Maryn. I am Maryn, and I wear a dress made of flowers. Real flowers so far as I can tell, but nothing has felt very real for quite some time. But never mind that. I choose the prettiest flowers on my Island, and I stitch the blooms into the kind of dress I want to wear.
When the flowers wilt, I am already dreaming of another dress I can create on this paradise. This is my life. Built from scratch. Every last piece of it.
Today, my dress is crafted with azaleas, all different shades. It wraps close against my skin and the flowery fabric skims the top of my bare feet.
The clouds overhead cast dark shadows on my dress, but I am determined to finish scavenging for tomorrow’s garment.
As I rummage through the tall grass for wildflowers, I think about Young Maryn. Young Maryn is who I used to be. She walks around like a reverie and invites herself along when I’d rather not have her for company at all. Her innocent, energetic words plague me, and I pull at the grass with frustration . . .
“I think I remember where the geraniums grow. It’s quite a long walk to the meadow, but if you start early, you’ll get there by dusk. Maybe even before this storm hits.”
I stare down at Young Maryn’s dress. A plethora of daisies weave in and out of dandelions with seeds that never seem to fly into the air. I criticize her garment and nervously bite my lip at this version of me. The part of me that used to be.
I don’t want to hear about the meadow. I used to treasure everything about that place, but it’s in my past and has been for many years. This Island is the best part of me now.
I hear Young Maryn changing topics and charging into all sorts of memories she will never let me forget.
“Remember when you watched the stars turn into morning light? Remember when you ran along the shoreline of Ocean and smiled for just a split second? Remember when you ran away from life out there and built an Island here instead?”
My hands grow clammy just listening to her rattle my memories back to me.
“Remember when you wore dresses you didn’t have to make? And remember how they lasted for years! Remember the meadow you loved? Remember when you admired flowers and danced to the music of sunsets? Remember how you sang off-key when you stared at the sky? Remember those times? Can we visit the meadow first, then go to Ocean?”
I glance down at the waistline of my hand-crafted dress. I need her to stop reminding me of so many things.
My hands grow tired of searching for wildflowers as I hear Young Maryn’s incessant chatter.
“STOP. JUST STOP!” I scream.
I yell at Young Maryn, “I DON’T WANT TO GO TO OCEAN. If I go, I may never make it to the other side. I’ll stay here in what I know, and I’ll love life because of it!”
I shake with rage and disappointment until I can no longer see Young Maryn anymore.
When the reverie of Young Maryn finally dissipates, I feel the first raindrop sink into my clammy skin. I’m proud of who I am. I love the things I make. I love this place built by me.
I trudge forward.
I can sense the geraniums are close, and though I silenced Young Maryn, I still want the geraniums she talked about.
I climb over the last huge rock to see the old meadow of my past. The meadow that Young Maryn never lets me forget. The meadow I used to love. The meadow I haven’t visited in years. It looks more real than any other part of my Island, but the meadow is far back in the past so the thought is ludicrous! I’m not even sure how I found it so easily, because I’ve kept it away like an old buried secret.
I force my eyes to focus, but I’m haunted by care-free twirls and orangey sunsets. I wish Young Maryn and all her memories would go away forever.
I stomp my way through the meadow, angry and uncomfortable. The ground is peaceful, unshifting, and I lose my balance because of it. I land next to a body which I assume belongs to Young Maryn. I scream at her to move, but all I hear is silence in return.
I get up and my brittle heart jumps into my throat. This is not Young Maryn. My whole life lurches forward, and I see an old woman lying at my bare feet. Her eyes bore into mine and I scream with fear at the resemblance between us. Her eyes are my eyes. Her dress is my dress.
This is Old Maryn.
Old Maryn is outlined by wilted geranium petals. She looks damp and decrepit–tangled between dead things. I turn to run. Out of the meadow. Away from Old Maryn—away from future me. But she grabs my hand. It’s cold and tired. I despise it.
Old Maryn whispers something, but I refuse to kneel down to hear what she is saying. I cover my ears because this is not what I want to see—not who I want to become or anything I was hoping for.
But Old Maryn’s hoarse voice reaches through the rain and meets my ears, anyway.
I hate what I hear.
Copyright © 2019 Sierra V. Fedorko, All rights reserved.