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.
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.
If your country is not listed above, you can always use a search engine to find the help you need.
RIP Prince. Gone too soon. Your Magic remains.
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.