Tell A Tale in 500 Words

Garden Wall By Michaela Botterill

Life is death. Life is love.

He was my life and I was his. He sacrificed himself for me, and each day I did the same. Stuck behind these garden walls life was nothing more but me and him. But, what was life? The question had been on my tongue since I could remember. Cold winter days where I had little more than those words to keep me company. What was it like to truly live?

Words said so quietly in the gloomiest of nights, right when the moon would hit its highest peak and nothing surrounded me but cool dark silence. I whispered it. To the dancing shadows that spoke to me and only me. He couldn’t hear them. He didn’t want to. Didn’t care. Life didn’t need to be nothing more than what we- he had. In his life he was the king and I nothing more than an animal in a cage. Bruises were my bars and dark promises the key. So many times I’d stare at that garden wall, wandering, imagining what lay outside it. Lay just out of reach. What life really could be…?

But that brought me right back to the question, what was life? Was it the blisters that were rubbed raw from shoes two sizes too small? Was it a breath that rattled through my teeth, clenched my chest and came out as nothing more than a wheezing breath? Was life horrific? Cruel? Unimaginable? Or was that a lie? A lie he told me with lashings of his tongue and deceiving touches of his hand. Though perhaps, it was the truth… a dark truth, but a truth nonetheless. Though a truth said with poisonous intentions was no better than a lie.

Love was a lie. Our love was a lie.

Though this lie was what made me stay in these four walls dreaming of a world that could be. A love that once was enough but now was no longer worth it.

Life was supposed to be worth it. Life was a singing bird, a lone cloud in an endless sea of blue sky. Life was a cry, a scream, a laugh. Life was the happiest moments and the lowest. Life an undiscovered world, full of surprises and wonder, a galaxy of endless dreams just waiting to be explored.

Life was everything it could be, should be, and it was all right outside that garden wall!

He paused, turning towards me. I froze. He looked away. I took a silent, shaky breath.

The shadows beside me laughed, coiling and turning as they taunted whilst rising and floating over that goddamn wall. Off on an adventure, beckoning me to follow but knowing full well I can’t. My foot twitched, an uncontrollable spasm that urged me to move. I didn’t dare. He was in his world and I was in mine, the air between us separating us like those walls...

What was life? Life was mine and it was meant to be worth living.

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