Our Free Write Friday prompt this week is a word bank…
sweet – lavender – flute – heir – willow – bask
You may use all six words if they fill in naturally OR you may work off only one if it better feeds your page. Take a moment, look them over and write…freely.
ON that morning, Sarah wakes to the smell of lavender. A sweet smell, full of the promise of spring, of life and new beginnings, and for this reason, something about it feels wrong. She feels forgotten in a fog, lost in a mist of memory, like she’s been cast way from a fantasy. She has woken suddenly, perhaps from a frightening dream, and yet she can remember none of it. Her racing heart and sweat-drenched sheets make her certain that she has awoken from a nightmare.
In the confusion of this sudden waking, she forgets where she is, the bed too small, the sheets too scratchy, the air too still, with no sounds of the city to ground her, help her to know where she is. But the shadow of the willow tree on the bedroom wall, dappling morning light onto the vines of tiny yellow roses on the paper she picked out with her father many years ago, brings her to that day, that morning, that moment. And quickly, her body feels leaden with grief and her heart hurts, as if bruised and beaten in a tumultuous game of all or nothing. She has lost.
She lies in the twin bed of her childhood home, but her father lies in a coffin. He is dead, and she has only just remembered it, although the tears that wet her face in grief the night before still leave their salty taste on her lips. Her nightmare dwells not just in her head, but swells all around her, and it is real, and it suffocates her.
She breathes in and out deeply, slowly, and the sigh fills the room like a mist, heavy and wet, and the room now seems so small and so lonely. She wills herself not to cry. The day’s tragedy has not even begun. Tears too soon promise an even longer day. If that’s possible.
She hears her little sister Kate playing the flute in the room next to hers. Sweet, high loveliness, notes floating on a breeze, cascading to a low, holding, skipping back up the scale and leveling off to one perfect note, held just a second short of too long but not a second long of perfection. Leave it to Kate to stick to a routine: flute practice in the morning, a light lunch, and then dad’s funeral at 2 p.m. Very proper, very organized.
But Sarah cannot fault her sister, for she is only ten, and she is very sweet, and their father is dead, and together, they are heirs of the profound loss in all of this.
Kate’s playing stops for a minute, just a brief silence and then the fanciful flume of notes takes off again. Sarah feels a burn at her eyes’ edges, hot pools of grief and anger, and slowly, her tears betray her. They sear tracks down her cheeks, hot and without apology. She slumps back in the bed, pulls the covers up to her head, and she basks in her own perfect grief.
Kate’s solo continues, chaperoning each girl separately with its sorrowful sound.