My name is Charlotte. My mom and dad live with me in my home at the edge of the forest. They always tell me that we are not rich but we are not the poorest. My mom likes to work with flowers, she tells me that she is called a florist. Our home is surrounded by so many pretty flowers, and whenever she comes home she always tells me about the smells and colors that she sees at work.
My dad is a business man so he talks to a lot to people about money. I don’t really know what he’s talking about but sometimes I think it’s funny. Sometimes I almost feel lonely, thinking about how little I know about what my dad is talking about. It’s almost like he’s talking to a mirror when he’s with me, he only sees what he sees, and I can’t do anything.
Both my mom and dad tell me each night that they love me. Both my mom and dad have always been by my side and always hug me. Sometimes when I’m in our garden looking at the flowers and playing with the dirt I tell myself that I want these days to never leave me. I know that I’m just a kid, they always tell me that I’m just a kid. But it isn’t fair that only the grown-ups make decisions and dreams and get into depression and deprivation and become dreary and desperate. Because of that, I have decided that from this day on I will be a grown-up. My mom and dad are both like me, and the only difference is that they don’t have to look up. But why can’t I do the things they do? Just because I’m a “kid” makes no sense to me. None of this makes any sense to me.
I grab the candle in our kitchen and search beneath the sink for a lighter. Since I am an adult from this day on I can do things that they would normally never let me do. I have always watched my mom and dad do things around the home that they wouldn’t let me do. I would always dream about someday being able to do those things. I fidget with the lighter and point it towards the candle. I press the button and the red flame from the lighter lights the wick of the candle. I place the lighter back beneath the sink and pick up my candle to walk across the kitchen. I make sure that my steps are light to not disturb my parents. The light from my candle illuminates my steps and I pretend as if I can only be seen with the candle in my hand. I pretend that the world around me is all but unknown territory, and that the only way a scary monster could catch me is if he finds my light land.
I walk across to the front door, and quietly turn the knob. It’s the thick of night outside and I know that my mom and dad both have to get up early for their jobs. The door creaks just a little as I begin pulling on the knob. I clench my teeth and close my eyes, but no one gets up to yell at me. I walk forward with the candle in front of me showing me where I go and if there is anyone there. The blue night wind blows against me and makes me shiver as I walk out of the door, closing it behind me. I never see the night very much, but when I do see the night I imagine it like the sink in our kitchen. The sink is made of reflective steel that never rusts. When I look at the sink it looks back at me, and when I touch the sink it is very cold to me. It will never change, and it will always be there, just like night. I walk down the doorsteps and onto the grass that surrounds our entire home and garden. There are big trees hiding our home but even so I look up to see the stars glistening back at me. Tonight is a beautiful night for my candle. I love my candle, and I always bring it whenever I can find the chance to get out. Otherwise, my candle will be put out, it will be dead and it will be lonely. I cherish the times I get with my candle.
Because I’m not out of the house much I walk around the first tree facing our home a few times before the blue night winds send shivers to me again. The first tree facing our home is a very big tree with two crosses planted in front of it like guards overseeing a prison. I smile looking at the crosses. They are friendly crosses and they are my friends. Whenever I find time to go outside they are always there to send me off. They don’t talk much, but they are people who I love. Whenever I see them, I always find myself clasping my hands together. I clasp my hands as I place the candle on the ground and begin to tell the crosses about my day. I tell them about how I woke up to the birds singing. They were singing a melody of cold blue nights and warm red days and somewhere in-between a white spring. I spent most of my days reading wordless books and drawing pictures with the color of the crayons dried. Sometimes I would watch the windowsill as a centipede crawled its way over from one end to the other. Sometimes I would think that if I tried I wouldn’t be able to not cry. I could feel it as I wake up and walk to an empty kitchen the tears welling up within me but the crosses don’t pry. I tell them because I love them.
I pick up my candle and walk to the back of the house where I usually go when I find my way outside. Our garden was the best garden in the entire forest, it was filled with vegetation and life and there was no way someone wouldn’t be amazed unless they were cross-eyed. I make my way to the patch of dead petals sitting on the small buds of poppy. Whenever I think of the people in the world beyond my forest, I always think that they live such funny lives. The people who have bad eyes, bad legs, bad arms, bad hearts, are living such funny lives. But my laughter is not to make fun of them. I laugh at the dead petals of poppy, but I pick them up and clean up the buds. I laugh at them because they need some laugh in their life. After I bury the petals in the ground I move on to the sunflowers at the other end of the garden. I was trying to grow sunflowers because my mom tells me that the sun is usually hidden by the forest around us. I want to impress her and tell her that I’ve brought the sun to us. The sunflowers are wilting, and I pick up the dead petals of rusted yellow so I can bury them in the dirt facing them.
Today I find the garden boring. Usually I don’t, but maybe it is because I am an adult. I can be doing much more things now that I am an adult. I look at my candle and laugh at the flickering of the tiny flame. It wants to lick my face, but I know that it’s just my candle being lonely. My candle will die soon if I leave it outside too long, but I want to bring it to one more place before it dies. I want to have it with me when I do something like I am an adult.
I walk to the crosses facing our home and place the flames to the ground between the crosses. I then jump across the flame, pushing past the crosses and pick up my candle as I move past the tree facing our home. I find myself in a forest I’ve never been in, but because I’ve never been in this forest it makes the walk much more exciting. I find myself laughing again. I like to laugh, and my mom and dad and candle and crosses and poppy and sunflowers know I like to laugh. I laugh a lot to them, and for them.
My candle dances wildly in the forest. I try to calm my candle from being too scared of the darkness around us. I keep imagining that no one can see us, no scary monsters can catch us, because our light land is our land. They can’t reach out from the dark to peer open our hearts, and if they enter our light land we will run. They can’t reach out from the dark to peer open our heads, and if they enter our light land we will run. They can’t reach out from the dark to peer open our minds, and if they enter out light land we will run.
My candle never stops dancing as I continue to push past tree branches that fall near my face. I look down to see rocks jutting out from the ground that want to stab my feet. The forest is telling me to go back home but I walk forward and I don’t look back. I continue to walk forward and push past the trees only to see a path that is cracked. The trees split off to the left and to the right, and my candle is swaying behind me. I tell my candle not to fear the night, or the forest, or the scary monsters lurking beyond our light.
I take a step towards the path to the right, and the forest bunches up like moths to a flame. It blocks my step and my candle’s light and it tells me to go the other way. I take a step towards the path to the left, and the forest bunches up like moths to a flame. It blocks my step and my candle’s light and it tells me to go the other way. I look back to where I came from, and I know that the forest won’t let me leave, it won’t be swayed. My candle is now still and it doesn’t want to dance anymore. It knows that I can’t go further anymore, it knows that if I try it’s all a waste. I couldn’t be an adult today. My mom and dad are waiting for me back at our home. The crosses facing our home know that it didn’t need to follow me because I’ll be back at our home. My candle was dancing wildly but even it knew that I’d be back at our home.
As I take a step towards the path back to our home, my candle flickers again. The light dances in the blue cold night and I know that it doesn’t have much time left. I run back down the path, knowing that if my candle were to die that the scary monsters in the dark can reach me now. I run and I run, and my candle’s light flickers and wails and it’s screaming because its life is about to be bereft of light. I run knowing that if I can’t see my steps that I might get lost and if I get lost that I know that the dark will reach me now. My candle dies. I stop, and I listen to my candle crying out in the dark. The scary monsters will reach me now, and they will not stop. I put my candle down, and wait. If I wait, my mom and dad will find me. If I wait, the crosses facing our home will find me. I don’t want the scary monsters to reach me, because if they reach me, I’ll be just like them.