How much can a broken heart break,
To what depth can your battered soul sink,
Even my body has gave up on me,
And my mind and soul have abandoned me.
I’m forbidden three meals a day,
I’m beaten on the streets because my face is considered an ill omen,
Even my eyes are scared to look at my reflection,
I’m confined in a small room filled with cobwebs.
“ Am I that ugly that even the spiders abandoned their beautifully sewn homes just because this shack is dis-graced with my presence “
Years of torture and pain I’ve suffered,
Someone consoling me with words of love is all I’ve yearned,
Mirrors and dreams lie broken beneath my footsteps,
Even my own life givers curse me for being a burden.
The flow of laughter and cries is indistinguishable for me,
For both end with tears cascading down our face,
But that’s where I was mistaken,
Since their cries are beautiful too.
“ I can’t stay like this forever, always hearing ill about myself. I’ve finally decided to leave this place, anyways who would care it’ll be like a good news for them. “
Strong winds howling outside,
Maybe it’ll rain tonight,
But I can’t delay my runaway anymore,
I want to escape this hell and spend a life peaceful.
I set out on a journey by foot,
A thick shawl covering my face and a baggy sweater draped over my frail self,
The moonlight illuminated the way as I found myself around another small village,
Quaint but quiet and in the outskirts I see an isolated castle.
“ I carefully enter the castle, looks like no one’s been here for years. Maybe this place is perfect, maybe this is how my life will be from now on. “
The castle is huge, but since its been isolated for so long therefore some of the rooms are dirty and tattered. I come across a room which looks in good shape (at least better than the shack I lived in before). There are small birds here and there around the castle maybe they are surprised to see a living being after so long. There is a huge garden outside with beautiful flowers and trees bearing tasty fruits. Maybe I’ll lead a peaceful life here.
So I thought but the day I stepped out of the castle I felt eyes on me,
And the news about the ugly castle man spread like wildfire,
I was depressed again,
But this time I won’t isolate myself.
And so whenever a passerby stared at my grotesque face,
Trying to analyse the extent of my ugliness,
I’d stare back with fire in my eyes and respond with bitterness in my words,
I repelled almost everyone who passed but at least I was living a life without mockery.
“ I was engulfed with anger, this anger was becoming my drug. It made me more confident and made me feel strong. “
While I was lying on my bed staring at the broken ceiling,
I heard rustling near the fence,
I got up and strode to the window,
A petite figure with flowy white dress and long hair was all I could see under the silver light.
Heat rose to my face,
And I ran down vigorously,
Ready to snap at whoever snuck to my garden,
Maybe the thumping sound of my footsteps alerted the figure and she looked over her shoulder and ran away.
“ Few flowers were missing from the flower pit. “
‘How dare she?’, I thought,
Plucking flowers from my garden,
I decided to wait for her tomorrow,
And once I catch her red handed I’m going to give her a piece of my mind.
The next evening I dutifully sat on the stairs,
Waiting for the girl,
But my eyes felt heavy and even my hardest attempts failed,
And so I feel asleep on the stairs.
“ Few days passed and this similar routine followed every single night. Never once I succeeded in catching the girl. “
Soon the anger inside of me was replaced with genuine curiosity,
I wanted to know why that girl came to pluck flowers every night,
Who was she?
What did she do with those flowers.
The next day I used my energy judiciously,
I had to know who she was,
I had to know about my flowers,
And so I waited for her again.
“ As night fell, a gush of cool breeze swayed my dark hair. I intently waited for the girl, my eyes not moving from the fence for a split second. “
I was so deep engrossed in my train of thoughts that I almost missed the girl,
I heard rustling again and I quickly followed behind her,
I made sure to cover my face with a mask,
I did not want to scare her with my looks.
She entered the city,
Her steps were fast yet careful,
Ultimately she stopped in the middle of the market place and entered a small shop.
“ As the girl lit the small lamp, for the first time I saw her face, I stood there staring at her for a while forgetting my motive of following her for a second. “
I think she saw me through the curtains,
I immediately ran away,
I decided to come back to that place tomorrow,
And so I retraced the same track which led me here.
That night even my hardest attempts to sleep proved to be futile,
Whenever I closed my eyes I could only see that beautiful face floating in my mind,
She had the prettiest eyes, like the blue ocean,
She looked so delicate, like the flowers.
“ I tossed and turned around the bed, but ultimately was able to lull myself to sleep.”
The next morning I took out the best set of clothes I possessed,
And tried to look as presentable as possible,
I grabbed the mask and secured it over my face so only my eyes were visible,
I went back to the shop to find the mystery girl.
I stood in front of the little shop and waited there for some time,
I peeped inside trying to catch a glimpse of the girl,
I was concentrating so much on finding the girl,
That I almost yelped when someone patted my shoulder.
“ I looked behind cautiously, because even though I had my mask on I felt insecure. An old lady looked at me sweetly, I almost choked and felt tears stinging at the back of my eyes, for I finally got looked upon with an emotion other than hatred. “
“Sonny, are you looking for flowers?”, asked the old lady,
“Ummm....” I did not know what to reply and I stood there dumbstruck,
She looked at me and let out a small laugh and asked me to go to the fountain in the town centre,
I nodded and greeted her in the most polite way I could.
And so I followed her instructions and reached the fountain,
There stood ‘she’ with a basket of flowers in her hand,
She was reciting some sweet lines and trying to sell the flowers,
I watched her closely and tried to observe her,
I watched her as she handed the flower to a lady and took two silver coins in exchange.
“ I realised now, why she plucked flowers from my garden. I followed this regime ever day, observed her and went back home once all her flowers were sold. “
I knew I was trespassing on someone’s privacy,
But I stood helpless because people detested me because of my face,
What if I scare her with my looks?
My low self esteem and past experiences kept me far away from social interactions.
Every night I heard rustling near the bushes,
Thinking maybe its the girl,
And so I started growing new varieties of flowers for her,
The smile on her face upon selling a flower made my day.
“ After years of running away, I finally confronted it. I looked at my own reflection and there shone my face in the water with the gloominess of the night surrounding me. And after what seemed like an eternity, my reflection smiled. “
I devoted all my time in growing new flowers but I felt the urge to do something special,
Growing tulips, roses and chrysanthemums weren’t enough,
And so I decided to create a flower which did not exist,
And so I immediately started working on my project.
I spent days and night together,
Shedding every ounce of energy in me,
Spending every second of the available time,
So that I can see the girl’s bright and happy face.
“ That day when I overworked myself, I found myself unable to get up and so I decided to spend the night in the garden. My slumber was disrupted by a familiar rustling near the bushes but my grogginess took the better of me. I heard soft footsteps approaching near me and I felt something warm drape over my shoulders and soft and airy “Thank you” followed the kind gesture. “
I found myself tearing up as I thought about the incident last night,
For the first time someone looked at me without grimacing,
I went to the market place again,
But this time I saw the girl waiting for me in front of her little shop.
I froze upon seeing her,
She looked at my masked face and let out a small smile,
She held the basket full of flowers in front of her and gave a small bow as a token of thanks,
I nod and awkwardly run back to the castle.
“ I’ve never been so happy my entire life,
As I look at the flower that I finally created, a look of satisfaction spreads on my face. Just the mere thought of her smile made my heart thump madly in my chest. “
Finally on accomplishing the task,
I let out a breath of relief,
I planted the little flower near the bushes,
And waited for night to fall.
‘I can’t wait for her to see the flowers ‘, I thought to myself,
The giddy smile on my face just wouldn’t go,
And so I waited,
But to my astonishment she never came.
“ I waited, for days, for weeks, altogether. But no sign of her. I went to the market place but no sign of her. “
The next day again I decided to pay her humble shop a visit,
I took a bunch of the new flowers I made just for her,
I almost ran all the way,
I peeped in through the little window.
I saw a young girl coming out,
I tried to calm my beating heart,
But it wasn’t her,
The young girl looked at me waiting for me to speak up.
“ I fumbled and stammered but still managed to ask for the girl who sold flowers. The young girl burst into tears. But I couldn’t understand why. “
The young girl gestured me to follow her,
And I let her lead the way,
She led me to the backyard of the church near a grave,
The gravestone looked new and my heart raced at the thought.
The young girl looked at me and said that the girl, who was her elder sister,
She had a disease,
She fell sick because of the cold night air and due her low immunity she never recovered,
She just spent her last hour looking at a tulip and smiling to herself.
“ I couldn’t control the tears and I finally opened the barriers. I looked at her gravestone her name was Alyssa Marie Jones. I smiled because even her name was related to flowers. “
I kneeled and kept the new flowers on her grave,
The young girl gave me a sad smile and bid me farewell,
I sat there near Alyssa’s grave,
Her beautiful smile was all that came to my mind.
I got up when it was finally getting dark,
And slowly walked back towards the castle,
As I entered the premises all I could see were the new flowers that I created,
I filled the entire garden for her,
But now she went away, leaving the flowers and my heart behind.
“ That night, I sat near the flowers still expecting her to come. I could not fully register the news of her death. “
Months passed by and I was pretty sure she wasn’t coming back,
I again took back to gardening,
Somehow taking care of those flowers made me feel like I was taking care of her,
Each day I changed the flowers on her grave, sat there for a while, came home and grew more flowers.
She was the first person who thanked me,
She made my existence worthwhile,
That night when I was sitting near the lake,
I remembered the smile showed by my reflection.
“ She gave me an aim, she made me smile, she made me feel pretty. I made a point to not disappoint her. “
The next morning I went to her grave and instead of keeping the flowers,
I grew her, her own little garden,
I smiled and murmured a Thank you,
I leave the place with a smile.
The next day I dress up tidily and go to the small shop,
I meet the Alyssa’s father and ask him if there is any job available for me,
Though the man is startled by my sudden ask for help,
But nevertheless he offers me that I can sell flowers since the elder daughter died.
“ I grow more of those new flowers and name them Smeraldo. “
The next morning I go out with those flowers but this time I leave my mask,
As I reach the shop I stand there nervously,
The man looks at my face and I show him a small smile,
The man smiles back, and the smile is genuine.
I feel a gush of confidence and go out to the market place selling flowers,
I greet everyone with a pleasant smile and give them the smeraldo,
Everyone liked the flowers and within an hour I was able to sell all of them,
I go to the shop to give the man the money I collected.
“ I continue selling flowers for the man and have become a better man than I was before. The man notices my loneliness and invites me to stay at their place. “
After years of longing,
I finally got the love which I craved for,
I got a family and people who like me and a proper job,
The girl in a short span changed the course of my stars.
I visited her grave now and then,
The flowers I grew near her grave bloomed more than the ones in my garden,
Was it her smiling and thanking me?
The flowers always made me feel as if she is always with me.
“ And so what started with anger now transformed into love, I loved her deeply and just because she entered my life, it bloomed like a beautiful flower. Even though the thought of her being here too came maybe a hundred times a day but the fact that she was never really gone warmed my heart. She taught me to love myself, she taught me that I wasn’t ugly and that there are good people in this world. “
I will love you, more than yesterday and less than tomorrow.
© 2020 Ishita Bose