By Kaitlynn Ewing
The door shut with a click behind Petunia. She could still hear them arguing from behind the door, so she ran. Her feet stomped across the grass and the wind brushed passed her face.
She ran from their carelessness,
And their arguing.
She couldn’t take it anymore, why couldn’t she stop them?
Why did they not care about her?
Why can’t they just be happy again?
Why can’t she just get away from them?
Questions flooded her mind as she ran, recalling the events in her mind that happened only moments ago,
Their terrifying shadows danced around her. Yelling and stomping around like animals. Reminding Petunia of the horrifying abuse she had started to experience after her father would come home as late as he is now. She didn’t understand it, them throwing their hands in the air, objects getting knocked off tables, walls, and anything they could get their hands on was thrown across the room, hitting her. No one could see her pain and sorrow. It was as if no one cared. Tears streamed down her face as she watched her fathers photo album fall to the ground with a thud. Photos flew around the room almost mockingly, pictures of when they used to be a happy family flashed before Petunia’s eyes. The front door then closed, Petunia fled the house.
She ran and ran, her feet now muddy, her face stinging from the rain pouring down. Families and their children walked past smiling and joking with each other. Petunia slowed down and watched them and tried to remember how they used to be like that, wondering what could have gone wrong. How did her once happy family change into one so toxic and hateful.
She was seven, six years ago and her whole family went to the fair. Making sure to ride all the park rides and play all the games. Petunia was having the time of her life, with her mother father and her. They would always do thing like this with her. Take her out places, just the three of them. Her mother scared half to death by the way her father would pick her up and throw Petunia up in the air. Her father would take her on the big rides and they would stay there all day until Petunia practically passed out in their arms. She missed that, seeing her parents so carefree and happy. She would never see them that way again.
The once happy faces of her family turned blurred as she ran faster, dejected and heartbroken.
Petunia shook her head trying to get the images of her fathers angered face out of her mind. Taking one last cautious look behind her she noticed how no one was even following her. She realized that her family may be better without her in it.
“How could I have been so blind and naive”, She pondered. “Where did it all go wrong. I don’t understand..”
Feeling sorry and trying to convince herself that she was all alone and that it would be okay she took a rest, figuring she had gone far enough.
The sound of thunder overhead snapped her back to reality. The young girl stopped, noticing just how fast and hard her breathing had become. Her eyes wandered around, looking around at her surroundings, but didn’t understand where she was. She looked up to see a large cloud overhead. “I better find shelter..” Petunia said softly with her head hung low. The rain started to trickle down from the large, dark cloud above. Petunia’s hair getting drenched and she started to shiver.
She looked up and saw a box that said “Peachy Snacks” on the side by a trash can. When she opened the box she was glad to see nothing inside and climbed in. She tried to sleep but all she could think about were her parents. Petunia then cried herself to sleep as the sound of raindrops hit the top of the box, the images of her parents crossing her mind one last time before she eventually drifted off to sleep.
The next morning, she awoke to the sound of thunder. She groaned, and suddenly the top of the box had been opened., revealing an older girl.
“What are you doing in here??” Spoke the older girl.
Confused and scared, Petunia simply replied with “Long story..”
“Well, you shouldn’t be out here in weather like this. My mom says a huge rainstorm is on it’s way! I have to get these home as soon as I can” The girl said excitedly.
Petunia looked past the girl and saw a wagon filled with many different kinds of plants and flowers.
The older girl then realized that she never introduced herself. “I’m Marley. I really like plants,” she said. “What’s your name?”
“I’m petunia..” “Petoo..Petooia?” Marley tried to pronounce. “Petoooona..Pe-” She looked past Petu nai to see the box she had been sleeping in said “Peachy snacks”.
“I’m just going to call you Peachy. That’s way better than Petoona.” Marley stated.
Peachy nodded her head, not knowing that the name “Peachy” would stick with her for life.
Thunder rumbled over the two girls heads, startling them. “Want to come to my house and drink some hot cocoa?” Marley timidly asked. “Yes please!!” Peachy responded. The two girls ran to Marley’s house, With Marley’s wagon squeaking behind them.
The door opened wide as Marley said “Mom I’m home, and I brought my new friend!”
Marley’s mother leaned down and looked in the doorway to see the girl everyone had been looking for. “Oh my goodness, are you Petunia?” She kindly asked.
Y-yes.. I ran away from home yesterday and-”
“Sweetie, your parents are looking for you.”
Peachy looked down sadly, she still didn’t want to see her parents. They changed. They weren’t the same parents as when she was smaller. All they did now was argue, and they never paid any attention to her. How was she supposed to go back and act like nothing was wrong? She knew better than to believe that her parents were right, she didn’t have to go back.
“Lets go get some cocoa, and we can chat about it.” Marley softly said, as she walked next to Peachy.
Marley and her mother talked about what happened, with a few sips of warm cocoa in between. Peachy told them about the fighting, the thrown things that would unexpectedly come at her, and how unhappy she was with them. She had tears in her eyes just by the thought of going back.
Then Marley’s mother had an idea. “Sweetie, how about we go talk to your parents?” Marley’s mother suggested.
“No, I can’t go back there..” Peachy couldn’t believe this. They actually thought she would go back. She came this far and had no intention of ever going back. “Why do I need to go back?” She questioned. Getting frantic now she was ready to bolt and leave. “Come on, it won’t be too bad. We will be here with you.”
Peachy shook her head, she just couldn’t.Starting to get up, Peachy looked around desperately, trying to find a way out as quickly as she could. Spotting the front door she ran as fast as she could, these people are just the same. Couldn’t anyone see how she felt.
Alone again, Peachy walked the streets. “At least it’s not raining anymore.” She thought sarcastically. It now felt like hours since she left the house, regretting her decision. She walks around hopelessly wondering what to do now. Looking up, she sees people walking towards her. Catching Marley’s eye, she tries running again until..
“PETUNIA! Why did you run away young missy?? We were worried SICK!!” Her mother said.
“Great now even her parents are here..”
“Oh my goodness petunia you are in BIG trouble.” Her father commented.
They hugged and kissed her, but Peachy shoved them away and looked down sadly.
“Petunia isn’t happy here she says you have been fighting for years and she’s been getting stuck in the middle, getting hot and yelled at..” Marley’s mother explained.
Marley got close to Peachy and grabbed her hand to make her perk up.
“Oh.. Well.. Um..” Peachy’s mother, Matilda tried to say.
“That’s a lie. She’s just trying to get you to feel sorry for her. Come here Petunia, quit lying to people. There’s nothing wrong with you.” Her father, Philip, grabs her arm pulling her back toward the house, whispering in ear,”If you even try.. See what happens when we get in the house..” She stumbles, and falls, scraping her knee. ‘That’s it’, She thinks to herself, she is not about to deal with that again. She turns around to run away again, seeing no point if he won’t listen but Marley’s mother spoke up.
“Please, don’t try to cover it up, we’ve seen the marks.”
She must be talking about the bruises and cuts all up and down Peachy’s back. She got those when she last tried to run away. The memory was so fresh she could still feel the pain of her father’s belt across her back. She hadn’t tried to overmine her father since then.
“I can assure you that Petunia is perfectly safe here. We have never hit our child.” Philip tried to say.
Peachy couldn’t believe her ears. How could her father lie like that? “Please dad, for once can you actually see me as a person. I’m not lying to anyone. I’m sick of the way you treat me. I’m done, I can’t be here anymore. I will never stay with you.” She cried out, getting more desperate as she spoke. Her arms were thrown in the air as the thought of something as ridiculous as this was even happening.
“Maybe she could stay with us..” Marley tried to speak up, getting pushed out the way of the adults.
“No that won’t be necessary. You have no rea-”, Philip started to say.
“Of course. “ Matilda said, kneeling down to Peachy. “If that would make you happier..” Matilda tried to hide the tears that were threatening to pour down her face, but a rogue tear sneaked its way out. “You can stay with them if you’d like. But promise that we can go see you every once in a while. I understand how you must feel living here, and I want the best for you.”
“Are any of you not at all hearing what I’m saying. Petunia is not going anywhere. This is her home.”
“NO. You’ve said enough Philip. This is Petunia’s choice.” Matilda interrupted. “Would you like that Petunia??”
Peachy didn’t know how to respond, she was completely overwhelmed with emotion. She just simply jumped up and hugged her mother, allowing the tears to fall freely down their faces.
Philip however just grumbled and stormed back into the house. Matilda just nudged Peachy and told her to pack her things. The two girls then ran into the house, and came out with a bag of things Peachy wanted to take with her. Marley’s mother said thank you and they exchanged one last conversation with each other before the whole group walked home to Peachy’s new home, With her new sister, new family, and her new name.
Jeffersonville High School, 2019