She pulled into the driveway of her parents’ permanent address. It was already fairly late when she stepped out of the vehicle and the shadows from the porch lights weren’t entirely welcoming. Regardless, she grabbed her small over-night bag from the backseat before closing the door behind her and starting to the house. There was no doubt in her mind that her mother would be asleep, and she was actually quite relieved because it was definitely going to take a little time to get used to being back.
Once inside the house, with the door safely locked behind her, she headed for the staircase straight ahead. Once atop the stairs she veered to the left in the direction of her old room. The emotions already started to flood, tears were welling. The bedroom door was so intimidating, but when she opened it the room didn’t seem so ominous. The light-switch clicked under her right hand and the first thing she noticed was the faded crown of lilac hanging from the vanity mirror in the corner of the room. She went right for the crown, tears streaming, grabbed it and held it to her chest. She began sobbing so hard she had to sit down.
As she dropped into the vanity chair she could see the memories play out in the mirror before her. She remembered getting her license, getting her car, participating in the local pageant. She remembered the after-party, the boys, the booze. She remembered the drive home, the dirt road where she lost control, waking up in the hospital.
As the visions started to fade she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. It had been twenty years since the accident, and she still hated what she saw. The patch over her left eye helped hide the scars that haunted her, but it never took the pain away. She stood quickly and retreated from the vanity to the bed. Curling up on the foot of the queen size she cried herself to sleep clutching the lilac crown.