Plucked

Aniqah Beharry, 2A, Honours Math/ Financial Analysis and Risk Management

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In January 2015, Brock Turner, a Stanford University Student, renowned for his swimming, was accused of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. His lenient judge, instead of facing 14 years in prison, gave him a 6 month jail sentence. Plucked is stemmed from a quote (below) from the victim’s letter and an acquaintance who shrugged their shoulders because ‘it wasn’t that bad.’

“You should have never done this to me. … But here we are. The damage is done, no one can undo it. And now we both have a choice. We can let this destroy us, I can remain angry and hurt and you can be in denial, or we can face it head on, I accept the pain, you accept the punishment, and we move on.” – victim

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“Is it really that bad?”

Is it?

 

Media doesn’t hesitate to portray the violent plucking of petals from flowers,

The poor unsuspecting flowers, no matter their brightness or scents,

Any species can be picked from the stems from which they were so once comfortably, naïvely swinging in the breeze.

Everyone loves flowers, different kinds for different reasons,

Some feel entitled to flowers but don’t understand that these flowers grew on their own and aren’t theirs to take.

From a little girl to years later, when I’m now a university student, they all still argue.

I’ve grown up in a society that blames flowers for being picked because they’re too pretty, because they were in a place they shouldn’t have been, because they were too bright, because they did this and that and this and that and this and that.

 

A lot of people ridicule and hold the flower culpable for what happens to them.

But I’d never heard this one before, “Is it really that bad?”

 

Is it really that bad?

           Is it really that bad?

                       Is it really that bad?

                                  Is it?

Is it bad?

          Is it fair?

                      Is it unfair?

 

When we see gorgeous, glowing flowers, we can’t help but compliment them,

Enjoying the way they dance to our tunes of flattery, incantation and ingenuity,

We’ve become so insensitive to harshness that we accept the silliest of gobbledegook,

The darkest of deceit, without a second thought.

Gorgeous they say, and after being plucked, they along with the other swaying dandelions,

Whisper your name as a poor beautiful, perennial broadleaf weed.

 

How can we say that the mayfly has a beautiful life cycle;

When the poor creature was dealt a bad hand?

If it even had time to grab the hands it was dealt…

How can we praise our daughters for turning around their lives;

For being so strong, after they had an unjust hand thrust upon them,

Forced to play in a game they didn’t even sign up for.

In a game, the scarred souls weren’t even ready for.

 

Is this all a game then? Why would anyone want to play such a cruel, sick game?

People sign up to play virtual reality video games because they love the thrill of adrenaline.

People love the euphoria of haunted houses and tales of ghosts and the supernatural.

Is it all a game when our sons can’t shut their eyes at night because they remember that their lives were ripped from their grasp;

Their sense of security obliterated by monsters? Not the ones under the bed.

 

By the commonness of plucking of flowers, you’re bound to know or have heard of an incidence.

Only the daylilies that are plucked before their day is up can understand.

The poor child grows weaker and weaker after being pulled from her roots, from her comfort, from everything she thought she knew. She dies a little inside.

She can’t sleep because her dreams at night suffocate her of all the little hope she has left.

She can’t eat because her soul is stuck, spiralling into a dark abyss that she can’t seem to find a grasp on to save herself from losing everything she knows.

She tries to fight against all odds, sucks in water if she can get to it, tries to absorb as much light, because there must be light in this Godforsaken world. There must be.

How could she have lived for so long if there hadn’t been? Right?

 

And what about It?

The flower picker.

The disgusting, wretched monster that didn’t ask her before, never spoke to her kindly like others who passed by.

Even if it didn’t think she’d agree, it could’ve still asked.

Maybe she might’ve nodded, or given some semblance of consent.

Although she knows now, that she’ll never.

Not that she’ll ever be offered because she’s weak and wrinkly now.

She’s wasted away after losing everything she thought she knew.

She’s wasted away after it tore her away from her sanity and the sanctity of life’s worth.

She’s let herself waste away, they say. She could’ve recovered but she let this happen to her.

It’s all her fault.

 

The other day I met someone that asked me if it’s really that bad;

If the sentences society imposes on such savages are superfluous,

That it’s not that big of a deal. It’s not like the person is dead.

 

Was it really that bad, when the sweetclover and milk thistle were extracted from their sense of self?

Was it really that bad when he could no longer see the other flowers flowing in the wind, with fluttering butterflies and dew drops adorning the scenery?

Was it really that bad when red dew drops ran from his petals as he slowly bent and sunk to the ground? Only for the breeze to blow them upright again, because no matter how hard he tried to do anything to get the memories to stop, he just couldn’t.   

He couldn’t sleep. She couldn’t eat.

They couldn’t function.

He couldn’t move. She couldn’t wake up.

They were stuck in a dysfunctional dream, where they kept falling lower and lower, until eventually… they could no longer see the Heavens, the clouds. Everything was dark. Peace.

 

So… is it really that bad?

It just stole from them their sense of being, their ease of being,

It stole from them who they are.

But everyone steals. We steal hearts all the time.

So I guess it’s fine to steal a life every now and then… Right?

 

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