Orchids Cries

Orchids Cries

A Story by Grace Seibert

A story about the depressing and tragic childhood of a young orphan girl.


They say a mother and daughter have a special relationship, and that mothers are always there for you.  That was what my mother told me.  She said that she would always be there for me.  I believed her, but I thought wrong.  Because here I am alone, and that line of connection between my mom and I, snapped.  A few months ago, she said she would never leave my side, but she did. Trembling and shivering, my body turns blue as cold air rushes across my face.  My arms are wrapped around my knees, rocking me to the beat of a drum.  A thunder drum given straight from the gloomy skies.   My hair is dripping wet, my body aching, listening to the whistling sounds of wind, and pouring rain flooding the streets.  It is blurred as far as I can see, only grey and black surrounds me.  A strong rush of wind sends quivering chills down my spine. I look up to see those buildings, those buildings that any 7 year old could dream of.  One small room with a bed, food, water, and light.  Down here, nothing.  Another day in dirty rags, a torn sweater, scraps from the garbage, under the same bridge of Washington, 1948.

I look back, because there is nothing ahead.  What could possibly be at the end of the road?  Nothing besides a husband, children, and a fire under the same bridge.  The husband dies, then the children, and then the mother just like her mother did in the fire.  Tragedy in the past and the future.  So I look in the middle.  I see a reflection of myself in a muddy puddle, with fallen leaves floating on the surface, under that same bridge.  I finally stood up when my legs decided to work to take a stroll down the block.  My stomach becomes thinner and thinner and more nauseous of hunger.  I approached Mr. Steven who sold newspapers near the bridge.   “Hello Tammy! How are you?”  My head remained low as I meekly responded,  “Just as well as I always am.”  

“Well, that's good.  Have a nice day, okay?”

“Okay.” Mr. Steven always has the simplest conversations, basically the same one every morning, but I don't mind.  At least he is someone to talk to, and someone who understand a seven year old.

I began strolling down the street with my bag of coins that I found in drainers, on the roads, or that came from some pockets.  No, I do not steal, they may have just fallen and I was too slow to keep up with them to return it.  I have... thirty cents.  Maybe enough to buy a morning coffee.  I headed towards the café downtown.  

“One coffee please, decaf.”  I approached the bar playing with the coins between by fingers.  The man placed a steaming beverage in front of my eyes.  I haven't had a decent breakfast, I mean, breakfast drink in a while.  I sipped the coffee, allowing it to moisturize my lips and keep me awake for the day.  I looked around, and the café was empty.  Wait a second...no, not possible.  I stared even closer.  M-m-MOM? Mom looked at me, and then disappeared.  I opened my eyes and came back to reality.  Just another ordinary day at the café, people laughing and chatting at the bar and tables.  I must be seeing things.

I slowed down my pace as I walked back up the street.  My vision spotted half a building, shattered windows, and aged doors.  That building burned down three months ago, or as I call it, The building that was responsible for 124 deaths.  No one understands death.  No one understands how special someone is until you lose them.  I closed my eyes and took a trip down to memory lane.  I can remember, my mother, and my father, I think.  

I tightened my hat as my mother spun me around to button my winter coat.   “Stay with your brother.  Be by his side.  Do not leave him, as I have never left you.”  She leaned over and kissed my forehead, and buttoned up Johnny´s coat.  Johnny may have a disorder, but you are never not good enough for school.  She reached into her pocket and pulled out a blue orchid.  The scent of peace and grace flows through me.  The presence of my mother and the orchid relaxes me with almost a lavender scent and feeling.  Mother loves orchids.  Her happiness is soaked into one flower that she says is our family.  Each gentle petal is one of us, and when one is removed, it is separated from the rest.  I see how her eyes are filled with heart and trust, and when she speaks to me, I listen.  And believe.  

I arrived in my classroom at 8:15 a.m.  Johnny stood next to me, trembling.  We started to head over to one of the tables.  All of a sudden, three boys about my size approached us.  “Hey, look at him.  He’s as skinny as a pencil!” the boys cackled.  I put my arm in front of Johnny.  

“And he limps like half a dead frog!” another boy giggled.  Johnny decided to defend himself.  

“I do not!  Stop it!”  he tried to yell under lisp.  

“Why do you tawk wike dis?”

“He can’t look, walk or talk like a human!” the boys laughed.

“Leave him alone!” I yelled over everyone.  I put my arm around Johnny and walked him over to a table.  “Sit down Johnny.  Don’t listen to them.  You are the most amazing boy I know.”  He grinned, but his eyes say something else.  “Johnny, do you want me to tell the teacher what they said about you?”


“How about mommy?”



“I said NO!”

“Okay, whatever.  No need to get angry.”  Johnny looked away.  I can see his innocence and fear that he is feeling, and that was when the teacher came in.

At recess the whole class went outside on the playground.  Not a big deal.  Johnny couldn’t do any of it, so I had to stay with him.  I can’t afford to risk him after what happened this morning.  Not a chance.  The boys came back a few minutes after we came outside.  This time, three others stood with smirks on the faces behind them, their eyebrows narrowed, and their fists clenched.  “Who, what, when, where, why, how?  What am I going to do?”  I thought to myself.  I was stressing myself so much I couldn’t think straight.  “What do you want?” I snapped.  

“We want to show you who’s the boss.  No one tells me what to do,” the boy responded sourly.  

“How old are you? 2?”

“We are 10, and way older than a 7 and 5 year old.”

I rolled my eyes.  “Well leave us out of it,” I said, as if I was tough.  I turned to walk away . At that moment, I felt a pull on my shirt.  My stomach turned.  The boy yanked me backwards and dragged me to the ground.  The next thing I knew is that not only did I see six boys, I saw twelve boys.  I saw Johnny trying to back up with his cane.  

“What are you gonna do now you little weakling?” they chanted.  I froze, butterflies went insane in my stomach like buzzing vibrations on every part of my body.  I saw Johnny’s eyes getting red and watery.  He shot everyone a look that was in front of him that was ready to pounce an angry look, making my heart beat a million times faster.  My pulse was about to shoot out of my neck.

I cried.  “Johnny!” I yelled.  He lay helpless on the ground, curling his legs into a ball, his hands in front of him to try and block harm.  All I hear is crying.  His head was red and his hair was wet.  Johnny froze.  He did not move for a few minutes.  I don’t think he can move.  

The boys laughed and laughed until they ran out of breathe.  I wanted to kill them!  I swear they are demons sent from hell.  I ran to Johnny’s side. “Johnny, are you okay?”

He coughed, and coughed, and whimpered.  He didn’t say a word.  I felt tears in my eyes again.  “Hello?” I asked, worried.  He didn’t speak.  I don’t think he can speak.  I tried to help him up, but he refused and wiggled out of my arms.  What is wrong with him?  Nothing like this has ever happened to him before.  I squeezed his thin hand.  It was shaking ice.  I wonder if mother could bare to face her son looking like a disabled stick figure.  

We returned home at 4:00.  Johnny hid his face underneath his jacket.  Apparently, mother is too smart to fall for that.  “Johnny, is there something you want to tell me?” she asked curiously.

“Ummm...no.”  Johnny shook his head slowly.

Mother sighed.  Rolling her eyes, she unzipped his jacket.  “Oh my god,” she gasped a stared at Johnny’s swollen lip and black and purple eye.  Johnny stared into her eyes as if he didn’t care.  And you never know what goes inside Johnny’s mind.  “Johnny, what on earth happened to you?”   

“I was playing on the swing set, then I hit my head on the slide.”

“Looks like you also hit your eye and your lip,” she said suspiciously.   

“Gnarly huh?” I hesitated.  Well, what else was I supposed to say?

“I think I’m going to talk to the principal about this.”

“No!” Johnny cried.  

“Why not Johnny?  Don’t you want people to top walking all over you like a doormat?” mother asked, but told him.

“If you do this, I will never go to school again.  I hate school!”  That was the first time Johnny has ever yelled in rage.  He never gets angry, but those stupid kids pushed his buttons, and I chickened out.  But I don’t know why Johnny wants to keep this a secret?  

Mother scheduled a doctor’s appointment for Johnny.  This may seem minor, but not for a disabled boy.  Johnny’s eye has not gotten any lighter since yesterday, and his lip hasn’t healed yet.  Usually the bleeding would have stopped by now, but he is still bleeding.  Something isn’t right.

The doctor’s returned with frowns scarring their faces.  “So what’s the news?” asked mother.  

“Well, there are serious symptoms for the incident that he was involved in, not related to what we have diagnosed.”

“What did you find?”  asked mother with worry in her eyes.  My heart was thumping.  

“We have seen the symptoms that have been related to his disability, but they were also the symptoms of brain cancer.”  I froze again.  I can’t listen to this. I stomped out,  slammed the door shut and sat in the hallway.  

“No.  He can’t be.  He’s my baby boy.  What can we do?”  I hear mother sobbing heavily through the door like if Johnny already died.  I wish she would shut up right now. I don’t care.  

“We can put him under some treatment, but there is no need to get into the details.”

“Well how long does he have?”  The doctors looked at each other with the smallest tears in their eyes.  

“Less than five weeks,” they replied lowly.

Mother opened her mouth wide, and weeped into Johnny’s shoulder.  Johnny looked at her, and then looked up.  I peeked through the window, just to see him staring off into space.  His innocent face made me cry.  I have less than five weeks with my only brother. I wiped my tears away.  My heart became smaller.  My fists clenched, my face turned red and my ears popped.  I sprinted back into the office.  I stood in front of the doctor and screamed in his face.  “Well if he is to die then LET HIM DIE!”  I took a step back.  I shot Johnny a dirty look.  “How could you?”  I whispered.  A tear went down his cheek.  “I’m sorry,” he whispered.  

“Ugghhhhh!”  I screamed and shook the whole building.  I don’t care about Johnny anymore.  If  only I had a brother that wouldn’t break my heart.  But that’s too bad for me.  Who would say they love someone and just die?  He won’t receive any love from me.  He doesn’t deserve it.  I will never stand to look at him again.  

My father came home from work that afternoon, shaking off his umbrella and letting the firelight dry him off from the soaking rain outside.  He showered my mother in romance, but she was still sobbing.  “What’s wrong darling?”

“I will tell you later.  Not in front of the kids.  I don’t think they understand.”  Mother put her face on my dad’s shoulder.  “What’s for dinner honey?” he says practically.  Mother checked the oven.  “Pork and beets,” she responded.  “Do you want some tea, darling?  It’s chilly outside.”  

“I could care for cup.” I knew what mother was doing.  She was trying to act normal and calm just to fool me that nothing was wrong.  Well, she’s the one who’s wrong.  I’m not so dumb.  I’m furious.  If you looked into my eyes, you would see a dead little girl, and a brother next to her staring off into space.  It should of been him.  It should have been my brother.  I think it will be.  I have mixed feelings.  I don’t know what to do, but I think I love him.

“Darling, we need to talk.”


That night, I sat on my dad’s lap so that he could read a book to me.  “Dad, can you help me with this word?”

“Tammy, you remember it.”

“Father, I’m sorry, I don’t.  You know I have-”

“Short term memory.  Yes, I do.  But sweetie, you are better than a silly disease.  You can do it.”

I sighed in discomfort.  I couldn’t stop fidgeting, because my heart wants to pity someone.  “Okay.  The word is...love.”

I know that my dad found out that Johnny has brain cancer, and he has four weeks left.  There has to be some way.  There has to be some way to save him.  Me heart chants all day telling me that there is a way.  But my brain tells me there is no way.  In this case, I decide to listen to my head.  Johnny is going to die.  I didn’t mean what I said before about him.  I don’t think it’s his fault, but I still think it was selfish for the universe to do that to him.  Or whatever gave him cancer.  I hope those 5th grade boys are laughing their heads off now.  Maybe they will feel guilty when they realize my brother is dead.  Maybe they will apologize.  Maybe I will tell them that they are the reason Johnny remains with his disability and will not survive.  I just want to die with him.  There is a dark cloud over my heart.  Can someone tell my mother that a petal on the orchid is dying?

Four weeks ago, Johnny was diagnosed with brain cancer.  I can see it in Johnny’s eyes that this is his last.  I will not leave his side until that time comes.  It is midnight, and Johnny lies in bed like a sleeping cat, perfectly fine.  I gaze up at the sky to see the moon, stars, and the dark, night sky.  “Please save him,” I whispered into the air.  I know God is listening.  Maybe he will will, or maybe he’s waiting for Johnny.  Johnny stretched out his weak arm to hold onto me.  His eyes were half opened, and his heart was beating slowly.  Mother and father are sleeping beside us.    I can’t do this.  Not without mother or father awake with me.  But he knows.  Johnny knows something that I don’t.  “I love you, Tammy,” Johnny whispered.  Tears came to my eyes.  I cried like never before.  I laid my head on him, squeezing his hand and hugging him non-stop.  His eyes dimmed.  His hand grasping mine became weaker, and weaker, and weaker.  He hand was cold.  His eyes blackened.  Then he let go.  And that’s when the petal on the orchid fell off.

Mother couldn’t burst a smile onto her face for the past five months.  I couldn’t either, or my father.  I still had school, but it’s not the same.  Eating dinner is not the same.  Reading with my dad is not the same, and living my life is not the same.  I will not stand to see another petal fall off the orchid.  But I think one is just about to.  

I stand in front of a burning building that afternoon.  Smoke and sorrow fills the musty air.  Heat from the demon fire burns my face.  Who, what, when, where why, how?  I don’t know how or why this happened.  I just know that when my heartaches, someone is in danger.  And that someone is mother.  My mother is in that building.  I try to run it, but police officers hold me back.  “Get out of my way!”  I yelled, pushing and shoving.  “My mother is in there.  My mother is in there!”  No one cared.  Like every other unfortunate soul who will put someone and call the people “they.”  I wept and ran away.  I ran back home and gave father a hug.  “No matter what happens darling, the two of us will make it together.  I promise.”  Father knows.  He knows everything.  He is strong and courageous even without my mother.  But promises can be broken.  Now without a mother, or a brother to be my best friend, we are alone. The orchid’s cry as the half the building burned down. Right there, I knew, it was all over.

I can’t even remember where my dad is.  Maybe he died too.  Maybe he left me? I can’t remember.  I don’t want to, and I don’t need to.  My life is a dreaded piece of trash, and I shouldn’t be surviving out here.  I should be dead too.

 I strive to move on from grief and despair, but I find it to be very troublesome.  Even if mother and father were gone three months ago.  Suddenly I remember I heard of some fireworks that will be sparkling in the sky tonight.  Some people say the cemetery is the best spot.  Fireworks always spark a smile on my face.  

All I can think about is mother.  A mother who will take me and my family to see the fireworks tonight.  I feel weary, and my vision is blurred from the rain.  I close my eyes, half shut as I walk down the damp road darkened by rain clouds hovering over everything.  Straight ahead, I see someone.  Oh my goodness, she looks so familiar.  “Mother?”  My face remains straight.  “Is it really you?”  The woman got on her knees and held out her arms.  I ran into her arms, squeezing her as if I hadn't seen her in a thousand years. My eyes were watery, tears ran down my cheek and my heart was filled with joy and comfort, once more.  “I thought you were dead!”  Mother smiled, with that warm and touching smile you get from a mother.  That smile I remembered, that so many see everyday.  It touches my heart after going a few months without a smile from a mother.  “I missed you so much, darling!  You know I would never leave you.  I love you to the moon and back, how could I do such a thing?”  

“Mother, I knew you would come back for me!”  After that moment of hope and company, my eyes are drawn to the purple orchid in her hair.  “Mother, your orchid.  Where is Johnny and dad?”  Mother looked down, her face was not lit anymore.  No reply.  “Well, where are they?”  

“You don’t remember?  Darling, they moved.  They moved to Heaven.  The happiest and best place they could be is Heaven.”

“Just as I thought.  I lost them.”

“There is nothing we can do sweetie.  It was out of our hands, and almost a year ago.  Tell you what.  Do you want to see the fireworks tonight?”

“I would love to!”

“I will meet you there in a little while.  I just have to go down to the café.  Go to the cemetery, okay?”

“Anything, mother!”  I was so excited to be reunited with my mother again, I didn’t even see her leave.  It was almost like she vanished into thin air.  It doesn’t matter, she will be back soon, so I better be ready.  Happy chills go down my spin like a river. A river that hasn’t dried out, because there is still hope for a family.  And my family is just a block away!

I approach the cemetery.  Tombstones stand surrounding in gorgeous flowers of similar kinds.  Roses, pink roses or poppies lie in front of me.  Then, I stop.  I look to my right to see a tombstone surrounded in flowers as well.  A year ago, the name Anabelle Stewart was carved into the stone.  I rubbed my eyes.  I feel like my memory has been erased.  I just can’t remember who this is.  I turned to head back the other way.  Just then, something caught my eye.  I slowly walked towards the tombstone again, just as the rain pours down harder.  It was surrounded by, flowers, flowers different from the rest.  Reaching out one finger, I trembled like a leaf.  As each moment passes, I am still.  I am a rock poisoned from anguish.  Agony breaks everything inside of me that is just waiting, watching, not responding to my mind.  My eyes fill up with sorrow as I gently stroked the petals of violet orchids.

© 2017 Grace Seibert

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very beautifully expressed

Posted 1 Year Ago

Nice! Well written . Your discriptions of both environment and emotion invited me to read on . I look forward to hearing more

Posted 1 Year Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on January 28, 2017
Last Updated on January 30, 2017