Yesterday came knocking on my door, and with apprehension I let her in to linger awhile. I waited for the flood of embarrassment to capsize my honeycombed existence, which I had so precariously reconstructed, and prepared for any, and all, accusations against me. But Yesterday seemed to regard me fondly, in an unsettling way which made me unsure of who to be; the girl she had known, or the woman I had become. I did the first thing that came to mind; offered tea and small talk, and all the while wondered what had brought Yesterday my way a second time. She looked different from what I remembered; sunnier, perhaps even prettier. I was mystified by her presence; since I had run worlds away from her.
I sat, together with Yesterday, in filtered light from lace curtains; as I pondered her arrival.“Why would Yesterday come to visit me?” I asked her.
“You were close to forgetting me, and something had to be done. I had to prevent the destruction you would ultimately cause.” Yesterday explained, to my dismay.
Unyielding, I challenged her, “What gives Yesterday the right to meddle?” and told her emphatically,
“You are past! It does me good to forget! I can survive this way!”
In my annoyance I tried my best not to glance her way, but when our eyes suddenly locked, Yesterday held me captivated as she moved her hand to pull the curtain open further, and a spark of sunlight flashed in my eyes.***Suddenly a little girl raced through my mind, and found a feather resting in a dusty corner. She took it and tickled as she discovered memory, upon forgotten memory. Scenes came to light in quick bursts of electric colour that sent jolts of pain through my body, as her feather reached them, and teased them into waking. She skipped along my faded walk, and came to rest by a great forest.Seeing the lights of an airport, she found herself exploring further. As she came to the doors of a terminal, something caught her attention; sitting at a table was a mother and her daughter. The little girl crept closer. The other girl was a little older than her, and it seemed something was awfully wrong. The mothers face was tear stained, and her expression was so despondent from the heartbreak and desolation that permeated her entire body. The little girl shivered as the waves of hopelessness washed over her. She shifted her gaze towards the daughter; who was sick, deathly sick, since their first flight. There was a man standing nearby. He must have felt sorry for the girl. He was trying to cheer her up with all the bird calls he could mimic. As he whistled and chirped, the girls face attempted a faint smile. When he left, the daughter raised her weak head, and pleaded to her mother; “Can we please go home?” Without blinking the mother replied; “We haven’t a home anymore darling. We don’t have a home.” The daughter began to cough, and her tiny frame could barely hold through the incredible retching that followed. The mother tried to ease her daughters suffering, but was at a loss to know what more she could do. The tears fell all the more.The little girl couldn’t bear the immense sadness any longer, and she ran out again into the dark forest, her tears leaving an ebbing trail like glow in the dark stepping stones.***I opened my eyes again to the safety of my sunlit room. I looked hurtfully at Yesterday. “Why did you have to remind me? Was it not crushing enough?” I was beyond tears at this point in my life, and would not let Yesterday see my pain at this remembrance.
“But it didn’t crush you. Only your pride.” Yesterday replied.
“No child should have to experience such traumatic events; it aged me!”
I retorted angrily.
Yesterday only looked at me in pity and did not reply, but drew the curtain back again, and once more I was blinded by sunlight.***Having run away from the sadness, the little girl stumbled upon a small pool. Staring down at her reflection, she wasn’t so little anymore. The feather she placed in her hair, not wanting to disturb anything as painful again. She then stepped into the pool, and her little feet danced gleefully in the dark water. Instantly the surroundings brightened as the pool transformed into a much larger one with blue tiles, and a dolphin painted on the bottom. She found herself floating in the deep of the pool, and soon discovered the agility given to her. She dove and flipped, twisted and turned, feeling more alive with each stroke. Diving to the bottom, she would lie with the dolphin, each time surprised it wasn’t real, and wouldn’t return with her to the surface. Coming up once more, she noticed a boy swimming towards her, he was older than her, and his face held a mysterious secret as he gazed at her. She had become lanky and somewhat pretty, but she still possessed an innocence of mind, that only a child is blessed with. Recognition began to dawn on her. She knew this boy; he was a friend. Soon she was laughing with him, teasing him, smiling like the happiest creature in the world. In the water she seemed to be spilling over with juvenile exhilaration, and perhaps that was what made her so attractive. After a while they came out of the pool together, dried themselves, and went inside the boy’s house to change. It all looked so familiar to her. The boy eagerly waited for her to finish changing, and when she appeared, he told her to meet him in their secret place, he had something to tell her. Oblivious, the not-so-little girl couldn’t wait to discover his surprise. She remembered he had always been the nicest to her; he had never ridiculed her like the others. She found the room, their little secret hideout, and patiently waited for him to come. He came before long and shut the door behind him. She greeted him with the greatest smile, and began to implore him to tell her his secret. He was strangely quiet. Slowly he came towards her, put his hands on her shoulders, and leaned towards her ear. Softly he whispered; “I like you...” A sudden unknown feeling of dread and disillusionment settled on her like an iron veil, and she felt a desperate need for escape. She remembered now what was coming. He tried to hold her under him, but her ferocious strength prevailed, and she tore away. Luckily he hadn’t locked the door and she made her escape. She ran, bitterly betrayed, as realization slowly came, and the world around her fell to pieces. Blue tiled pieces. Innocence was no longer a little girl with a feather in her hair.***I was shaking as I came back to my own consciousness. I had tried so hard to block out the experience, and it had me gasping for breath. “Of all the things to bring back to me, why that? Couldn’t you erase it?” I was still defiantly holding back my tears. “Why are you doing this to me? I tolerated you entering my home, showing your face, when all these years I’ve so desperately tried to forget you, cover you, obliterate you!” I was hurting so, the reawakened memories had done their damage.
“You can’t ignore me, I happened. No real harm came to you that day.” Yesterday implored, but her efforts were in vain, as I hastily replied, "I’ve ignored you this long!”
Yesterday regarded me coldly and something like hurt showed briefly in her eyes. My heart filled with fear as she pulled back the curtain completely and sent my mind reeling with a strong blast of sunlight.***
The girl now dazedly walked through a maze of memories, the feather blowing in the confusing wind, and scarcely staying pinned to her hair. Lights lit up and faded, as she followed each new path. There were beautiful places here and there, but many places were sad, and the ground hurt her bare feet. Her spirit had somehow remained cheery, despite the sadness she had seen on her travels. She danced her way through, and sang when she was most happy. Soon she was traveling the streets of a city.
She was older now, a lot older, the feather had become a keychain on her handbag. She was thin; her heart springing with every step. Walking on a snowy sidewalk; she saw a figure standing, waiting, in a circle of clouded lamp light. She knew him instantly. He he had called her angel. Running towards him she called out his name, “Dylan!” He turned towards her, and watched her approach with his deep dark eyes. They had won her heart many times over. “Pauline...” he uttered the name slowly and tenderly, in the strange way that he always had. She embraced him, then regarded him; the tears beginning to well within her eye lids. He swallowed and began to speak once more; “You were always my angel....I really did care for you,” She interrupted him; “Then why didn’t you hold on to me?” The tears came freely now. The answer had always evaded her. He looked at her sadly, as if pained to tell her the truth, and sorrowfully admitted, “I couldn’t.” She was gripping her shoulders very tightly, refusing to take in what he was telling her. “No,” she cried, “I know you loved me....no...no...” She was shaking visibly now, and with the last of her resolve, she turned and ran into the darkness of the street. The two younger girls appeared beside her; and ran with her, gathering up her tears in brightly coloured bundles.***
I woke to find myself lying in a puddle of my own tears, my arms wrapped around my chest, and my knees tucked beneath my elbows. I looked up and saw my curtains; rising and falling in the slight breeze. They held the last of the evening sun. Tears rolled from my body as I lifted myself off the floor. The fading sun greeted me and seemed to warm my sore heart. I closed my eyes for a brief moment and let the sun bathe my eyelids as well. When the light faded, I opened my eyes and turned to see Yesterday sitting, drinking tea at my table. She beckoned to me, and I caught sight of a cup waiting for me as well. I had expected myself to have rejected such an offer after such painful revisiting of my past, but I found myself quietly sitting down, taking the tea, and occasionally staring blankly at Yesterday’s knowing face.
“That was the most painful thing you could have brought back to me,” I said as I looked down into my cup. My anger had somehow vanished as I sat, limply, in Yesterdays company.
“He loved me, but not enough..not enough..I was not good enough.” I said softly, echoing my sorrowful words.
“He was incapable of loving you the same way, he wasn’t built for it. You have to understand he didn’t reject you, he sacrificed his feelings for you. It couldn’t have been easy for him.” Yesterday told me.
“No it couldn’t, I didn’t make it any easier.” I said, laughing, as the last of my tears spilled onto the table cloth. The last of these truths, I could not deny as I played multiple scenes through my mind.
I had come from nothing, to so many things.I openly showed the almost ecstatic joy for life, that I possessed. I had been someone’s angel, and that was something to be proud of.
I had been ashamed, and hurt, for so long, when I should have savored the beautiful moments. I remembered them all now, and one in particular suddenly came to me;***She was looking at her baby brother for the first time. His head was covered with the darkest of hair. She watched his breathing in silent wonder, and trailed her small hand over his tiny head. This gift was somehow hers to cherish; and protect. Where he would fall, she would be there to catch him. He would be her closest friend; she would dedicate that to him. What little he knew of the love in store for him from the little girl. Standing over the cot, she would play music from her music boxes, and dangle her little feather for him to play with. She treasured him in every way she knew how. He wouldn’t know the pain she had experienced in her young life, she would see to that. Soon he would follow her everywhere. Sometimes she would find him crying, and she would take him into her arms, and sing to him until his tears subsided. She laughed when he would take her clothes and dress like her, or come crashing into her when he was afraid. He was, truly, the greatest love of her life. ***I came back to my present time, feeling strangely contented; though I had forsaken the little girl, with her agile and loving nature. I wondered if she could return to me, if she could enter my heart again. As soon as I wished for her return, I felt a tug on my sleeve.
The little girl had brought me something wrapped in a soft piece of black cloth. She smiled as she undid the ribbon, and the folds fell back to reveal the little feather. I took her hand in mine as she offered it to me, and held on a little, before she walked on her merry way again. I knew she would never stray as far again.
Somehow the old pain was subsiding, and at a faster rate than I thought possible.
I watched as Yesterday put more sugar in her tea. “She always had a sweet tooth,” I thought to myself, a tiny smile invading my face.
Yesterday looked at me and said sternly, “Forgive Yesterday, it may have harmed you, but it could never break you. You’ve always been too strong.”
I looked at Yesterday in confusion, and refused to believe in the strength she was describing of me. I got up from my chair and went to my window, and held the lace curtain with my trembling hands. Perhaps I found comfort in its touch.
“Don’t worry, you will believe it in time,” said Yesterday as she rose from her chair as well.
“Never feel shame for loving, in whatever form.” Yesterday told me, as she came closer, and without a word embraced me. Our body’s began to merge, as Yesterday slowly faded from my arms. Before Yesterday disappeared completely, I heard her whisper, “Yesterday loves you.” Light filled my entire being, as I became one with Yesterday once more, and though the sun had set, there couldn’t have been a brighter moment in my life.
Each week authors will be given a new question to answer which will lend additional insight into their story and writing process. Do you have a question you'd like to see the authors answer? Tweet it to @aNextAuthor!