AAWC Challenge 2016
(Team mascot included)
The dainty floral teacup in my hand shakes ever so slightly as my brown eyes stare into the blazing fire. I correct my posture for the thousandth time in the velvet armchair that I’m sitting in. I look around the living room at all the little things that I love dearly. The little wooden cuckoo clock, the decorative mantle above the fireplace, and the lovely little book shelf in the corner.
I smooth my green dress with my small, pale hand as I exhale weakly. I love this room, but it occasionally pushes me over the edge somehow. It numbs me to the much greater beauty beyond, and makes me forget that better things exist.
I clench the handle of my teacup one more time, wondering if I can stand being in this room for the rest of the evening. The monotonous ticking of the clock makes me want to do something wild. My heart thumps louder and louder. I know what I need to do. I know that I must escape. It’s calling me.
I tiptoe out of the room and into the front foyer. I slip on a shawl and open the creaky front door as quietly as possible. I stand on the front porch and pause for a split second. Then I’m off. I don’t dare to look back; not even once. My raven hair streams behind me as I increase my speed. My bare feet beat rhythmically against the plush lawn until I reach the woods.
I begin my journey through the dark forest, breaking off twigs and leaves as I go. I step onto the soft moss, taking care to avoid the thorns and twigs. I keeping moving, breathing the intoxicating night air in deeply. When I reach my destination, my cheeks are vibrantly pink from the exercise. I look up at the reason that I am here. I’ve reached the gates of my escape. The moonlit garden.
I open the gate that no one else touches, and feast my eyes upon the garden no one else sees. I enter and take my place on the cold, metal bench by the back wall. The moonlight reflects vividly off of the white roses surrounding me. My eyes follow the vines on the walls all the way up to the sky. The stars sparkle like specks of paint on the dark canvass. The pattern of Orion in the stars immediately jumps out at me and greets me like an old friend. The slice of moon arcs elegantly across the sky, reminding me of a swan’s graceful stature. It glows ever so softly, yet it lights up the whole garden. How does it do that?
I marvel in the beauty of the night, soaking in the moment of silence. This is where I can be me. I don’t have to be a perfect hostess here. I don’t have to entertain others that only gossip about my mistakes. When I’m in the garden, I’m just a girl in a green dress. I go back to the way things used to be. My mind returns to a simpler state, and I can just live. In moments like these, I don’t mind stress and worry. Anxiety doesn’t exist. Peace prevails. I just reflect over my corner of the Creator’s masterpiece.
Is there a way for me to catch this moment in time and store it away? Can I capture this emotion in a photograph? Can inspiration be saved by a photo? I want to stay here forever, and live in this bliss always.
As I question myself, I know subconsciously that life doesn’t work that way. So my heart stores away the inspiration as well as I can for my mind to remember in the trials. I know that it’s not setting that creates inspiration. True, there are moments where inspiration feels stronger, but it hasn’t really grown stronger. It’s strength comes when I’m looking for it. It resides in those who have the right perspective. No matter what the circumstance, the artist can find inspiration in its midst.
The night’s breath blows over me and brings me out of my head and back into the world. I flutter my dark lashes like the shutter on a camera. I safely store the detailed picture away in my mind.
I know that it is time for me to go home. They’ll notice that I’m missing.
I tiptoe out of the garden as quietly as I entered it. I shut the metal gates, and peer through an opening in the gate to glance at the garden one last time. I smile knowingly. I’ll be back. As I begin my walk home, I breathe a sigh of relief. I feel alive again. I can go home and play the part that I’m supposed to play for a day or two more.
The towering mansion comes into sight, and I brace myself to enter. Then I stop for a moment and smile mischievously at a thought. I may live in a mansion, but my mind doesn’t have to. As long as I keep these photographs in my mind, I am free. I’m just a girl in a green dress, and inspiration is where I live.