The Beginning – by Mary Wallace (Adult)

“Look mummy,” Jed tugged at Laura’s skirt to get his mother’s attention. “I brought you a present.” Opening his hand he revealed a barely recognizable flower; she smiled, inspecting it further. The shape gave no clue, but its vibrant purple colour and the heady fragrance emanating from the boy’s grubby fist, revealed she was being gifted a violet. Jed’s face gazed up at her with his solemn eyes; eyes that were too old for such a young child.

“I knew it would make you smile mummy.”

Laura found a dish and watched as Jed tenderly surrendered his squashed prize on to its whiteness, flattening out the petals with his tiny fingers. She loved him so much. Looking at his sweet face, she thanked God that something so beautiful had come from her marriage. Instinctively she checked her sleeves – making sure the bruises on her arms were not visible to her child – and smiled down at him.

“Thank you darling. I love violets; they’re my favorite.”

They both gazed at the flower lying on the dish; it was bruised and battered, but still beautiful. Under Jed’s gentle fingers, the petals were regaining their shape. Love can do that, Laura thought.

The back door slammed! Jed started, moving closer to his mother, the tiny hand that had tended the flower, now searching for the comfort of her fingers. The stale odour of alcohol, the loud cursing from the back hallway, and the fear on Jed’s face, prompted her decision. Laura reached for the car keys.

“Let’s take the violet to show Gran.”

She was leaving everything except for the one thing in her life that was important. As Laura quietly closed the front door, the sweet fragrance of violets replaced the stale stench of alcohol. And the sour taste of fear.
Learn more about the contest which inspired this story:  Fleur 2020-03 – Violet
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