Self Improvement Fiction posted October 9, 2022

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Everybody needs time to heal.

Didn't Have Time

by Elizabeth Strazisar

I watched the flower bloom every day. Every night. The soft colors that open and close. Open and close. Every day. Every night.

The sun sets over the horizon; a perfect end to the day. And I guess in some ways the day is ending. But for me it's only starting. Though starting is not a good word either. Resetting? Regenerating?

The gentle breeze blows my hair back. Ten years ago I would braid my hair tightly, coiled and dignified. I have long since let that part of me go. I have time. Time is all I have.

I have time to sit on the grass as the breeze lightly kisses my face. I have time to watch each and every star come out, memorizing where it is and what it is named. I have time when it is all over to take each strand of my hair individually and remove any tangle, and whilst I sit here I have time to think of the forgotten.

My gaze is taken to the watch on my wrist. The Roman Numerals that remind me of ancient ballrooms, or romantic tea parties in frilly dresses and sun hats. The hands that tick to the steady rhythm of the universe. The heartbeat of Mother Nature herself. Never stopping. Never faltering... until it does.

I have long ago said goodbye to sleep, deeming it as something that protects me from this world. Instead I stay awake in the field with this flower. My only friend. It is the only thing that has stayed. The only thing that has lived beside me.

He wraps himself in blankets, closing himself off to the chill of the night. Maybe that's why I come? To protect it? To protect him? His petals are fragile, susceptible to damage. That is what one would think. There's no real reason for my being here.

What if we did have time? What would happen then? I would sit beside you by the ocean shore, your hand in mine. I would feel the warmth that it brings like a soft summer's day. With the crashing of the waves and the salt in the air, you would be my rock to the waves and my honey to the salt. A perfect balance a perfect harmony. Tick. Tick... A perfect rhythm.

Maybe we would have the chance one day to make it to one of those ancient balls? We would gaze into each other's eyes as the world fades away. We would dress in your colors, of course, the pale yellow that glows after a fiery red... just like your petals. Tick. Tick.

You always loved those colors together. Soft with bright. Pale and pigmented. Total opposites, yet so close in nature.

They represented you.

The spirit inside you. Ablaze and free. Never quieted, never dull, never muddy. You let me see that. That flame that burned underneath hidden to everyone else.

And then, what you showed to the world... it wasn't quieted, dull, or muddy. It was gentle. It was kind. It was tender.

You were warm.

Tick. Tick.

I try to recall the moments as if they never happened, but they did. I thought they would fade just like this sunset of color. When they sky turned black for the thousandth time I thought my mind would go with it one day. Maybe the feeling would stop... memories would be forgotten. I thought that if I forgot, maybe the world would reset, and not like it's been happening for the last decade, but maybe for real.

Maybe the sky would light anew, and the clouds would have shifted. Maybe the geese that migrate overhead might actually make it south. Maybe the birds would sing different songs and the butterflies would finally hatch and spread their wings.

Tick. Tick.

But I'm stuck.

I'm stuck in a world that is not mine anymore. I'm stuck with the pain of the accident. I'm stuck with the memories of what had happened. And maybe that's why I'm here. Maybe that's why I avoid sleep. Maybe it's because every night when I would lay my head on my pillow I would weep until the pillowcase was soaked. Maybe it's because when I would drift into another world for a fraction of a moment you never escaped my mind.

Like a fire. Like a spirit. You were always there.
For years I battled with myself every day. Every night. I deemed you as a curse in my eyes. An anchor to something I did not want. I never wanted this, and yet... I'm stuck.

Tick. Tick.

Until I woke up. One day, five years ago. And although it was the same day... always the same day... the following day of the accident. I wasn't the same.

It was the first day I came outside. My skin had become pale and dry, craving and yearning for the sun. The warm sun. Warm. You were warm.

Tick. Tick.

I walked until I saw this empty field. It was right before the sea cliffs. The cliffs I wanted to take you to.

Tick. Tick.

I walked until my legs urged me to stop, like I was cast under a spell. But it was no spell, it was a blessing. My blessing.

Tick. Tick.

Folding my dress over my knees I hugged them close to my body. I stayed until evening. The day was warm, and gentle, and kind. You were warm, and gentle, and kind.

Tick. Tick.

And then I found you. Next to me, arms wide open. Your arms had turned to petals, showcasing the spirited personality and charm you had. Like a soft lullaby I watched as you sprouted, as you grew. And as you grew, I felt myself release. All the hate, all the anger, all the depression and paralysis that had overtaken me for five years.

It was time to let go, and when I did I came back every day, and every night. I lay beside you. Protecting you, guarding you, because from the moment you flowered I knew it was you.

Tick. Tick.

So I stayed. And today is ten years. Ten years from the accident. And every day for the past five, I have visited you, sat with you, laid with you. But today is the first day I have spoken to you. Today is the first day I have said all of what I had been feeling.

I must be silly, right? Talking to a flower.

Tick. Tick.

It's not like I will get an answer back, or... anything back, but like that day five years ago when I stepped outside... I feel free.

Tick. Tick.

And it will all be over soon. Restarted. Regenerated. And who knows, maybe I will say all of this tomorrow again?

Tick. Tick.

Because regardless of the past ten years of pain. Regardless of my world stopping. Regardless of the past ten years of my life being put on pause and replay, I would never trade it for anything.

Tick. Tick

The nightmares and memories threw me into a pit I never thought I could escape from, but it was in fact those very reasons as to why I found another way out.

Tick. Tick.

You might have died with the world that day, but your spirit never dies within me. And although we might not have had time to walk down the sea side cliffs holding hands or attended ancient balls staring into each other's eyes, I wouldn't have traded it for anything.

Tick. Tick.

I look back down at my watch 11:59, the second hand counting down the last ten seconds.

Tick. Tick.

I regain my voice, my throat closing up making it hard to swallow. Tears well in my eyes clouding my vision, but regardless of the tears and fading sky I can still see the fiery red and pale yellow of him.

Tick. Tick.

I had loved you, and I had lost you.

Tick. Tick.


Tick. Tick.

I will continue loving you today, tomorrow, and all the days that follow, forever today.

Tick. Tick.

It is done. I don't need to look at my watch to know that the second and minute hands are moving slowly backwards, getting ready for the next tomorrow, which is today.

I don't know when I made it back to my house, or when I climbed under the covers. All I know is that when I closed my eyes I felt free...

And when I woke up... I... I woke up? I had slept?

I get out of bed, look out the window and life started over.

Racing outside in the nightgown I had seemingly slept in, I run feeling the warmth of the sun that had never felt this warm before. I run out into the field and on my way there I can hear a song I've never heard before. Flowers that weren't here before have sprung up from under the soil. Colors dance in the air as butterflies spread their wings and take flight.

Then, I make it to you.


I see you... but you are not the same. The flower... you... that has been with me every day, now lies wilted in the bed of grass. I reach down cupping your drooping petals and frail stem.
There is silence, but not in the kind you would expect. For ten years I have lived in a stagnant melancholy of silence, but this silence is a mystery. One that makes me question the next step.

Then I hear it.

Tick. Tick.

The soft heartbeat of Mother Nature, and that too is different. It is not as loud. Not as pronounced. Instead of a countdown, it is... natural.

I pick up the flower, droopy and wilting. I take my time. I used to walk with the tick of my watch like a robot but now I doze in my steps. Some fast and filled with excitement, others slow and filled with solemnity. I take you to the sea cliff. My hand wrapped around the flower, and as I make my way down I think of what I would do if I didn't have that time. If I didn't have time to mourn, to suffer, to think. I would still be lost like I was ten years ago.

The sea makes its way to my feet, the smell of salt in the air. Before I let go I lift the flower to my nose. Sweet and sugary, like honey.

With one last tear I let go, and as the waves draw you away I know you will never be lost.
I will carry you in my heart. I loved you, I lost you. You found me, you healed me.

I am currently compiling a portfolio for scholastic art and writing and I'm having a hard time discerning which category this piece should go in.

I am leaning towards poetry. It has a lot of qualities that make it poetic, however I am concerned about the length.

For their guidelines and rulings it fits, however, I want some other people's opinions.

Thank you.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by avmurray at

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