The Cacti On The Kitchen Windowsill

Caution: Triggers? 16+ Psychological adult themes.

All I could think of was the cacti on the kitchen windowsill. The tiny prickly plant collection which I adored. Each cactus in a small clay pot – terracota, blue and yellow – with prickles fine or thick, long or short, dangerously sharp or fluffy. I’d gradually collected these spiny creatures ever since moving in with my lover. Each Saturday we’d go out food shopping and then stop off at the garden centre on the way home.

I was really happy – the first I had been in a long, long while. The difficulties in my life had never seemed to cease, and then I met him and I believed I had found my Home.

I lay in the bed, numb. Staring at the strange walls. I thought of my cacti and how they needed re-potting. Whether I was in bed, or sitting in the empty kitchen, or trying to warm my cold body in the old squishy armchair, my mind reverted to the cacti. I made attempts to focus on the new reality but my mind always looped back to the cacti on the kitchen windowsill.

I suppose I felt safe there.

Through the fog I glanced at the memories of my grandad and his love of plants. I would see him pottering in his tiny covered porch. Wooden shelves dusty with earth, and trays and trays – some neatly stacked, others filled with chocolate coloured soil, others still with pricks of green or containing the bigger seedlings. The mysterious seed packets with coloured pictures of flowers; their unassuming seeds sprinkled into the cup of his hand to show me, to share with me their secrets. I remembered sunshine and human warmth. My grandad, the only adult in my childhood who showed me constant affection.

Perhaps that is why I fixed on the cacti?

I had wept a monsoon the night before. The one I was in love with had shattered my dreams of him and me. I tried to make sense of what had happened but my mind was having none of it.

The cacti on the windowsill.

I reprimanded myself for not having re-potted them sooner. In my mind I lined up the potted plants on layers of newspaper on the kitchen counter. On the floor, nearby, was a bag of plant soil. I filled up the new and bigger pots with the soil, stood them on the newspaper. In each pot I made a deep hole in the substrate. With gloved hands and the small cacti enveloped in more newspaper, I carefully lowered them in, re-potted them. One after the other. Until each little character had moved into its new home. Safe and sound.

This scenario brought a smile to my face but my body was still chilled to the bone. I was no longer safe.

The cacti…

I wandered into the hall of the apartment that wasn’t mine, but was for now. My friend had brought me here; left me here alone. My body oh so sore, my face tender to touch.

I dared to look into the mirror hanging there.

The cacti on the kitchen windowsill.



If you, or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please get help. Tell someone you trust. Be informed what domestic violence is – and what you can do to leave. You are worth more than this. It’s not your fault. You do not have to stay and suffer. I am a survivor of domestic violence – I am glad beyond words that I left.

UK – Citizens’ Advice – domestic violence (lots of info here!)

USA – NCADV – advice and phone numbers

Australia – domestic violence advice

Canada – domestic violence help

If your country is not listed above, you can always use a search engine to find the help you need.



Kim Sielbeck – the paper cacti artist


RIP Prince. Gone too soon. Your Magic remains.


Words: 522

Writing inspiration: The lessons of life.




Copyright Faith McCord 2016

Story and artwork belongs to Faith McCord who is the author and artist holding the copyright. This is not a public domain work. Worldwide rights.


About Oscar Dandelion

Hi, I'm Faith McCord, writer of the Oscar Dandelion books. I love reading, writing, watching films, looking at architecture and general design, embroidery (especially Elizabethan), spending time with my family. I used to enjoy long walks, bodybuilding, going out, however, since my injury my mobility is seriously impaired, so I'm more of a home-body now. I'm interested in meeting other indie / pro writers, so do say 'Hello' ! :)
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31 Responses to The Cacti On The Kitchen Windowsill

  1. Merbear74 says:

    I am also a survivor of domestic violence. This was a powerful post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Merbear. 🙂
      Sorry to hear you went through this yourself.
      🐻 💛


      • Merbear74 says:

        Well, the important thing is that I left and started my life over. 🙂 ❤
        You can call me Mer if you'd like.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yep, Mer, that’s the main thing – moving on and leading a happier life. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Merbear74 says:

        Exactly! 14 years now for me. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • 12 years for me. But I think he still stalks me online. :/


      • Merbear74 says:

        How scary. :/

        Liked by 1 person

      • He couldn’t accept I left him. He started stalking me four years after I left, then I threatened him with legal action and the police, and blocked his emails. He was (is?) married and was saying he was coming to visit me. Then I had a two year break until he started up again. Blocked that email too. He couldn’t accept -me- being happy with someone else!


      • Merbear74 says:

        My ex and I had a child, my only daughter. I left him when she was five. He wasn’t happy about it at first and tried to get me to come back to him, but I was not taking him back.
        When my daughter was 10, he called child services on me with all sorts of lies. They investigated and found nothing. My daughter decided after that happened that she didn’t want anything to do with him. We haven’t seen him since 2008 and I haven’t gotten an email from him since 2010.
        I hope that he leaves you alone!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m glad that you and your daughter are able to live in peace without him now. What a petty thing he did to you – and it backfired on him! 🙂

        Before, my abusive ex was trying to befriend people I was friendly with online. He really is twisted. I’m glad I use my writer’s name on here. 😉

        Faith xo 🐻


  2. I love the colorful cacti! I never know what to expect from your amazing blog 😀 — love the unpredictability.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thumbup says:

    Got me all goose bumpy. So glad you out of this.
    Then at the same time I feel so furious at the person who frigging laid it’s filthy paws on you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am sorry to hear about your experience, I was in a violent relationship with my first boyfriend – it was extraordinary how quickly your self-esteem evaporates. Oddly enough it was when he bent down to stroke our dog gently, and the dog peed itself, expecting it to be another blow – I realised I had to get out. I had forgotten all about that – but reading your post reminded me. I realise just how blessed I am, thank you. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you got out. It saddens me when I hear of other people, like yourself, having been abused. I remember that unbelievable feeling I had when I was able to finally leave (I brought my dog too!), I’m finally safe! This is FREEDOM! I was an independent woman and it was so good being independent again. 🙂
      🐻 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Rose says:

    It is sad how many of us have experienced domestic violence. There is a process for us. We move from victim to survivor to victor to thriver. Finally, I am a thriver. Your writing proves that you are one, also.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Sassy Girl Embroidery says:

    I know too many women who are the victims of domestic abuse. Unfortunately they all have issues with emotional abuse and one sexual abuse and wont leave because they don’t believe they can make it on their own due to being put down. It’s so sad. Well written!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: This resonated with me | Resole your shoes

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