Orchid Thirst by Ashlie Allen

typewriter

I heard my orchids screaming last night. They were angry I did not kiss them and spit blood on their pistils. My body was numb from the combination of red wine and rum. The day had been full of anxiety, so I made the decision to exhaust myself with harmful liquid.

I remember glancing at the clock and seeing a tiny glare of myself stretched across the bed. Though I was unbearably drowsy, I managed to gasp at the sight of myself. My bones were showing, my face appearing like the opening of a cave, a gaping shadow in my jaws. My limbs were like weeds, fragile and extremely narrow. “Oh.” I moaned. “That is not pretty.” The flowers were thin too, but they were beautiful.  Me, I looked like an exhumed creature.

I purchased the orchid plants on a Tuesday evening. I was thinking about my childhood and how my mother always used to keep flower pots on the porch, and I wanted to re-create that lovely view on my own porch. They were on sale near the front of the Nursery. Their pale pink color made me involuntarily grab my mouth and sigh. When I knelt to pet their petals, they whispered “Take us with you. We are so depressed here.” “I am sad everywhere, so I understand.” I replied as I lifted them from the ground and took them to the cashier. “Hopefully I do not make you unhappy at our home.”

They didn’t like water. I poured it on them every morning, but they yelled that is was disgusting. I felt helpless, not knowing what else flowers could drink. I took the watering can, tossed it into a thorn bush and started crying. They stared at me, too cold to say any words to comfort me. That’s when I jumped into the thorn bush and began squeezing the branches until my hands bled. “Yes, that’s what we like.” The flowers finally spoke. “Lift your hand into the sun light so we can see.” I obeyed, raising my hand into the tangerine rays until the blood on my hands sparkled like a wet piece of rubellite.  “Delicious. Let that drip onto our heads.”

I stood for an hour letting my blood spill onto them. By the time they were finished drinking, their salmon color disappeared, turning into a dark shade of burgundy.  Ever since they have started drinking from me, they have grown six inches longer. At night I see their swaying shadows and think there’s several skinny demons outside.

Yesterday when I went to check the mail, I noticed one of the orchids sagging to the left. I dropped the envelopes, ran towards the pot and grabbed the fractured stem, trying to revive it. “Oh, but it’s obvious you are broken!” I shouted. “Why do I try to make it better?” “Because you love us.” The orchid beside the injured one said. “And you have no other buddies.” I didn’t realize I was staring into human like eyes within the pistil of the talking flower until I saw a red tear spill from its pupil. “I feel sorry for you.” The orchid went on, its voice very childish and sorrowful. “But we need more or else death will fertilize your garden.”

It was in that moment, after the flower’s words that I realized I had forgotten to hydrate the plants for two nights, having been too intoxicated from Merlot and anxiety medicine. “I am disgusting! I have been unaware of my carelessness. Do I seem that miserable to abandon my only friends? Or was it the stupid combination of bitter drink and poison substance? “ I was talking to myself, the dead orchid in my hands, its petals falling between my fingers as I swayed across the yard like a ghost trying to find freedom in the wind. “Here, I’ll give more to you all. I am going to the thorn bush now.” I tossed myself into the bush, letting the thorns stab every inch of my body until the pain made me pale and the thorns looked like part of me. “Come drink from my veins, arteries and mind. You’ll find much blood especially in my mind. It has been bleeding a long time.” The flowers were moving; I could hear them walking through the grass. I giggled as I felt them feeding on my limbs, chest and neck. The one who had spoken to me sipped from my bottom lip like she wanted me more than a flower could possibly want a human, desperately and naughtily. “But there is ugliness everywhere.” I sighed as the flowers attacked me. “That is why I do not care to be in this fatal situation. In fact, I like what is happening. Make me die faster, my delicate babies.” I laughed and laughed at the sensation of their soft bodies until I could no longer feel my own.

Ashlie Allen

 

5 thoughts on “Orchid Thirst by Ashlie Allen

  1. The writing is delicious and deftly sublime and I was drawn into the story by the compounding melancholy. I could feel the struggle, the moment of being asleep but wanting to be awake, as if trying to be free from a recurring dream that ends in a happy release after the nightmare. There are senses of suppressed feelings of guilt and helpless submission with failures of responsibility towards those who demand dependency. These moments of hopeless in-adequateness reverberate from the desire to please and result in self-sacrifice, a release and freedom from the ugliness of the world.

    Like

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