I watch as a crystalline rivulet of water rolls it's way languidly down rich, succulent rose petals, stained a vibrant ruby red. As said droplet travels south the petals dip and yield to the gentle caress it offers. I continue to observe - enraptured - as the flora unravels, almost sighing in pleasure as it's petals unfurl, releasing with it the sweet, potent aroma in which it has to offer. The scent momentarily overwhelms me, fills my nostrils and whispers sweet nothings into my ears: tinkling sighs - whimpers of delicacy and affection.
However, the moment the rose opens itself, revealing it's incomparable beauty, a bumblebee lands on it, brutally trampling his hairy, pollen coated legs all over it. The rose itself begins to quiver, it's maroon skin flushing a darker shade of crimson as it flutters, struggling to close itself from this insect, this invader. It's a futile effort, because as quickly as the bumblebee drinks the roses nectar, it's gone. Vanished. Disappeared.
I continue observing this plant ( a female rose, I decide.) feeling unparalleled waves of rage and shock when I notice her first petal fall without a sound, toward the ground; drifting to her inevitable death. I note, again and again as she starts to crumble before me, layers upon layers of her body fluttering, and then giving up, dropping to the ground with no more than a whisper of a sound. My fingers itch to save this poor helpless flower, I yearn to do so, so much in fact that a cry tears it way out of my throat. I lurch forward, desperate to catch the remaining petals, willing to do anything to put this ethereally beautiful flower back together… but the moment I feel movement in my body, the scene I'm witnessing morphs into something of nightmares. The field in which the flower resides is no more - in it's place is ink, a black so dense that I can't be sure there's anything there, or if it's just nothingness.
Now, let me just say, normally I pride myself on my unwavering determination and courage, in fact I was once compared to steel, with my iron will and metallic fortress that kept my emotions in check - well guarded. However, I felt something akin to overwhelming grief as I continued to watch, helpless as the rose changed colour; from a beautiful and voluptuous rouge, to a sickly yellow and brown. It started like an illness, spreading from vein to vein, artery to artery - travelling with unrelenting hands through the entirety of the flower, transforming her, from healthy and glowing into a wrinkled, crumbling husk, reminiscent of my old mothers face. Sagged leather falling from a pile of bones, blotched with brown and illness. The petals remaining on the flower now crumble into a fine dust, and scatter around, fine specks of a life missed, unappreciated potential, and just as I begin to tremble and sob, the blackness is overridden by a light so bright that it overwhelms me, bringing with it the sterile smell of bleach, and the steady crescendo of mechanical beeps…
Another dream, another day in this god forbidden place. I open my eyes blearily, wincing as the light burns my retina. I sit up, moaning in agony as I quite literally hear my joint and bones creaking in protest. Shakily, I bring my own gnarled hand to my face ( a face in which is now more knobbly, wrinkled wood than the once plump and soft skin it used to be…) and I wipe the thin sheen of sweat coating my upper lip. As if like clockwork, I swallow, noting the razor blades sitting in my throat, and a nurse walks in, with a tray of pills and water. I briefly notice that the nurse is a man. What are you a woman? I say, Shouldn't you be scratching your arse, not poncing around doing a womans job? my voice sounded scratchy and vicious - exactly how I intended. I note with morbid pleasure as the smile on his face changes - becomes forced, doesn't quite reach his eyes.
With a crackling laugh, I take the water and pills, paying attention only to which order I take them. I choose to start from small to large, also keeping in mind the alphabetical order of the chemicals within them. I struggle with the one of the larger ones. I reach for the biggest and last of my pills. Feeling the film coated medication within my fingers, I gasp as I accidentally pop the tablet open, and panic as I expect to see the white powdery substance fall all over my lap… But it never comes, and I'm left staring, mouth agape as I realise that it's empty - they were all empty.
I look up to see that the nurse has left, and my chest gives a tight constriction, my eyes stinging in unison as they fill with tears. I don't care, I'm not lonely, I'm not lonely. I say to myself, and I shake my head to rid myself of these confusing feelings. Men are useless to me, only good for fixing cars, as I used to say to my daughter.
My heart gives a lurch at the thought of her - I've not seen her since I've been admitted to hospital.. Since Gilead began snaking its way into the young and impressionable minds of egotistical, power hungry men, and it makes me sick at the thought of all the corruption that has managed to fully infiltrate our society. I had once dreamed of a utopia run by women, filled with women, using men only for children.
Not that it really matters. I think to myself again, wryly. Your dying anyway, you old fool, the medication was a ruse, you have no chance. This is them punishing you.
I want more than anything to crumble and break at this thought - that I'll never see my child again, that I'll never have the chance to argue my views with her - mine empowering towards women… and hers, well… quite simply ludicrous. I mean what kind of self respecting woman allows a man to cook for her, for heavens sake?
I feel a sickening pain in my chest - from illness or regret, I can't differentiate - as I think of what she'd say now, to my views. Happy now, Mother? Your dream has come true, I suppose. A paradise she'd spit has been created. Only, it's ruled by men… all because of women like you! Happy are you? I hope you choke on your happiness you old witch!
Of course she'd not say this to me, she would stroke my hair, and try to fill the loneliness I've felt for so very long, she'd coo, and say 'hush now', until I fell asleep, a quivering mess in her arms yet again, and then, with that one final moment of enlightenment, I'd die.
I like to think she'd cry.
Though I suppose I'm already dead to her - she's obviously been brainwashed by these men. She always was very pliable - she let Luke into her life, with all of his lies and baggage without a second thought…
I close my eyes, momentarily allowing my brain to empty itself of thoughts, intent on getting up afterwards to demand answers that I know I wont get. I find my resolve wavering however, as a flash of brown hair flutters across my eyes, and a tinkling, carefree laugh fills my ears. When she was young, she used to ask me why she didn't have a Father.
A man is just a woman's strategy for making other women. Not that your father wasn't a nice guy and all, but he wasn't up to fatherhood, I'd tell her, try to give her the feeling of female empowerment. She never bought it.
Not even for a second.
I used to say she could have anything in the world that she wanted, and most of all, what I wanted for her was freedom to live her life however she chose, for her to take full reign of the gifts she'd been given - to follow in my footsteps - to become a strong, independent woman, the kind in blazers and trousers, or pencil skirts and the shirts that accentuated the curves and undulations of a woman's body, made her strong, and above all superior.
I cry openly now, at the thought of her withering away in a castle tower, never getting rescued, but more importantly, never rescuing herself… I used to secretly admire her femininity, her soft way of speech, her unwavering love and acceptance for those around her, even men. Now, I resent it, because she'll never break free of the restraints holding her down.
I laugh bitterly causing my chest to rattle, the sound of blood splattering out of my mouth and onto the pristine white sheets. I don't care, fuck the sheets, with their gleaming white. Deceiving me with a false sense of hope.
I lay down, overcome with pain, with so many feelings. Years of repressed emotion. I can't quite believe that this is me feeling all of this, giving in to what I've for so long managed to hide with a stern look and a sharp tongue.
I'm not sure now if my eyes are closed, or if I cannot see. It doesn't faze me, after all, it doesn't matter… there's no great enlightenment - no otherworldly sense of peace filling my chest, only regret and fear for my child. As the steady rhythmic beating of the machine I'm hooked up on slows, and the darkness really surrounds me, I only feel remorse and guilt. I think of the rose suddenly, and I finally understand what it represents. It represents all of womankind, their brief unfurling and glory, and then this.. Their death. Their punishment for daring to be something, to be more; and how that fucking bumblebee is man, is Gile-fucking-ad: their selfishness and jealousy personified.
My last breath rasps out of my chest and my last thought and testament is this, however pitiful:
There is no hope, and as a Mother, I've done nothing for my child - I put those shackles around her myself.
This was originally a creative writing piece for my A Level English Literature, however apparantly it wasn't in Atwoods style, and their wasn't sufficient reference to the text. In my teachers words: 'This read beautifully like a novel, however a novel of yours, not the author.' So instead of submitting it and failing, I thought I'd post it on here so as not to waste it. Thanks for reading!