Expectations… they weigh so heavily upon our little shoulders from such a young age. They did so for her too. Blanketed by the failures and losses of her past, and burdened by the expectations on her still, she lost her present as well, mourning for the opportunities she knew wouldn’t return. Her experiences hadn’t helped her to become strong either, for each one to her felt worse than the previous one. Her raw emotions would take over, and she would cry into the night at times. She felt she had everyone yet no one bothered to help her, no friendly hand to lend her solace when she needed it most. She lost herself in that ignorance of others, craving for that hand which she knew was so near and which she yearned for very eagerly.
Searching through her attic one day, she became overwhelmed with memories. It wasn’t as if she enjoyed digging up the past, albeit her own. With each article she found, a memory would slide into her mind to accompany a tear that slid down her cheek. It was then that she found a photograph.
The photograph brought a smile with the tears, as that is how she remembered them. It was her first white Christmas and after opening her presents, she had gone outside to play with her best friends. Kristie and Jenna… she wondered where they were at that moment. Realizing that they were no longer together made her tears come quicker. At that moment, she wanted a return to her past, or a change in her present that made her smiles and laughter return, her life to have gone the way she wanted and not how it had gone, and her two best friends to be still by her side.
It was her mother’s voice that brought her back to earth with a pang. “Lindsay, where are you, you slob? You’ve left the water running… again! What about lunch? Will it cook itself? Lazy no-good girl… wait till I get my hands on you.” She sighed. It was one mixed with exasperation and despair, for the change in her mother was something she had never expected. True, she didn’t want to be pampered by her mother anymore either, but she wished for some kindness now. As she climbed down, she knew what was in store for her. The crack sounded as she was nearing the final step, but she didn’t shout at its touch. She was used to it now. The whip lashed again, stinging her buttocks but she flinched and turned to face her mother’s wrath. Impatiently, she waited through her lecture and then continued her daily chores. Mottled bruises were part of her now, and she embraced them as she would any stray smile that came into her life.
Later, her work done, she would relax while her mother went out to meet her friends. The gossip club never had a day off, and she shuddered at the thought of her being the subject of one, or even worse, she being a part of it in the future. She didn’t want to end up like her mother. She knew she was better than them, far better than they could ever be. As she lifted the cover and her nimble fingers touched the correct keys, she was carried off into her dreams again. As she played with fervor in her music, she transcended time and arrived in the future that she wanted. She played in front of an appreciative audience, she was smiling as her fingers touched each key and she saw Kristie and Jenna backstage with a look of pure joy on their faces. She saw her parents in the audience, shocked at her talent being finally recognized but she didn’t care for them. She was in her dreams where no one would affect her unless she wanted them to. As the final note sounded and she came back to reality, she had that smile on her face and hope in her heart. The mottled bruises were afar and she looked at the grand piano with veneration. She felt someone else in the room and turned around.
Her brother and father stood there smiling at her. She smiled back, and took their hand in hers. As she brought their hands to her cheeks, they spoke. She went into her garden and plucked two beautiful red roses that she had nourished every day. On the piano, their pictures held their smile for her. As she placed the roses in front of their images, they disappeared.
She reclined her head on the piano, and as she felt the keys again, she knew her life wouldn’t change overnight, or perhaps her dreams were a change that would never happen, but she still held a flicker of hope which warmed her heart. A flicker that would attempt to become a flame that would be burning for ever… a flame that would show the light to her paths as she ventured forth, hoping and praying for that change to make her dreams into her life.