The next day Leila was awakened by the throbbing pain in her head. It literally felt as if her head was going to explode from all the pressure! She opened her eyes slowly and vigorously ground the sleep out of them. She stretched and got out of bed. Gingerly, she walked to the bathroom to get a couple Advil and a glass of water. She caught a glimpse of herself as she passed by the mirror above her sink and shuddered as the events from the night before flooded her mind. Just focus on the present...
She did a double take at her appearance. She looked awful and was still wearing the clothes from the night before. Well, no scratch that, she looked worse than awful if that’s even possible. She took in her appearance with disgust. Her hair was frizzy as though she had been struck repeatedly by lightning, her eyes were puffy and red with bags, melted eyeliner was smudged and smeared under them, and her cheeks were splotchy, stained with tears.
“Stupid Elaine. Why did I go with her?” She blamed her friend for the whole night, even though she knew deep down that it wasn’t totally Elaine’s fault. Her friend abandoned her, yes, but she was the one who practically ran off with some stranger. Who does that? Crazy people do… Still, she was going to have a word or two with her friend about what it means to have a “girls” night.
“Girls night my ass! I look like hell!” she said grimly. She shook her head and swallowed her pills. Shuffling, still half asleep, she finally made it back to her bedroom.
“No wonder i’m still single. Who’d want to wake up next to this every morning?” she asked herself, chuckling softly. ‘Maybe the right guy would though,’ she thought, hopeful that she wasn’t just being stupid again.
She set her water on the small nightstand next to her bed and sprawled out diagonally across her comforter, wanting to rest.
“If I could just get the world to stop spinning, that would be great.” Before she knew it, she was fast asleep again and having another nightmare.
In it she was standing on top of a hill looking down on the far away town below. She didn’t recognize the place she was at, but that didn’t seem to bother her at the moment. She heard someone calling her and turned around. At first she didn’t see anyone, just a meadow full of blood red flowers.
“How oddly pretty,” she mused, bringing a hand to her lips. Still admiring the flowers she started forward to take in their heady aroma. Before she got inside the meadow, however, she saw someone step out from behind a tree. It was a guy. To be more specific, it was HER man. An amused smile spread across his face as he noticed her watching him with a dumbfounded expression on her face. He put a finger to his lips, turned around and started walking into the beautiful forest behind him.
“Wait!” she cried, but it was to no avail because he didn’t appear to hear her. He didn’t turn back around. So she took off running towards the lush green trees, hoping to catch up to him. She soon lost sight of him and tripped over a large root poking up out of the ground.
Panicking, she got up quickly and brushed off her pants. As her hands touched the denim material, they started to sting a little. She brought her hands, palm up, toward her face to examine them in the dim light. Apparently she had skinned them when she fell down.
“Well shit!” she exclaimed, “I can’t even dream right...” With a frustrated sigh, she started looking around her, realizing she was lost now. Nothing looked familiar and everything looked the same no matter what direction she turned. She heard thunder rumbling and looked up at the sky, just noticing the black clouds rolling in.
‘Of course it would rain,’ she thought while rolling her eyes internally, ‘It is after all, MY dream.’ She went on her way, searching desperately for a way out of the seemingly never-ending forest of hell. She walked swiftly, but carefully this time. Trying to avoid another nasty fall.
Finally she saw the trees thinning out up ahead. As she stepped out into the clearing, she noticed that she was now in a graveyard. Lightning zigzagged along the sky, making her squint as the sky lit up brightly with the flash. A loud boom made her jump in fright. She felt like she was being drawn forward into the obviously long ago abandoned cemetery.
She recognized the last name on the headstone just to the right of where she was standing. She stepped closer to get a better look at the name. It was hard to see as it grew very dark very quickly. She wondered if the person had any relation to her family.
As she neared closer, another bolt of lightning flashed across the sky and made the cemetery glow eerily. She was finally close enough to read the headstone. She gasped as she saw what it said, backing away in utter horror!
“Here lies Leila Spark, unloved and alone in her untimely death.” She turned around and ran, wanting to put space between her and her worst fear...
Leila awoke with a start, sitting straight up in bed. Her dreams had started getting stranger and stranger lately. That’s a dumb thing to have on a tombstone...There was some things in her dream that made sense though. Her biological parents had been abusive and neglectful while she was growing up.
They were drug addicts and would do anything for a fix. Sometimes they’d lock her in her room overnight just so they could shoot up. When they did let her out they made her clean the house. She’d wait on them hand and foot, just like Cinderella, but minus the good parts. By the time she was six-years-old she knew how to clean everything in the house until it shone. The only thing they did that was positive was to feed her on a regular basis. Well, at least I had that.
Her parents never thanked her or expressed any sort of gratitude. They just expected her to do more. In fact, her father’s version of expressing thanks would mean feeling her up and trying to make her do sexual favors for him or his friends. There was many a night that Leila cried herself to sleep, making sure when her bedroom door opened that she stayed as quiet and still as possible. If he couldn’t wake her up in his drunken stupor, most of time her father would leave her alone.
Sometimes, though, he’d keep begging and pleading, shaking or poking her relentlessly, sometimes even to the point of yelling, that try as she might she couldn’t fake sleeping. Those were the nights she hated the most. She could remember crying and pleading most nights for her mother to come help her. He mother never came and eventually Leila stopped begging when she realized it was in vain.
It wasn’t until her grandmother discovered what was going on that she got any sort of reprieve. Her grandmother for all intents and purposes was her fairy-godmother, her angel, her savior. She whisked her out of there at the age of 12 as fast as legally possible. She hadn’t heard from them since they got out of jail. The court ruling had been quick and rather painless due to the overwhelming evidence against them being such piss-poor parents. God she missed her Gran...