Rosaleen ran her fingers along with the wrinkly wallpaper of her grandmother’s home. The stale yet familiar scent filled her senses as she looked around the old mansion. The air was cold, digging into her skin like blunt needles as she slowly walked around and relived the early memories of her past.
Rosaleen remembered the smell of freshly baked oatmeal cookies as she walked into the cold kitchen, warm memories of the taste of milk and oats resting on her tongue like it was yesterday. The once glossy coat of the dining table was now a dull brown, faded like the paint on an old white fence. Images of plates stacked high with diverse sweets flashed in her mind as she ran her fingers along the edge of the table, planting the slightest bittersweet smile on her delicate face.
Rosaleen remembered the sound of child-like laughter as she stepped into the musty living room, beautiful memories of the fun and games she and her grandmother, played together re-enacting themselves in the dusty place. The once-plush furniture felt stiff as she sat down, the wood creaking as if it would break down at any moment. Shutting her eyes lightly, Rosaleen allowed the sensations of the surroundings to sink in like liquid into the carpet. Funny, she remembered once spilling her juice onto the rug and covering it up with an old blanket. She wondered if the stain still lingered in the old carpet, or if her grandmother discovered it and cleaned up after her.
Rosaleen remembered the stories she was told as a child when she stepped into her old bedroom, distant memories of her grandmother’s elderly yet melodic voice resurfacing and playing in her ears like an ancient lullaby. The room was cold and dimly-lit, yet somehow still made the teenager feel safer than she had in many years. Rosaleen crawled into the old blankets, the musty scent fillings her senses, and covered herself with the soft cloth before shutting her eyes. She had no intention of falling asleep, basking in the late memories, but her body shut-down with her eyes like it did when she was younger.
A girl manifested in front of Rosaleen, looking like herself but much younger. The girl had a broad grin on her face, sparkles in her eyes that glowed an emerald sheen, and beautiful brown hair. The sight put a bittersweet smile on Rosaleen’s face, remembering just how care-free she was at that age. But it twisted her heart to know that she was far from care-free now. The girl that stood in front of her was no longer herself. Her eyes were filled with tears that eternally fell, her face twisted in numbing agony, and her mouth opened in a silent scream for help.
What had changed her? What had turned her from an innocent little girl to someone who has seen too much? She did not know, but she did understand that there was no turning back. The scars seemed to twist and dance, carving themselves into the young girl that stood before her. Rosaleen watched in agonizing horror as that same girl slowly changed into a reflection of herself, someone with wounds in her mind and never-falling tears lost in her dull green eyes. How did such a wonderful young girl, fade into this lifeless and hollow doll?
Rosaleen blinked herself awake to find the faint dancing of the lit candle sitting on her old bedside table. She could feel the drying tears that stained her cheeks as she sat up, hugging the old blanket closer to her body as if it was her grandmother. The tears began falling once more, dripping into the fabric despite her desperate tries to stop them from flowing. Clutching her knees close to her chest and covering herself with the cold blanket, she dug her face into them to muffle her cries.
“You taught me everything, Nana, except how to love myself when you can’t.“