Cecily sat cross-legged in the soft bed of grass beneath her. At her side rested a flower crown, one she’d fashioned just a day earlier in one of the art workshops on campus. The makeshift craft of artificial roses of white, red, and pink had to be completed after classes concluded, since the art professors had denied her from the main program.
“While we’re sure that you’re very gifted, we don’t have the resources to compensate for your condition,” they’d said. “At this university, we can’t teach art to someone who can’t see.”
Tears welled in her eyes as she recalled the torturous memory. Words such as those reminded her that she’d never experience the world like others did. She’d never seen the kind smiles of her loving parents encouraging her through her early years. She’d never seen the affectionate eyes of her first love, nor had she seen the sorrowful way he buried his head in his hands the day their relationship died. She’d never seen the dazzling shine of stars in the night sky, illuminating the dying planet in its darkest hours. Even her art, the very expression of her universe, was an enigma to her. Never could she understand the endless, burning passion of the deepest shade of red or the darkest sadness of a cool, midnight blue. It was a mystery, but still she found herself unable to abandon her enigmatic method of creation. She couldn’t sever her lifeline to perception.
She reached out to the flower crown at the place she’d dropped it, and her fingers gently brushed the polyester petals. She stopped and absorbed the feeling, pushing the tears back for a moment. When the toxic thoughts silenced, the world came alive. Springtime robins chirped a song in the trees above. Rays of the setting sun soaked through the skin of her arms and warmed her to her core. She picked up the grass’s crisp scent, a peaceful smell that cleared her mind of all dismay. When she concentrated, she swore she could feel the earth rotating beneath her, alive and flourishing in all its glory.
The crown sat softly on her head as she placed it there with a delicate touch. Cecily might never have had the chance to perceive their world, but she was the ruler of her own.
Travis Northern is a freelance writer and English major currently attending UW–Parkside and pursuing a career in professional and creative writing.