Chapter Twenty: The Gold in the Garden
When I finally arrived at the Victory Gardens, I was shocked. All I saw was a large open gate with a path leading through rows of green trees and well groomed grass. I saw many people coming in and out of this place, however, many married couples with their children sleeping in carriages and many other “artsy” types entering and exiting as well. Although it looked quite boring to me at first, I decided to go in because of the many people going and because I felt as if this place was probably teeming with beautiful botanical gardens. I followed the path until I reached a large fountain with a beautiful mermaid sitting in an open oyster shell holding a pearl. On the fountain was an inscription that read, “Orbis terrarum est nostrum ostrea,” and surrounding this focal point were four paths (including the one that I was currently on).
To the left of the fountain was a sign that showed the direction for each of the paths. The path to the left headed to the Elysian Butterfly Conservatory, the right lead to Meridian Lake and Botanical Gardens, and the path ahead of me was Pandora’s Pagoda. I decided to go the Meridian Lake because I wanted to sit around the water just to clear my mind. There has been a lot going on since my escape from Cheul, and I think now is a good time to just unwind and mentally go over everything piece by piece.
When I finally got to the lake I was hit by the smell of flowers intermingled with the smell of fresh water. I found a bench that was a few feet from the edge of the lake and I sat there. Reclining back on the bench, I was staring blankly into the mysterious, cerulean water. My mind drifted off into my thoughts of my life. I thought about how I felt about leaving in Cheul prior to my escape. I mentally compared it to how I felt now and realized that I was sadly still very unhappy and unsatisfied. Parauvin and Andrias are quite cruel to me. They don't even allow me to engage in the activities they are in, and there are so many secrets and such that they have yet to inform me of. Must I really consider leaving them and starting anew? Again?
Feeling quite conflicted and homesick I began to cry quietly, hoping that no one saw me. I reached into my purse and retrieved my kerchief, gently wiping my eyes with it to avoid smearing my delicately-applied makeup. Suddenly I couldn't contain myself and I began to cry even harder. I know it's very impolite for a lady to cry in public, but I didn't care anymore. I didn't feel like following the societal rules at that moment. I just wanted to let go of some unwanted baggage.