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Lilac Skies

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This is a completed short story.

Other / Drama
Kayden Evans
Age Rating:

Lilac Skies

I wake up to the sound of my alarm clock going off at exactly 8 am; its loud ringing is the only thing that can wake me up in the morning. I reach over to the dark, wooden nightstand by my bedside and turn off the alarm. Then I flop my head back down on my pillow and stare at the ceiling. I can see the texture of the white ceiling from the sunlight spilling in from the window on the far side of my room. I sit up and I’m met with a solid, dark purple wall with a small, black, flat screen, tv mounted in the center of it, across from my bed.

Gooooood Morning Lily! It’s time to get dressed, and brush your teeth, then you can eat breakfast, and then you can go paint.

I hear Victoria’s chipper voice, suddenly, in my head. Her voice startles me, which annoys me. I’m already irritated this morning from my nightmare last night, so the happiness in her voice is not exactly welcome, but she’s right, I have things to do today.

“Time to get up.” I say, throwing off my purple comforter. I drag myself out of bed and go to my dark wooden dresser. I clasp my hand around the golden handle and open my top drawer. I look inside, trying to decide what to wear. My eyes land on a white tank top.

No, don’t pick the tank top. Go with the black t-shirt. It looks nicer.

“’I’m not trying to impress anyone, Victoria.” I snap, collecting an old, white tank top. I move to the second drawer and look inside, trying to decide what to wear.

Your blue denim shorts look good.

“I’m painting today, Victoria.” I say, agitated, and collect a pair of grey, cotton, drawstring shorts. I go back to the top drawer and grab a bra and a pair of underwear that I forgot to take out the first time, expecting to hear Victoria’s voice in my head again. When I don’t hear anything, I ask, “Do you have anything to say about my choice of undergarments?”

Nope, looks good.

I roll my eyes and make sure both drawers are closed before I change into the fresh clothes. When I finish dressing, I make my way out of my bedroom and turn right to go down the short hallway.

I open the light wooden door to the bathroom and click the light switch on the left wall as I come inside. The white light of the bulb illuminates the whole room, which isn’t difficult because it’s a small rectangle. The toilet sits against the far wall to the right when you walk in, the shower to the left, and the porcelain sink joins them in the middle, with a huge mirror mounted above it. I walk up to the sink and pick up my toothbrush and paste. Next, I wash my face, and I dry it off with the used towel hanging behind the door.

I turn off the light before leaving the bathroom and shut the door behind me. I go back the way I came but pass my room and turn right to go to the kitchen. The living room and kitchen are technically one room. The only thing separating them is a slightly higher platform that the kitchen rests on, behind the living room area. I collect a bowl from one of the wooden cabinets above the counter, and a spoon from the drawer next to the fridge. I set them down on the counter then go to the pantry to get my fruit loops. I take it from the pantry and set it down next to my bowl. I go to the fridge, its once white exterior now yellow from its many years of use, and open it, collecting the pint of milk. I go back to the counter where my things are and set down the milk. I open the cereal box and pour it into my blue bowl. I set it down and grab the milk. I take off the cap and pour it all over the colorful rings in my bowl. I set it back down, recap it, and pick up my spoon. I dunk it inside my bowl a few times, repeatedly drowning the colorful rings until I’m satisfied with the level of sogginess.

I pick up my bowl and turn away from the counter. I face the small island in the small kitchen and stand there eating my cereal.

I don’t think cereal is the best thing for your body, Lily

“Sue me.” I say, nonchalantly, when I hear Victoria’s words in my head.

I’m just trying to help.

“Yeah, I know.”

I finish my cereal and down the rest of the milk. I turn back around and walk over to the sink, dropping my dishes in and filling the bowl with water.


“Yes, time to paint.” I start walking toward my painting room.

Wait! Water cup.

I halt at her words. “Oh, you’re right.”

I turn back around and go to another cabinet above the counter, pull out a clear, short, round glass and fill it with tap water. Then I turn back around and walk down the short halfway, past my bedroom and bathroom, to the door at the end of the hall. I open the narrow wooden door. I skip turning on the light because the sunlight coming in from the window against the far wall is more than enough light.

I look around at the room, taking note of the clean, white walls against the dark, wooden floor. There are a few pieces of newspaper I laid on the floor around my easel and chair, in the center of the room. The only other piece of furniture in the room is a large tv dinner tray.

I sit down at my easel and place a cup of water I brought from the kitchen down on the large tray to my right. I have to shove away a plethora of paints, scattered haphazardly, in order to make room for the cup.

You really need to clean up after yourself.

“It’s 9am. Can you give me a minute to get situated, Victoria?” I think.

You would feel better if you had a clean space to work with.

I try to ignore Victoria’s voice in my head. It’s too early for me to deal with all of them, and I know the rest of them are awake by now.

Victoria showed up in my mind when I was five. She comforted me in a way that my mother didn’t, and she never left me alone, but now I just want a moment of peace so that I can finish my art project. It’s the last thing I need in my portfolio to complete my Master’s in Fine Arts, and New York University does not offer extensions.

I stare at my painting for a while, hoping to conjure up a new idea, something that would make my nearly finished painting stand out from the hundreds of other talented graduates; to make it worthy of the hundreds of eyes who will see it when it’s displayed at the school. I think about what everyone else’s artwork will look like displayed next to mine. “People will compare mine to other people’s artwork. It’s not good enough.” I say, sliding down in my chair.

Don’t say that! Your work is beautiful. Nobody paints like you do Lily.

I hear David speaking to me, his words of encouragement circling in my head. I look back at my painting, a thought triggered by the colors.

When I was little, I used to think that my paintings were a reflection of everything that I was not. When I’d paint a field, full of multicolored flowers, I thought I was finding the beauty in the colors around me and giving them a home. When I’d paint the sky in purples, pinks, yellows, and oranges, I thought I was emulating a pretty sunset. When I grew up, I looked back at those paintings I did when I was little and I saw details that I had put into my paintings; details that should have been flags to someone that I was different, that something wasn’t right, but no one ever seemed to notice. In my fields of multicolored flowers, there would always be one flower painted black. In my sunsets would drift a single, white cloud, and I started to realize that I never painted things that weren’t me, but instead, a reflection of me.

I was nine when David showed up in my mind. He became the father that I never had; not just another one of my mother’s boyfriends, who she frequently left alone with me. I was ten years old before anyone started to see my paintings for what they really were, and it took another two years before anything was ever done to stop it.

Hey, come back to me. You have to get this done.

I hear Victoria’s voice and it breaks me away from my thoughts. “Okay, okay. Focus, Lily.” I say, pulling myself up to sit straight in my chair and shaking away the memory. I grab white, black, and primary colors, and squeeze some paint out of each tube. Then I pick up a medium size brush, mixed in with the disarray of colors, and swirl it in the water cup. I dry it off and start mixing blue, red, and white paint to make a light purple. When I’m satisfied, I press the brush to the canvas.

Oh, purple? I would have gone with light blue, but okay, if that’s what you want.

I sigh, and pause my brush stroke, attempting to shake off Victoria’s words. “I like purple.” I say.

Don’t listen to Victoria, Lily. You’re doing just fine. Put purple in the sky if that’s what you want to do.

Oh yeah, David. ‘Don’t listen to Victoria.’ I’m only trying to help.

You aren’t helping though.

Give it a rest David.

You always think you know better, don’t you Vic?

That’s because I do!

I get up from my chair and throw my brush to the ground, the color getting all over the dark, wooden floor. “Stop!” I snap. “I don’t wanna hear it anymore. Just let me get this done.” I can’t help but be frustrated at the incessant interruptions in my head, and it’s infuriating that I’m the only one who has to hear it. It doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing, nobody else ever hears it; they can’t.

Come on back to us, Lily.

“Shh!” I say, clamping my eyes shut, my hands balling into fists. I can feel anger starting to boil inside me. “Let me think!” I work hard to suppress the feeling of anger.

I started seeing a therapist when I was nineteen after my best friend, Scarlet, suggested I should. My headaches had started getting worse and it became more difficult to focus with the added people in my head. The frequent nightmares didn’t help either.

“Scarlet.” I say, breathing deeply to calm myself.

Scarlet is the only friend I had in the world outside of my mind. I met her in the girls group home the first day I arrived there. She was a small Latina girl with curly, brown hair and a loud mouth. She always got in trouble for talking back, but she was also the only person who asked me to be friends. After that, we were inseparable.

“My teacher.” I say, listing people who make me feel happy.

My fifth grade teacher was the first person who recognized that my paintings were a cry for help. She understood that the solo cloud and single, black flower were symbols of how lonely I was. What she didn’t know was why, and I was too scared to tell her. I was ten years old, and I had already learned how to cope with the abuse I received at home. I didn’t want to tell anyone for fear that it would get back to my mother and her trashy boyfriend; whichever boyfriend it was that month anyway.

My fist clenches harder, my nails digging into my skin, at the thoughts of my mother and how she let her boyfriend’s use me. “No, don’t think about that.” I say, shaking off the memory. “Ms. Michaels.” I say, breathing deeply again.

After a few weeks of sessions with Ms. Michaels, I had a diagnosis. The memory of that day still bothers me, even though Ms. Michaels’ voice was gentle when she delivered the news to me:

’Sweetie, you’ve been experiencing depression. You also show signs of PTSD, and another disorder that is not known by many people. It’s called OSDD-1b, or Other Specified Dissociative Disorder. It’s a dissociative disorder caused by childhood trauma. You may have heard of DID, Dissociative Identity Disorder, when a person has “multiple personalities,” it’s similar to this, except your “personalities” don’t switch with you, and you don’t seem to have any amnesia. Instead, they all live in your head. It was your body’s way of protecting you.’

I wipe away the salty water, beginning to pool in my eyes, before any tears can fall, and shake my head, trying to push away the memories. “Focus, Lily. Get back to work.” I say, bending down to pick up the brush I threw.

I sit back down and take five more minutes of cleansing breaths to center myself. This time without any thoughts. When I feel like my feelings have been adequately suppressed, I start painting again.

Atta girl!

Shut up David, she’s focusing!

“That’s it!” I scream standing back up and throwing my paint brush again, the lilac color dotting the white wall, but I don’t stop there; I can’t; the anger has been boiling too long, suppressed too tightly, and the pain and frustration I feel from the onslaught of memories is too strong.

I grab my chair and throw it against a wall, just missing the window, my heart beating faster from the effort.

Lily, stop.

I hear Victoria’s stern voice in my head and scream again. I look down at the paints on my desk and start unscrewing all the caps. When they’re undone, I grab a handful of them and quickly walk to one of the walls in the room. I squeeze out a bunch of paint to the floor then drop down and mash my hands in it. I get back up and smear it along the wall. I grab more paint tubes and squeeze them to other parts of the floor, mashing my feet in it and smearing it all over the floor. I continue grabbing tubes of all sizes, dumping the contents onto the floor. I try to cover every part of the white wall, as if it could wash my pain away.

I turn back around, ready to grab more paint when I see my canvas. A beautiful sky graces it with its blend of purples, pinks, yellows, and oranges; A lilac sky.

The sight of the painting fills me with rage. I walk up to the canvas, positioning myself directly in front of it. I grab a large tube of red with my right hand. Then I unscrew the cap and squeeze the contents of it into my left hand. I look down at the red paint in my hand, and stare at it for a while, watching as its crimson color starts running down my arm and drips onto the floor, another memory forming in my mind.

“I was finally removed from my broken home, and became a ward of the state of New Jersey, when I was twelve.” I say in a monotone voice.

It’s okay Lily, you’re not that little girl anymore.

I hear David’s calm voice, but it’s not enough to stop the feelings from bubbling to the surface.

I look up at my canvas, anger ripping its way through my body, and I slap my left hand across it, ruining the delicate, lilac sky that was once there.

“Over the next six years, three more people became residents in my mind; Alyssa, Trent, and Vansin.” I say, the words like venom on my tongue.

Is everything okay?

Alyssa’s cheerful voice echoes in my head. David responds to her.

I think she’s having a breakdown, Alyssa.

“Alyssa showed up when I was twelve during my transition from my broken home into foster care.” I say as I grab the color pink, squeeze it onto my hand and smear it across the canvas, mixing it with the red over the delicate, lilac sky that was once there.

What’s up everybody? I heard some commotion.

‘Shh,’ Stop talking Trent. Lily’s having a breakdown.

Oh my god, is she okay?

“Trent showed up when I was fifteen after a group of kids beat me up for ‘being too quiet.’” I say as I grab a tube of green paint, squeeze it onto my hand and smear it across the canvas, mixing it with the pink and red over the delicate, lilac sky that was once there. My heart is pounding and the anger inside me softens to sadness and a tear escapes from my eye at the sound of Vansin’s smooth, silvery voice.

Hello, everyone. Why are you all standing around?

Vansin, stop talking, Lily’s having a breakdown.

My apologies David, but if that is the case, then what is being done to help her?

“Vansin showed up the day after I turned eighteen, when the ‘mother’ of my group home knocked on my bedroom door and informed me that I had aged out of the system.” I say as I grab a tube of white and a tube of black paint and squeeze them both onto my hand. I smear the two colors across the canvas, mixing them with the green, pink, and red on the delicate, lilac sky that was once there.

I look down and turn to the dinner tray. I take all the paints I have left and squeeze it all onto my body. I throw the empty bottles down and smear the paint all over myself; my white tank top soaking in the colors; lilac covered by red, melting to pink, mixed with green, running to black, and mixing with white. I drag the colors over my arms, and down my face through my hair, making my pale skin look as if I’d rolled in rainbow mud.

I take a step back from my canvas, and look up at it, taking in the beautiful tragedy before me: The desecrated remnants of a delicate, lilac sky.

I stand there, in silence, staring at my final project. I start to feel pain in my chest from the painful realization that this is my reality. I drop my knees to the floor and start crying, surrendering myself to the anguish I feel from the memories of a past I cannot erase. I sink all the way down to the floor and ball into fetal position. I hear the voices of everyone in my head trying to sooth me as I lay on my paint-ridden floor; the sounds of my wailing filling up the room.

That’s how Scarlet finds me.

I hear the door to my art room slam open.

“Oh my god, Lily! Are you okay?” Scarlet runs over to me, dropping her bag by my side, and bends down to haul me up off the floor.

I tighten my hold on myself, my wailing reduced to whimpering.

“Just hold on, Lily. I’m gunna call someone.” Scarlet rummages through her bag, searching for her phone. Her hands are shaking as she tries to find the contact she wants. She finds the number and dials it. “Hello? Ms. Michaels?” She asks, panicking. “It’s Scarlet, Lily’s friend. She’s on the floor sobbing, and she trashed her art room. There’s paint everywhere, and all over her. She’s in fetal position on the floor!...Yes, okay, here.” She puts her phone on speaker and places it beside my head.

“Lily? It’s Ms. Michaels. It’s okay to feel this way. I just want to know what happened.”

I try hard to focus on the sound of Ms. Michaels’ voice, but I can still hear everyone in my head trying to soothe me.

“Voices. Memories. Anger. Sadness.” Are the only words I can manage to whisper out.

“I see. Okay. David, I’d like for you to take Alyssa and Trent away with you for now.” Ms. Michaels says.

I understand.

“He says he understands.” I whisper.

We’ll come back later, Lily.

David’s voice ceases from the chorus, as does Trent’s and Alyssa’s voices, taking with them memories from my past. Vansin and Victoria are no longer speaking, but I can feel them still there.

“They left.” I whisper.

“Okay, good. Victoria, I would like you to leave next. Please don’t fight me on this. I know you want what’s best for Lily, so I’m telling you that leaving, for now, is the best thing you can do for her.”

I understand. I’ll be back, Lily.

“She left.” I whisper. My hands start to loosen their grip, my crying almost completely subsided.

“Vansin?” Ms. Michaels asks.


“He’s here.” I tell her.

“Vansin, I’m putting you in charge. I have been working with Lily long enough to know that Victoria has been the main voice in Lily’s head. We both know that David cannot replace her, because she will fight back against him, but you are different. After tonight, you are in charge.” Ms. Michaels says.

I respect your wishes. If you think this is the best option, then I will oblige.

“He says he’ll do it.” I say, releasing my hold on myself and moving to sit up. I open my eyes and see Scarlet immediately grab my arm to help me sit up, her face a mask of worry.

“Thank you.” I manage to squeak out.

I pick up Scarlet’s phone. “Hi, Ms. Michaels.”

“Hello, Lily. How are you feeling?

“I’m okay now.” I squeak, my voice raw from screaming.

“You seem to have lost your voice. How about we save this for our session in a few days to let your voice heal. Sound good?”

“Yes.” I manage to say.

“Okay. I will see you in a few days then. Goodbye, Lily.”

The phone call ends, and I pass the phone back to Scarlet.

“I came here to surprise you by taking you out to brunch with me. You weren’t answering your phone. I’m glad I had a key.” She says standing up. She extends a hand to me. I take her hand, my vision still blurry, and stand up.

“I’m sorry you had to see me like this.” I say.

“It’s alright, you just scared me.” Scarlet looks around the room and then back at me. “I like what you’ve done with the place.”

“What a disaster.” I say, shaking my head. I look over at my painting.

Scarlet follows my gaze and lands on my canvas. “Is that your final project?” She asks.

“It was.” I say, sighing. “Now it’s just ruined.”

“Looks finished to me.” Scarlet says. “It’s just missing your signature.”

I look at her, puzzled. “What?”

“What? You wanted to make your artwork stand out from the others,” she shrugs, “now it does. It’s probably the most authentic work you’ve ever done. Just look at it.”

I walk over to my easel. I look down at the tray beside it and pick up a small brush. I bend down to the floor and dip the brush in the last bit of white paint that managed to survive the wreckage. I stand up and sign my name in the bottom right corner of my canvas: Lily Anderson

I let my arm drop down to my side, my energy and will to do anything more today has completely vanished, and it’s only noon. After a few moments of silence, I turn away from my canvas and see Scarlet standing there quietly, patiently waiting for me. “Well.” I say. Scarlet tilts her head to the side and lifts an eyebrow, waiting for me to continue.

“At least I finished.” I say, shrugging, a smile playing at the corner of my mouth.

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