The Cherry Blossom Tree

Emptiness and loneliness: the only two feelings Evelyn Baker has left after her mother died.

Joy and Warmth: what she feels when she is with her best friend, Finch.

One big choice took place years ago, but will it be lifted? Will the person who means the most to her in this world change it? Will the past be finally put to rest?

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2. Who Says?

*Present Day*

 

“Just look at her, she doesn’t look like she has slept in a week. She looks dreadful!”

 

The whispers find their way into my ears, making me cringe. Just keep walking, keep on walking. School will be over as soon as I walk out that door, then I will be able to do whatever I want to do. Just carry on walking. A poke in the back makes me shrivel

 

“Hey!” a boy shouts, “are you the girl with Selective Mutism?” I feel every eye in the corridor turn to stare at me. I just want to turn and run away, but I know that if I tried, I would just be stopped again.

 

This is the problem with me, people expect me to speak. Like the teachers; they want to make me read things out in class! How would I ever do that, in front of all those people? A shiver runs down my spine.

 

“So you gonna answer me or what, Blondie?” he urges. His eyes are sparkling and his lips are pulling on the edges, so I know he (and whoever put him up to this) are just trying to annoy me. So, I just ignore him and walk away. Laughter erupts around me and my cheeks go crimson.

 

“Are you one of those things from The Hunger Games? What they called again- Ivoxes, Evoxes? Oh Avoxes! You one of those? What ‘d'ya do to get ya tongue cut off, eh?” the boy calls again and this makes everyone laugh even harder.  

 

No one understands, no one! But Finch does, oh Finch, my best friend in the whole entire world. The one who was by my side when I was going through the tough times, holding my hand, praying along side me.

 

Then mum went, and everything between us changed. Not in a bad way, it made us stronger as a pair. I’m difficult, though;I don’t speak to anyone, not even Finch. Because no one will get the pain that I am forced to go through every single day. Every month, every week, every day, every hour, every minute, every second feeling the same emotion: pain.

 

The intense heat of the sun beats down on my exposed neck as I walk home. It makes me uncomfortable, so I move into the shady area of the pavement. I’ll be home soon, then I can have something to eat then go and meet Finch.

 

Sometimes my decision not to speak makes me sad as I would just like to tell people to shut up annoying me. But if I did, I would just get laughed at and they would make me feel small. That’s what they do: make me feel horrible, probably trying to get me to speak. Meanies.

 

I turn onto Honeydew Avenue and make my way down the street to my house. I don’t know why, but this street is so beautiful to me. It’s so plain, yet so beautiful. Maybe as it holds so many wonderful memories that I share with my parents. Well, one of my parents.

 

This road was the one where I first learnt to ride my bike, where I was first to tell my mum and dad I had full marks in my exams, where I was first to come home crying after a hard day at school but mum made it better. But it’s also holds evil memories, like finding out mum had cancer, then, how mum had died.

 

A single tear slips down my cheek, I wipe it away though. Crying won’t bring my mum back, no matter how much I miss her. Nothing will. She’s gone, for over three years, and I have to accept that. No use crying over spilt milk; that’s what my mum would have said if she was still here. She’s not though, so why do I even have to think it?

 

With a shaky hand, I open the door to my house. It won’t budge, so I unlock it. The smell of waffles with marshmallow fluff wafts up to my nose and I run into the kitchen to see a plate full. A tiny note is scrawled, left on the countertop. Chewing on a piece of heaven, I read the note.

 

/Hey, precious, I have some business down at the office that I need to sort out. Something with the alarm system. Not to worry, though. Here is a snack as I know you will be hungry and you will be meeting Finch no doubt soon. Be in when you get back. Love you, Daddy./

 

Most girls in my class would roll their eyes and groan at their dad for talking to them like that, but my dad is the only family member I have. We have a bond so strong, no one dare question it and I love him so much for not pushing me away.

 

The sun is a bit cooler as I exit for the walk to mine and Finch’s space, so it makes me more relaxed. I plug in my headphones and the words to ‘Frozen’ by Livz fills through my ears.

 

/Time has stopped

Time has stopped moving on

Time has stopped

Ev’r since you’ve been gone

No one else

No one else to run crying to

Cuz time has stopped

Forever frozen without you/

 

I know the song is about love, but it reminds me of my mum for some reason; probably because time has stopped for me, ever since she’d been gone.

 

Finch isn’t there when I reach the tree, so I plonk myself down and get out my doodle pad. My therapist suggested I should have a notebook which I could write my feelings down in, but I use it instead to doodle. Sometimes, I show Finch the drawings and he likes them; he’s basically seen all of them. However, there is one that I don’t dare show him, one of him. I drew it when we were sat beneath our tree and his profile just looked so... great to draw! He would probably never see me again if he ever sees it...

 

“Evie, I’m not late! For once I’m not late!” he cries, waving his arms above his head. I smile to myself as he is actually fifteen minutes off schedule.

 

“Whaddy drawing?” he sings, looking over my shoulder, so I slam the book shut tucking it into my back. He (fake) pouts and turns away from me.

 

We sit in silence for the next ten minutes, the gentle summer’s breeze tousling our hair a bit. Everything is quiet until Finch speaks.

 

“Hey, um, I know it’s your decision and I totally respect that. But just think, why don’t you speak...”

 

/Because/ I think /No one will understand me and my feelings! And I can’t even tell you properly!/

 

Suddenly, an idea strikes and I grab a scrap piece of paper from my bag, along with my pen.

 

‘The reason I don’t talk’ I scrawl in my large, loopy script ‘is because no one understands my feelings, not even you! If I say anything at all that sounds emotional, I’ll get bullied, just like I did before I decided never to speak. People are mean, people don’t understand.’

 

“But who say’s they’ll not understand? Who says?” he whispers.

 

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