The wooden floors of our mansion creek gently as I walk, barefoot, to the back door. I place my face so close to the screen that the smell of the rancid insect carcasses stuck in the screen wafts up my nostrils. I cringe. A ray of sunlight warms my face as I peer at my daughter sitting on the deck with a pad of paper clutched in her hands. She twirls her feet around as she lowers her head, letting her golden curls toss gracefully in the wind. The water in the glass by her feet ripples softly and distorts the flowers behind it into all sorts of odd shapes.
I think of the paintings she has frequently gifted me with, and a tear sneaks out of the corner of my eye; those purple toned, stylized, flat-in-dimension, five-leafed flowers fill up her pages, her mind, my grief. I think of the imaginary world she lives in and the doll house she frequently describes to me, with endless rooms covered in those fake flowers. It is her reality. She has obscured the real world, choosing instead the path of the imaginary and the artificial. I feel my hand reach for the door handle, but instantly retract it in fear of disturbing her seemingly perfect, innocent moment.
Maybe it is just my maternal fear that she will one day be blind to the truth in the world that causes me to be so bothered by her youthful ignorance. Or, perhaps it is my fear that she’ll end up like my own materialistic mother that I am deprived of the ability to truly smile around my own daughter. Maybe that’s why, at the sight of her paintings, something inside me just ...drops.
I remember that it is summer, and that outside, everything is alive. I search her face for a sign of realization that what she is drawing is merely in her mind, and not what is alive and real. But she does not understand. I avert my glance, bemoaning the idea that her paintings will remain lifeless, one dimensional, and purple.
She turns her head around suddenly, squinting at me through the sun. “Do you like this mommy?” she sings, holding up her painting.
“Yes, baby, yes...I do...I love it…” I choke as my eyes glaze over with tears.
It drops again. That something, that something inside me that is repulsed by the idea of my daughter and her reality. I catch a glimpse of the glass of water at her feet.
Her innocent, warped reality.
By Maya Zhou
12AP English Literature and Composition, Mrs. Matrose