Status: i accidentally deleted this so yay for having to repost it, am i right? +always looking for constructive criticism, so don't be afraid to comment! pls try not to be a silent reader ♡+

Where Poppies Grow

Peace and Quiet

There was a cemetery near my house. It’s been there for a long time. My city is old - back in the day it was known for iron and textile production. I felt old too, but that’s probably because I was lonelier than your average fifteen year old. And much like an old man, I had a preference for the peace and quiet.

But peace rarely visited my childhood home.

“Pack your shit and get out of my house.”

“You need to take a breath, Anna.”

“And you need to not fucking touch me!”

The door to my bedroom and the window curtains inside remained shut. Avoiding my parents crumbling marriage was as easy as writing stories that never ended and by stifling their shouts out of my ears with headphones.

That day my headphone cord was chewed through by my cat, Earlgrey. I sat on my floor with him in my lap and my back against the door. His tiny black paw swiped at my chin playfully as my eyes bore into the ceiling, ears fully open to the catastrophe happening down the floral patterned hallway, festering in the kitchen.

It was around the time Facebook was beginning to get popular. I guess my dad was good at finding friends on it.

“Nothing ever happened. It’s just the internet.” My dad was trying to calm my mother down.

‘Just the internet?’” Mom mused. “And you need to just shut the fuck up.”

He was failing at it miserably.

Whenever they heard a door creek open, their tirade would cease. They must have been convinced my room was made of soundproof walls. Beautiful silence and blinding light from the rest of the house greeted me. I rubbed the sunlight out of my eyes and waited there for them to consider the coast to be clear and resume where they left off.

“Poppy will hear you.”

"That never stopped you before. Is shame the only thing that bothers you, Jesse?” I doubted either of their propensities for experiencing shame.

The front door was inviting me to walk out of it. If I disappeared, maybe they’d finally coexist and work together to find me - if they ever stopped arguing to figure out I was missing in the first place. But the front door was in the kitchen and walking through the battlefield of tension and dishes waiting to be used as ammo didn’t seem worth it to reach freedom. I was not a fighter.

The sun flickered through the bathroom window that was above the toilet, as if to remind me it was there. I stood still for a second, examining it, then ran back into my room to put on my sneakers. I gave Earl a pat on his head.

“I’ll be back in a little bit, bud. Hold the house down while I’m gone, yeah?” His bat-like ears twitched, and he meowed.

Standing on the toilet was not a good idea. It wobbled too much, but I was trying not to think of cracking my head open on the aluminum floor. My fingers gripped onto the lip of where the window was and I stood on my tiptoes to reach the safety lock on the screen. My mom taught me how to get outside through our old-fashioned windows in case of emergencies. I pushed the bar handle so the glass opened outwards, leaving a gap for me to slide through.

Hoisting myself up was the hard part - I had zero arm strength. After flailing around like a fish I finally hooked my heel over the ledge. With a little more hopping on the toilet, I sighed out of relief when I felt the air against my ankle. I was half free. Straddling the window sill, I looked down at the dead, dead, dead flower garden mom used to keep.

I swung my other leg over the ledge, and then dropped down. My feet landed safely on the corpses of old lilies. The sun bathed me, soaking into my jean capris and black tank top. I still felt cold.