Watsonia sounds like it belongs in a science-fiction novel or film. It does not sound like a flower at all. It looks like some sort of mutant plant, with its spiky flowers and silly looking petals that aren’t much of petals at all. On top of that, the stalk is not even green. The stalk is exactly the same bright red or bright orange flower above it. That is not beautiful at all.
Granted, if the flower even had noticeable leaves, it would be more of an issue that the flower doesn’t have a green stalk. Of course, people in Australia seem to love the flower that’s native to Africa. The flower doesn’t seem to know where it even fits in. Poor thing.
It must be so difficult to be wanted anywhere except for where one has grown up. At least it found its place. People must leave for reasons like this. They clearly want to find where it is that they truly fit in, and so they’ll travel the world, just to find that one place. My best friend was willing to travel the world as many times as it took to accomplish this.
When she was little, around the age of five, she became fascinated with Paris. It was incredibly cliché, and she knew it. She even talked of how big of an issue it was. Yet, she had the entire trip planned out for her. Maps were spread out on walls in her room. She had push pins in the various landmarks and then a rope was strung about them, connecting the different places and marking the exact path she would travel. I was startled. But I was much more impressed.
She had this plan to make the first step in her big trip the moment she graduated high school. She was going to take a plane and have a round trip around the world. I tried to explain to her that it didn’t work this way, but she didn’t want to listen. She did what she wanted.
So the day rolled by and she hopped on a plane with only a suitcase and a carry on. She packed light, and planned to buy things for another life when she was there. She was going to the city that had always been in her dreams. She had longed to know the entire area and to live there.
Once she sent me an envelope full of pictures. I lay them all out on a large dining room table and noticed how she was not in any single picture. She left me a note with all of the pictures, one which told how she always wanted to remember the city as she saw it, but she could never see herself in it. She had wished to belong there, and now that she saw it, she couldn’t.
I felt bad for her. It is such a shame to have a dream like that crushed. She later went ahead and traveled the entire world. I don’t know if she found where she belonged, but I hope, mostly for her sake, that she did. I knew her very well, and so I knew that if she couldn’t find somewhere to become her new home, she would only come back here. She didn’t want that.
In my moment of wistfully looking back on a memory that was not really mine, I contemplated the idea that this was an idea running through the minds of many. It was one that was frequently in my mind. The idea of running away to get somewhere better was delightful.
I had never been one to run away from troubles, and so that was why the idea seemed so enticing to me. Of course, I was not brave enough to leave for somewhere I knew no one. I may have not been able to hold relationships easily, but I did want to keep the ones that I had. They may have been on a ticking time bomb, but the timer was not one which I had personally set.
This could have been why I was so willing to hang around in the new town I had discovered by mistake. It was mine, but not for any logical reasons and not for any that I could even begin to explain. I was in a new town and only a few people knew my name. I liked that.
There I remained, still sitting with the sketchbook opened upside down. I hoped that I would not be the person to destroy the treasure that no one else had been daring enough to find.
In of itself, the realization that I was the most daring, in that I actually found and flipped through what was not mine, terrified me. There had to be someone who had more guts than I did. Apparently this was not how things worked in a small town as the one I had wandered upon.
Because there was a voice I didn’t recognize that was talking to be as though we were friends who had known each other, I jumped in fright. “Don’t be so startled.” Great, now the voice of someone I have never met is telling me to not be afraid. This will not end well.
Footsteps seemed to be approaching towards me. I was not fond of this. First, there was a strange voice that felt compelled to talk to me, and now its body felt the need to come closer to me, as though I longed to see him. I was all for making friends, but this was not exactly the method by which I wished to make some new acquaintances. Did he understand this?
“So, I’m sure you really adore all of this artwork here. I do, as well, but the opinion of a stranger on a stranger’s work doesn’t carry much weight, now does it?” he questioned with a friendly voice. He may be a stranger, but he was not much of a scary fellow.
I scoffed at his accusation. “I don’t know what made you think I could adore any of this.”
“Why wouldn’t you? How couldn’t you? All of it is breathtaking.” He was offended.
“If by breathtaking you mean boring, then yes, I agree with your statement.”
“Art cannot be boring! That’s going against the definition of art.” Again, so offended.
I was still looking at the works I had encountered. “And then what do I call this?”
I could tell he was rolling his eyes at me. “You call it art, for that’s what it is.”
“But you just said that art cannot be boring. And this is boring.”
“You don’t understand art, that’s your problem.” A small sigh escaped from him.
“I could say the very same of you.” I was willing to defend myself against this stranger. Who did he think he was, insulting me and my opinion? Opinions cannot be wrong.
He was looking at me and I could see only his dark wash, ripped jeans that hit just above his paint stained sneakers. Everything looked worn out so far. It would be a mistake to make friends with him. But I would remain ignorant with my first impression if I didn’t at least look at his face and attempt to create a fuller picture. I at least need more before I judge the guy.
It was not all that brilliant of me to give in and let go of the position I held in this soon to be war and look up at him. I was trying to be cold. Then he would go away. That was my goal.
Yet, I peered up and at him anyway. He looked to be a friendly guy even though he was not at all amused to be in my presence. For that, I didn’t blame him. I would not be too thrilled to make my acquaintance, either. I’m not very formidable when my thoughts are being attacked.
As I looked at him, I noticed that he had emerald green eyes and long eyelashes. I hated it when guys had decent eyes. It makes them so hard to argue against. He had a square jaw and face, exactly like that of leading men in Hollywood films. It was not deterring. He had a rather nice face. I actually would not have minded if he stayed there and I could just look at him.
But he had shaggy hair and clearly paid no mind to a mirror. His shirt was on backwards and inside out, making for an amusing combination. His jacket was a cool gray but pale all the same. It was torn and ripped. He seemed to adore old and tattered clothing. But I couldn’t hold that against him. I too liked old clothing. There was something comfortable about it.
I was still looking at him and lost in my many thoughts. I kept on interrupting my own daydreams and telling myself that I was a fool to do this. He would not want to be with someone who even looked as I did. He simply encountered me by chance. Were we to have found each other anywhere else, we would have not even given each other a backwards glance. And if we were to have done that, that would have been the extent of our interaction with one another.
He was a mysterious stranger. I was a girl who had entered into a location of which I knew nothing. This realm may have been his. I was the intruder. Yet, it seemed more that that was his position right now. Why did I feel as though he was the one intruding?
I hated that this was how things were. “So, what brings you here?”
“Same thing that brought you here.” Funny how sure of himself he was.
“And what exactly would that be?” I was genuinely curious this time.
“Oh, you know, going to a stranger’s house in an attempt to discover things.”
“You make it sound so casual. Is this the type of thing you do on a normal basis?”
“Only when there’s a new girl in town who has the exact same goals.”
“Sounds about right. I only do this when I think a stranger will come to the exact same place and then question my motives and important life choices. You know, the usual.”
“So, stranger I’ve never met, who tipped you off about this strange house?”
“Just a friend I made at a yard sale. Probably the same guy who told you.”
“Makes sense. I don’t know how many people talk about him.”
“What made you so curious? You a fellow artist who wants new inspiration?”
“Nah. I’m just some guy who was going around town and decided that it would be to my advantage to figure out some dark secret before I moved on to some new dreary place.”
He was so morbid. No wonder he chose here. “You must be a good artist.”
“What makes you say that? You wouldn’t even know if I make any artwork.”
“Most good artists have a dreadful outlook on life. It’s their secret code.”
“So then what about all the writers who wrote of happy endings and life?”
“They were going through some major writer’s block. That’s my theory.”
“I like that. Clearly they weren’t inspired, so they wrote of happiness.”
“See, at least someone finally understands where I’m coming from.”
“You’re the only one I’ve met who believes that some things require an absurd explanation rather than something completely logical. Why haven’t I met you sooner?”
“Well, because then I may have completed my search more quickly.”
His eyes smiled at me as his mouth did, too. “Where’s the fun in that?”
“There isn’t any.” I was going to say more to him, but couldn’t find the right words.