FICTION: “Medications”

By Emily Harrison

As a final resort she — the doctor — told me to start eating the flora.

Ingest the flowers daily — plant seeds inside yourself. Maybe that might work.

I remained unconvinced on two counts. One, she was a pendulum of a woman — swinging from one idea to the next without time to ruminate over either. And two, I’d never been one for foraging. I knew nothing of the land other than what I saw — the sweat of men picking fruits in bronzed gardens. Their sheen more enthralling than the produce between their fingers.

But the void in me needed to be filled, and desperation made me succumb.

At first, I was apprehensive. I could only manage a delicate petal — picking at them one by one like a schoolgirl questioning love. She was unhappy with my progress.

You must help yourself.

The void was opening wider — gaping across me. After a gentle nudge I decided to plenty it. I ate blooms as though I was a woman starved. I sowed seeds too — mixed sunflowers in my cereal. More mint in my tea. I’d yet to go for the mire; the wet that it was. I would taste it when the time was right.

Spring made way for summer, and soon I was a Monet. Lily ponds my freckles and posies my eyes. My whole skin, alive. I left my haunt as though I were a monarch in flight, depression be damned.

But quiet fury came from afar, and autumn made me a ruin. I should have seen it. The cyclical element of nature — you cannot expect things to last. She chided me as though this was anything but her doing.

Happiness is fleeting — I thought you knew. I think this might be your burden, to always carry an emptiness.

I asked if she only meant it a temporary fix.

You thought the flowers could cure you? This is something you can only ever hope to control.

With winter on the horizon, the chasm inside swelled like a tumour. I ignored the sertraline and fluoxetine she doled out like an annual prize. Instead I kept on with the verdure — a quick trip and I was prepared. A mug and some mulch, I poured in the seeds — foxglove, larkspur, oleander.

Spoon to mouth, like a hungry child, I gorged until I was no longer craving. No longer wanting; the flora consuming me into a bitter absolution.

A young writer from Yorkshire, Emily Harrison has recently discovered that she actually likes creative writing, despite everything she may have previously said. She can be found on Twitter @emily__harrison, and has had work published with Storgy, Retreat West and Riggwelter Press to name a few.

Awkward Mermaid is an online literary community and safe space for writers to share freely their experiences with mental illness.

Awkward Mermaid is an online literary community and safe space for writers to share freely their experiences with mental illness.