The Golden Leaf: Part III
Jill woke up, feeling a little different. She could not quite explain it, but she knew that something was different about her.
Smiling from ear to ear, Jill clutched the golden leaf in her hand and entered the bathroom. Looking in the mirror, she was right. Her hair was a little longer. Jill guessed about four or five inches. Her hair was also in a different color. There were streaks of gold and orange mixed with her naturally brown hair. At this, Jill shrugged her shoulders and got ready.
Jill got her clothes for the day and got ready. She picked a purple dress with silver spots speckled all over. As she got ready in the bathroom, she wondered why her hair was longer and colored differently. Could it be the leaf? she thought. After getting ready, she tucked the golden leaf inside the top of her dress and exited the bathroom.
When Jill got to the bottom of the stairs, her mother was standing there. “Are you feeling any better….Jill!” she gasped.
Jill nodded and smiled. “I feel a lot better, mother.”
The mother frowned and looked at her in bewilderment. “That’s strange. Your hair looks a little longer. And you colored it?”
Jill lied again. It was not like her to do this. She still felt different. It didn’t make sense to her and she couldn’t explain it. “Yes mother. I did it for you. Do you like it?”
The mother was speechless. “Jill, I never said that you could color your hair. It does look a little different. Kind of like the leaves outside. Just don’t do it again, honey.”
Jill was troubled. She knew that she didn’t color her hair. She tried to say it, but it just wouldn’t come out. It was almost like something was preventing her from saying it.
“Honey?” the mother frowned. “Were you going to say something?”
Jill, puzzled, looked at her mother. “Yes….I was going to tell you that….my hair….looks nice today and I’m going to have breakfast now.”
The mother nodded, pointing towards the kitchen. “Okay honey.”
Jill entered the kitchen and poured herself a bowl of cereal. As she was pouring the milk, she was frustrated. That was not what I wanted to say at all! What’s happening to me? As she wondered this, a golden glint of light flashed from inside her dress.
After Jill finished her bowl of cereal, the doorbell rang. Her mother answered it.
“Jill!” her mother called. “It’s your friend Jaime!”
Jill ran to the door, which was open. Jaime was standing there, touting an eager expression.
“Are you ready to look for the golden leaf?” Jaime said with a big smile.
Jill nodded, and turned to her mother. “Me and Jaime are going to play outside for a while. I’ll be back later!”
The mother smiled, lightly tapping Jill on the shoulder. “Okay honey! Have fun!”
Jill and Jaime walked away from the house, towards the woods. As Jaime was walking, she stopped and looked at Jill.
Looking impatient, Jill frowned. “What?” she said, looking at Jaime.
Jaime was filled with confusion. “You look different. Your hair is longer and it has gold and orange streaks on it.”
Jill smiled. “I colored it myself,” she lied. “Do you like it?”
Jaime frowned. “I see that, but your hair is longer. I played with you yesterday and it was shorter. Hair doesn’t grow that fast, Jill.”
Jill was silent. She didn’t want to say anymore. The only thing she wanted to tell her was the truth. Instead, she was overcome with impatience. “Just leave me alone about the hair! So it grew that fast. Why does this bother you?”
Jaime gasped. While Jill was talking, she noticed a golden flash coming from her dress. “What was that flash?” she asked her.
Jill looked around. “What flash? I didn’t see any flash?”
“There!” Jaime shouted, pointing her finger at the dress. “I saw it again! It was gold colored. Did you find the golden leaf, Jill?”
Jill choked. “That’s what we’re going to find, isn’t it?”
A look of concern came over Jaime’s face. “Your face is getting red.” she told her. “Why are you sweating? You have the golden leaf, don’t you?”
Jill flashed, with a very bright gold light and a strong gust of wind blew right out of her, knocking Jaime down. Her hair also reverted back to its original color and retracted to its original length. “Leave me alone!” Jill shouted, using the girl’s voice she heard in her head.
Jaime was terrified. Getting to her feet, she screamed, backing away from Jill. “What’s happening to you?”
Jill used every ounce of strength she had and opened her mouth. “I….don’t know!” she cried.
Jaime looked at Jill, and pointed at her dress. “Get rid of that leaf, Jill! I think that’s what is causing all this.”
Jill shook her head. “No! It’s my leaf! I’m never going to give it up.”
Jaime held up her hand. “Then I’ll make you. I am not losing my best friend.”
Jaime lunged at Jill. In a split second, Jill transformed herself into a pile of leaves, which blew a few feet away from Jaime. The leaves rematerialized into Jill.
“Bye Jaime,” Jill told her.
Jill ran away from her and back toward the house. She didn’t want to run away from Jaime. She wanted to play with her some more. But for some reason, she couldn’t.
Jill entered the house and walked past her mother.
“What’s wrong?” the mother asked her.
“Jaime hates me!” Jill sobbed, as she began running up the stairs.
Jill entered her room and closed the door. She sulked on her bed for the rest of the day.
During that time, Jill took the golden leaf out of her dress. Filled with anger, she wanted to get rid of it. She ran into the bathroom with it and tried throwing it into the toilet. She couldn’t. The leaf stuck to her hand. Jill then heard the voice again. Learn who you are and things will be better….
Jill tried crinkling the leaf into pieces, but it remained whole no matter what she did.
Giving up, Jill re-entered her room and plopped on her bed. When her mom called her down for dinner, she ate it. Once again, her older brother was at his friend’s house, so it was just her, her mother and her father. Jill said nothing to her parents and quickly ate her dinner. After that, she ran upstairs, got ready, put her pajamas on and got into bed.
Jill lay there, holding the golden leaf. She felt helpless. Anything she tried to say regarding the truth to her parents was subverted by the voice in her head. She couldn’t get rid of the leaf, either.
Finally, Jill couldn’t stand it. She called to the voice. “Who are you?” she asked the voice. “You sound like a girl.”
A gentle breeze blew on Jill, even though her windows were closed. The voice then spoke. I am you, and you are me. Just give it time, and you will see.
Jill sighed and quietly scowled. “Why can’t I get rid of the leaf?”
A stronger breeze began to blow on Jill. I warned you, the voice told her. I told you to return the golden leaf to the forest, where you found it, but you didn’t. You wanted this leaf so bad, so now it’s yours. You will find it to be quite enjoyable, so don’t worry.
“Don’t worry?” Jill said with a frown. “What do you mean by that? I can’t get rid of this stupid leaf!”
The voice laughed. Why would you want to get rid of something that is yours? You wanted the leaf so bad, so now I am giving it to you as a gift. Now calm down and please accept the gift….
Jill gave a sigh of resentment and nodded. “I’ll accept the gift, but first tell me who you are.”
The wind blew around Jill in a sweeping motion, as if it were tickling her. As this continued, Jill began to giggle. The girl’s voice spoke again. I already told you. I am you, and you are me. Just give it time, and you will see.
The wind continued tickling Jill and she giggled louder. “Stop it!” she shouted with laughter.
At her request, the wind died down. Jill couldn’t figure out the riddle. On top of that, she was tired, so she decided to sleep on it. She grabbed the golden leaf and held it in her hand. Maybe this leaf wasn’t going to be so bad after all. She felt secure and safe when she held it. Before she fell asleep, she placed the golden leaf in the top of her pajamas. Right after this, she fell asleep.
As she slept, the same thing happened as the night before. Her pajamas glowed with the light emanating from the leaf. The glow then emanated from the covers and finally into the entire room. Jill then glowed, with a faint whisper coming from the wind.
Sleep on, Jill. Things will get better very soon. Don’t worry….
And the gentle wind remained with Jill, dancing with the golden glow of radiance in the room for the rest of the night….
©2012 K. L. Walker