurricular as you once were?”

The slamming of a suitcase jars my entire body, and I place my hand flat against the door to steady myself.

“We’ve been over this a thousand times, Diane. I didn’t ask to be saddled with a wife who mistakenly believes the world revolves around her and no one else. Nor did I ask to be burdened by the responsibility of life with a kid. All I asked was for you to be at my side when required, for you to service my needs whenever necessary, and to stay on birth control while doing it. Which you purposefully did not do.”

My mother’s soft sobs become desperate wails the more he speaks.

“You trapped me in this marriage, Diane. We both know that. And because of that, you are nothing to me. You don’t deserve to know what I choose to do with my time.”

The suitcase hits the floor. “I do, however, take satisfaction in knowing you have a sixteen-year-old reminder that the old adage is true: money can’t buy happiness, no matter how many millions it may be. Your child is nothing more than the result of a night I wish had never happened.”

His words are like a punch to the gut, forcing every breath of air from my body upon impact. And with it, all hope inside me is extinguished. I begin to tremble with its loss, and suddenly, I’m so cold. My chest throbs and aches, as though there’s a black hole where my heart should be.

I feel it spreading throughout my body…devouring the will to live.

I’m so tired.

Tired of trying.

Tired of fighting.

Tired of hoping.

I no longer hear the desperate cry of I need you because there is no longer need.

There is only truth.

You are a burden.

They wish you had never happened.

You are nothing.

The voices beat me into submission, forcing me to recognize what I really am.

Nothing…

There are no more tears when I turn my back on my parents.

My body is numb, impossibly light even, as I seem to float toward my father’s office.

With frigid fingers, I push open his private bathroom door.

I hear nothing when I open the drawer and pull out the straight razor he’s used for years.

When I lift it in front of the mirror, my eyes are unseeing as I inspect its reflection.

And though fear and hesitation lurk in the distance, I give the voices free rein, allowing them this victory so they may provide armor against such useless emotions. Because the voices are right.

I am nothing.

Although my throat is clamped shut, I somehow manage to murmur, “Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.”

A sense of relief washes over me as I begin to fade from consciousness, and a lazy smile crosses my face when the darkness finally swallows me whole.

 

Murmurs fill the air, but I don’t dare open my eyes. I don’t need them to know that gauze is wrapped around both of my arms from wrist to elbow. And I definitely don’t want to be on the receiving end of looks of pity from the nurses, or familiar glares of disapproval from my parents, if they’re even here.

So I remain still, listening to the beeping and wondering what the hell I’m going to do now. I’m glad for whatever drugs I’m on because they seem to have muted the voices for a while at least.

A light knock sounds, startling me. Then, a soft, feminine voice. “Mr. and Mrs. Campbell?”

I hear shuffling, most likely my father standing, then the clicking of heels as someone enters the room.

So, they’re here…Surprising.

“Yes, I’m Tristan Campbell, and this is my wife, Diane. May we help you?”

“Actually,” the woman clears her throat, “I’m Claudia, from Sacred Heart. We spoke on the phone.”

“Right. Yes. Do you have any updates?”

“I do.” The door shuts softly, and I wait patiently while they take their seats. “I have a lovely woman who is willing to take Chloe into her home. She runs an offshoot of Sacred Heart only a couple of hours from here, a very small home that typically houses three to four residents, all from different backgrounds. As you have requested expedited processing, I have prepared the paperwork to have Chloe discharged to our care, then I can take her to the home from here.”

Her voice lowers in volume. “Thank you for your donation, by the way.”

“Of course.” His tone remains composed. “Always glad to help those in need.”

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