I was part of this big beautiful family, "picture perfect", they said. Every word you said, analysed. Every decision you made, analysed. Every book you read, you guessed it, analysed. I hated it! My cousins and their beautiful frame, or my sister being praised for her Albert Einstein level achievements. Nothing I did was good enough for them.
It was that time of year when everyone gathered in my grandmother's old dusty house to await their award for the sky-high tasks they've completed. I was the ugly duckling walking in their shadows. No, that was a lie; I was hiding in their shadows.
I roamed around my grandmother's poorly aged house. It was old, ancient even. Fractured porcelain dolls followed me. Her terracotta vases screamed at me. Nobody was nearby. To my left and to my right old wooden doors, with intricate metal swirls, called for me to open them. The chandelier which lined the house's many hallways clinked and clanked. The music from the living room roared, but I felt alone. The carpet had stains of who knows what, and the windows, oh the windows were much worse; they were splintered into millions and millions of pieces. I walked back the way I thought led to the garden, but suddenly the music quieted, and the only thing I could hear was the howling of the wind. A bookshelf lay against the wall in front of me; it had books dating back to 1040.
"I knew my grandmother was old, but not this old." When I decided, once again, that this place was no different from last year, I began my journey to the garden. But, something illuminated and caught my eye; it pulled me. My feet brushed the carpet, and I found my way to the exquisite item. The box was unique, no, magical. It was petite, had tiny specks of gold, and ancient symbols sprinkled on its cover.
"Finally, something cool", I thought. A sharp wind grazed my shoulder, and immediately my grandmother was behind me.
She said, "do not open that little box, little girl".
I thought, "what person would tell someone to not open something and expect that person not to open it." I nodded my head slowly and waited for her to back away. I slipped the intricate box into the pocket of my apple green coat. When no one was looking, I jogged past a window and made my way to the front yard.
"No one can find me here", I thought. I opened the aquamarine box and found some black thread.
"Nothing special", I said to the wind, but that one sentence changed EVERYTHING.
It was as if something answered me back in a hushed eerie voice. It echoed, "you better run little girl". I closed the box, and like any ten-year-old would do, "I made a run for it".
I glanced behind me to where I left my grandmother's box. It. Was. Gone. I ran inside the house, hoping I could lie my way out of it. "It's not like she can see well anyway", I thought as I made my way to the dusty kitchen. It was decorated in rusted metal to match the house's theme; decay. I glanced behind me once again to make sure that there was no evidence of me walking out. I saw something this time. Something weird. No black. My peripheral vision began to blur, and I felt something pierce my eyelid. "OW!!" I screamed as a needle punctured a hole, and again and again until I could see no more than shadows. Blood dripped to my fingers. I could feel the warm liquid squish and squash as I rubbed my thumb and pointer finger together. I wiggled and kicked, but the black silhouette just seemed to get closer and closer. A zigzag line was the only indication I had to assure myself that I wasn't completely blind. BLIND. "How did that happen?" I thought as I felt something pull on me, HARD.
Someone took me. No, she did. I HATE her. I saw her black curly hair in the shadows behind my eyes. Slithering black thread decorated my eyelids. I was tied to a chair. Lonely chains gripped my hands. Old, sour cloth covered my mouth. Dust peppered my golden blond hair.
I heard a whisper from the wind. It said, "I told you to run, but foolishly you decided not to".
I replied, "SHUT UP!".
The wind instantly quieted, but I had awoken something much more violent. No, mean. No, malicious. Something that had the thirst of blood no monster under the bed could defeat.
Its sly voice roared, "what did you say? ". My heart raced, palms sweated, and legs trembled as the merciless creature approached. Any sense of bravery I had built up to attack that whispering wind had died, and I was no bigger than a speck of pepper.
I realised that I had no idea who "she" was. I travelled back in time in my thoughts, hoping I could remember the sadistic idiot who sewed my eyes shut. The only thing giving me strength was the fact that "she" didn't annihilate my eyeball. The needle was so thin I didn't see it coming. The black thread, that stupid black thread, sewed my eyes shut, but who was the seamstress? She must be happy with her creation, seeing as a big black blob stood in front of me. She was obese and…
"Had. Black. Curly. Hair." I know who she is; it was my GRANDMOTHER'S doing.
My grandmother approached me in slow, heavy footsteps. Thump. Thump. Thump. She HATED me. I knew it! She always preferred my cousins with their fantastic posture and flawless confidence. I envied her love for them. It was ALWAYS about them. But, what about me? I'm a grandchild too, aren't I? I don't love her anyway; at least that is what I tell myself when the praise my perfect cousins get creeps up to my heart like a knife ready to stab it. She wants my heart dead, bloodless, and limp. I don't know much about love, but I know it's not sewing someone's eyes SHUT.
"How are you, little girl?" my grandmother slurred.
"How do you think?" I was replied with both a slap and reprimanded.
"Don't be crass or your mouth will be next." I quickly shut my mouth, knowing that she practices what she preaches.
I chose a different route, "Why do you hate me?" But, I still struck a nerve.
"Did I say that I hated you?!"
"No, but you never said that you didn't. I mean you did sew my eyes shut." I was almost a hundred percent sure that as those words left my mouth, I wouldn't only be blind but also mute. I distorted my face and braced myself for the impact of the sharp needle and the sting that accompanied it like a two in one deal. But, the black figure slouched and found a seat in front of me.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you." Her words sounded sincere but laced with malice. "You're just so much like me, and I have experienced HORRIBLE things because of my disobedience."
I wouldn't show her how hurt I was. How agonising it has been throughout these years of hiding under the shadows of my cousins. Because how much gratification would she feel if I did that? A. Lot. What kind of "sorry" was this?! I wasn't taking it, not after everything she has put me through, but surely if she blinded me, she could undo it? I would put up with her for just a few more minutes and run. RUN. The wind wasn't my enemy; SHE was.
"I will only forgive you if you unblind me." I said it exactly as I had rehearsed.
She didn't reply, but I felt the silky thread slip past each hole. A tingling sensation rippled through my body as each stitch was removed. I opened my eyes to see my captor with a humongous grin. Whatever I did seemed to amuse her. There were no holes present on my eyelids; it was as if nothing had happened. My "supposed to be" grandmother then worked on the chains linking my hands together. The rusty metal scraped my wrist, but the chains did not loosen.
"Do you think I'm stupid little girl?!"
This time she didn't have to do anything. No needle or thread would satisfy her more than winning. I couldn't stop myself as waves of tears came. They made a path through my face and down my lap. It was cold, wet, and heartbreaking. Just. As. I. Had. Planned.
She positioned her face so that she could look into my blue-green eyes, and as much as I wanted to whip her away using my long hair, I allowed her to inspect the damage she's done. Wrinkles decorated her poorly aged face, and I couldn't help but think that I was not going to end up like that. But she left the room anyway. Little did I know that she had unlocked the cuffs binding me to the chair and left me to run away peacefully; it was her form of surrender.
The words of the wind spoke once again, but this time in a calming melody. "Although you do not forgive me, you will always have a place in my heart." She was the wind, and at the bottom of my heart, I could love her too.