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Hothouse Flowers

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My mama always said you get out when you can. 

They leave in the middle of the night, during the peak of the witching hour. It feels oddly fitting, with the warm summer air surrounding them, softly caressing their skin, soothing, underneath loose cotton dresses. They cannot take more than the necessities. Everything else stays behind: jewellery, books, a stuffed bunny. All she takes is a journal.

I have my sister. 

As the sun rises at the horizon, San Francisco is hours behind them. Mother is probably raising hell, but she can’t bring herself to care. Amy has been silent the entire time, looking out of the window of Lucy’s self-bought car. Mother didn’t want her to have a car. Instead, Lucy got a driver. It wasn’t that Jessica had been a bad driver, or a bad person for that matter, but Lucy wanted more. She wanted some form of freedom, not only for herself but for Amy as well. With the help of her stepfather and her grandfather, she had obtained her license and had bought an old but reliable station wagon from Jessica’s ex-husband. This is its maiden voyage. So far, so good.

I can do without you. You said we were good together, but we've always been broken. We were never right. 

Exhaustion eventually sets in, and they have to find shelter. A lone home has a streetside lantern lit, and although everything inside of her tells her she’s lost her mind for ringing the doorbell, Lucy does so anyway. A man answers. In a thick Slavic accent he agrees to let them rest up for a while, even offering them the key to the door of the bedroom they stay in. It’s a young girl’s room, and Lucy absentmindedly wonders where the original occupant is. She wakes before Amy does, and ventures out into the yard. The two graves answer any questions she might have had. The man -- he never tells them his name, but neither do they tell him theirs -- is trying to revive a flower. Lucy quietly shows him how to, and he bows his head in gratitude. Maybe, she considers after they leave the man behind, this short visit was meant to be. Maybe the universe has led them there. If even just for the Iris’ sake.

You suffocated me. You never understood us. It's not by chance this didn't work. 

As the terrain surrounding them grows more and more open, and the frequency at which they encounter civilisation decreases, Lucy’s chest feels as if a weight is slowly being lifted off of it. The air around them feels fresher, crisper, and purer. It’s as if her body can move with more ease, like she’s lost her shackles keeping her chained to her mother’s view of her future. Rittenhouse . It would never have worked out anyway. Lucy doesn’t have the ability to support that much injustice in her.

You don't know me. How could you know me if you don't know her? 

Mother really should have known the moment she suggested that Lucy was destined to be more successful, beautiful, intelligent, powerful -- more everything -- than Amy that Lucy would never agree. She is nothing without her sister. She and Amy are one, and they can do anything as long as they have the other. Trying to separate them is the dumbest thing her mother has ever attempted. It just shows how little she truly knows about Lucy; how little she actually cares.

You ask me if I love you. You asked me if I loved you. You had to ask. 

It’s not that Lucy doesn’t love her mother. It’s not that Lucy doesn’t love Amy either. She just loves them in different ways. There’s a cultural obligation when it comes to loving her mother. If someone were to ask her a few years ago, she would reply that of course she loves her mother -- who doesn’t love their parents? But speaking with Jessica and her husband and the man with the Iris has taught her things that did not exist in her mother’s perfect little white picket fence supremacist bubble. She does love her mother. She loves her as a daughter should. As for Amy, she loves her with her soul. Their shared soul.

You tried to tear me down and sold me. So I left with her. We took our way out for something free, completely unlike you and I. 

Freedom is a strange thing to have if you’ve never had it. It confuses Lucy at first, and she’s grateful to have Amy by her side. When her sister asks her what she wants to do, her thoughts immediately go to what she should be doing. Amy shakes her head, and repeats her question. What does she want to do? Lucy wants to reply that she doesn’t know, but instead she pauses and lets her mind wander. She’d love to find a body of water, and swim. Amy grabs the map they bought at a slightly-dodgy gas station. Her index finger glides across the thick paper until she finds a small lake just a few miles away. 

Paradise or no paradise. It's finished... When I find it; when I know that I know that I know, you'll hear, you won't have to ask. 

When the cool water touches Lucy’s bare skin, she cries, and lets Amy hold her until the tears finally subside. As she takes shaky breaths against Amy’s chest, her sister comments that her grief has now been washed away by the lake, and though Lucy shakes her head, she wants to believe that it’s true.

I smile when I think of us, because it's over. It takes a long time to learn someone. 

They’ll eventually have to find a place to settle. Their savings won’t last them forever, but they should be good for now, and that’s good enough. Lucy’s got her sister, and Amy’s got her. 

My mama always said, we cannot run together.

But she was wrong.