On The Eve Of Blooming Daffodilsbyvelvetpie©
Had it really been 15 years?
The house looked the same and her skeleton key still fit the lock. More importantly, the locking mechanism still worked. The wood and glass-paned door swung inward, a gust of wind creating a blanket of dust that rolled across the beaten linoleum floor, raising ghosts with it. That was fifteen years ago. She knew it but she still trembled as if her father was sitting in the dark living room waiting for her to come home. There was no one in the house now. It had been empty for nearly ten years.
She stepped into the foyer and took a deep swallow, opting to leave the door open and welcomed the support of the bright spring sunshine outside. Silence pervaded the house, blanketing the kitchen and utility rooms and making her heart sound like a bass drum. Come on, Cassidy. It's just a house. She wanted to think that. She wanted to pretend that what had happened hadn't happened but she had the scars to prove it.
Why couldn't we have just been a normal family? Because her father was an alcoholic. Because her father was a wife beater. Because her father was a child molester.
Because she'd shot him 15 years ago.
The screen door slammed shut and she jumped as if it was the shot she'd fired so long ago. It echoed in her mind and the smell of cordite burned in her nostrils. It had been his .45 that she had found hidden in the ratty folds of the his recliner and she remembered how her heart had pounded in her chest as she gingerly handled the silver gun, her dirty, bitten fingernails rubbing the long barrel as if it spoke to her. Security, it said. Freedom, it whispered. And she listened.
The stairs going up to her room creaked in all the very same places as before as she traced the steps that her drunken father would take. She would be lying in her tiny bed, ducking her head under the covers when she heard the heavy, uneven steps. Sometimes he'd even sing to her on the way to rape her. Cassie, how I love ya, how I love ya, my sweet girl, Cassie! The tears burned her eyelids as she screwed them shut, her teeth fixed in a painful grimace. The door would swing open, squeaking like a dying loon and she'd hear his drunken murmurs. His shaking hands would burrow under the sheet and find her ...
Cassidy stood in the doorway of her old bedroom, tattered curtains limping down to the floor and barely covering the broken window. She remembered doing that, remembered screaming for help, scratching her wrists on the jagged edges in an attempt to kill herself. It didn't work. The double-paned glass and the thick walls turned the room into a vacuum, sucking up the sound, much as it had every time that she'd screamed in pain and cried in anguish.
And so, she'd suffered in silence; a silence that had come to pervade every waking moment of her life. Her teachers watched her complete assignments and were amazed by her creativity but were baffled that she could not or would not speak. She sailed through middle school on the Dean's List and found her solace in writing, creating characters that could express themselves as she could not.
David Turner had taken an interest in her, though she could never figure out why. The cartoonist with green eyes and dimples started spending time with her at lunch, reading her stories and offering sincere constructive criticism. He never asked her to speak and never treated her like she was a retard. He recognized the brilliance that lay behind her self-imposed silence and it had been his love that had kept her heart alive during the trial, the prison sentence and the appeal. Somehow, he was still able to love her, even after hearing the horrible evidence of her molestation.
The tears he'd cried the first time they'd slept together and she'd had an orgasm had permanently stolen her heart. If she had harbored any doubts about his love and devotion, they were washed away in shared sobs and mutual orgasms. Each time they made love, a tiny bit of the injury was swept clean. Her father's face faded and the walls of the solitary space she'd created in her head during prison had crumbled into dust, the same dust that now covered the floors under her feet.
She left the house through the back door and was stopped by the most beautiful sight. Brilliant yellow daffodils waved in the breeze, their vibrant beauty the only sign of life in the barren yard and tears filled her eyes. She had planted them the week before she had been sentenced, hoping that they would live on, like her dreams, persevering against the elements that sought to beat them into deathly submission. And like she had, they bloomed against the odds, lifting their faces to the sun and basking in its warmth.
David was leaning against the car, happiness replacing worry when he saw her striding down the driveway. She returned his grin, crossing the yard to lay a hand on the realtor's sign, her eyes smiling when she looked up at the SOLD slat. This chapter of her life story was finally over and her past was to become someone's happy future: the same happy future she hoped to share with David.
Smiling through her tears, Cassidy lifted the daffodil, presenting it to her friend, her lover and her savior as a symbol of her healing and a promise of a better life to come.
"I love you, David."
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