“But Lilian…” her father began, reaching out to touch his daughter’s hand. Her mother sat weeping, shaking her head and fumbling with her handkerchief.

“ But Lilian nothing!” the girl yelled, her eyes burning with angry tears. “I never want to talk to you again!” She stormed out of the living-room and ran up the stairs, slamming her bedroom door shut behind her.

She threw herself on her bed, sobbing, heaving. Her heart was racing, her head pounded and she felt sick. How could they do this? How could they have done such an awful thing? How could they live this lie all these years?

Her whole world had just crumbled. Lilian felt crushed, gutted, stunned. She cried herself to sleep, exhausted.

Lilian woke early in the morning, on top of her bed rather than in it, cold, still dressed in the previous day’s clothes. Her pillow was damp where she’d shed so many tears. She reached into her bedside drawer and pulled out her journal. Tears had begun to roll slowly down her face again.

Opening her precious book to the inside cover she touched over the words as she read the handwritten inscription:

My precious Lili, sweet li’l Lilian, You’re always in my thoughts, I wish I could be there with you. Never forget I love you so dearly my heart bursts – and I miss you every day. Happy Birthday sweet sixteen! Lots of love and hugs, Chrissy-Chyrsanthemum X

She flicked through the pages, passing over her own entries to find the scatterings of pictures and poems her big sister had inserted at regular intervals every few pages. She still felt dazed.

The arguments made sense now, all those fall-outs her sister and her parents had and how she’d always be sent on an errand to another room or to go and play. She remembered being five or six when ‘the big one’ happened and Chrissy packed her bags and left home having been told to leave. Her parents had always been irritated by Chrissy’s encouraging Lilian to call her “Chrissy-Chrysanthemum”. Now Lilian understood why.

She’d not seen Chrissy for such a long time and now she never would again. She sat back on her bed, put the journal under her pillow, picked up her mobile phone and opened her blog to begin to type:

“Last night my whole world fell apart. First my parents tell me my big sister died in a car crash. Then they tell me she’s not my sister she’s my mum! My parents are my grandparents! My whole life’s been a lie now I’ll never trust anyone again ever!”

Lilian tapped submit, closed her browser, changed into her pyjamas and got back into bed to cry herself back to sleep.

(Copyright 2015, Colette B. The Wishing Well: short story written as response to the picture prompt, top of page, for Shafali’s Creativity Carnival #5)


4 thoughts on “Chrysanthemum

  1. To learn that the truths around which your life was built were lies can destroy a person’s will to live. A small action, her changing into her pajamas before she went to bed, it tells me that she is strong and she will be fine 🙂 Thanks for writing this beautiful story for the carnival.

    Liked by 1 person

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