Published in Oxford Academia Creative Writing Program
For every rose, there is a thorn
With every vine, there is a vein
They may cut, they may stab
They may do as they wish.
And you will beg, beg for forgiveness
They do not run and you do not hide
“I lie, sunny,” she sings.
Beg, you will.
The Vines creep up her wall. She sees them find their way through the open window.
Outgrown and yearning,
pleasant and kind.
Her father says they need to be cut.
When she sits on the balcony, they are there to attest that life still continues. She does not have to worry about the clock stopping, and yet she wishes it would.
And then her father pulls her aside.
She hears every expectation. No matter what had happened, she cannot stop and let one single moment place a barricade on her days.
She walks outside and cuts the vines that morning.
The painting of a garden holds her for ransom.
She hears the movement of the wind and the cadence of the birds’ songs.
A hand reaches for hers.
Fragile and gentle.
“I don’t want the bee to sting me,” the little girl worries.
They lay beside one another on the soft grass.
Her voice, she thinks, is that of wishes.
Those feeble hopes that grow like vines.
“They won’t hurt you, sunny.”
Their heads turn to face one another.
“I don’t like it when you lie.”
She tries to listen but her eyes are heavy.
The clock drones on in time with the crowded voices. At the table they argue and sing.
She wishes she knew someone here, because she continues to imagine the empty seats filled and she wants her head to stop. The mind can only defend itself for so long.
We all have wants.
The window is open ajar for soft air to enter the stagnant place. The petals fall with an air of grace that only intimacy carries. Her head lulls and her dreams hum.
A fist hits the table.
“She is unable.”
“They all were.”
She sees the red roses white, their thorns kind. Her fingertips trace the veins on her wrist.
A hand takes her arm and lifts her from her seat.
She wishes she was.
She wishes she would never wake.
He plays the piano, his fingers dance with the notes like waves with beauty in its wake.
The vines cover almost the entirety of the glass window, allowing only a sliver of light to enter.
It is what we allow into our lives that inches its way to cover our breath.
She shushes the growing veins and shakes her head. The bee roams, finding itself through her air. She tenses for the fleeing second it lives.
She watches him forget he is there.
Her mind dazes away, seeking comfort in the keys. We hide to seek comfort.
“Don’t lie,” he sings.
Her breath is cut short.
He smiles, still playing, all too knowing.
“Alright,” he nods.
She relaxes again and the clock stops.
She sees the bee sting
before her tear stains.
“What happened, sunny?”
“You tell me,” the little girl cries.
It is because she wants to run. She wants to act like we have stopped. This is where we end. We are finished, the story is complete. The roses are shriveled and the bee is dead. And yet the vines need to be cut.
No more running.
“Does it hurt, sunny?”
Her sister nods.
“Make it go away.”
She sits at the dinner table alone, but she sees the seats filled.
Sunny wears a yellow sundress, a bee sting adorning her arm.
She tries to lift the fork and knife but her father places his hand over hers.
The piano sings.
“It’s alright,” he tells her.
And then, she runs.
She runs to her vines, finding every breath, willing herself to continue.
They live along the peeling walls. Finding themself back to her. They will always come back to each other, that symbiotic touch.
She takes her hand.
They need to be cut, she thinks.
And grabs on.
The thorns prick and stab but for every rose there is a thorn.
She lets them cut.
She screams and cries.
She lets them cut.
With every lie, there is truth
With every wish, there is hope.
But in the end,
we like to lie to ourselves,