Menu Close

Wingless and beautiful episode 2

The next day, Meredith dropped me off at CRC. She didn’t
say anything, maybe for fear of jinxing my decision to go
out of the house, but I know that she was over the moon
that I wanted to come back to the center.
“I have a meeting in the town center,” she called as I
got out of the car. “I’ll pick you up in the afternoon. Keep
your cellphone open.”
I nodded and headed towards the grounds. Meredith
waved at the guard standing on the gate, who immediately
let me in. I walked to the side of the building, towards the
path of trees that led to the woods.
Last night, I thought about the words that Hunter said to
me. I felt like with the limited words he said, in the short
span of time that I spent with him… he really reached out to
my soul. He spoke the words I couldn’t say to Meredith… the
words I could not even admit to myself.
I hated to acknowledge it, but Meredith was right. I
needed to talk to somebody. And somebody who knew
exactly what I was going through.
As I reached the garden, I saw Hunter sitting on the
bench, lost in his thoughts again, listening to every little
sound around him. I knew that he was aware of my
presence even before I was standing in front of him. The
minute I sat beside him, I heard his sharp intake of breath.
Suddenly, I felt self-conscious.
Could he smell me?
I smelled my shirt and caught the scent of the floral
perfume I sprayed on myself after I took a shower this
I looked over at him, taking slow breaths, so as not to
make a single sound. He was wearing a pair of jeans, a
white shirt over a red jacket. His hair was disheveled like he
just combed it with his fingers after he took a shower. He
was wearing those sunglasses again.
“Good morning,” he said.
“Good morning,” I greeted chirpily. “How did you know I
was here?”
“I could smell your perfume the minute you walked
towards the bench,” he replied.
“It could be anybody,” I pointed out.
He grinned and shook his head slightly. “I highly doubt
that. The sense of smell is the most powerful sense and
most likely the one that’s linked to the memory. I remember
your scent from yesterday. You smell like… you.”
“Er… is that a good thing?” I asked.
“You smell like sweet strawberries combined with a
scent of freesia and honeysuckle,” he replied. “It’s always a
good thing.”
He practically enumerated the scents of my perfume,
my soap and my shampoo. Being blind must have turned
him into a bloodhound.
There was silence. None of us spoke for a while. For the
first time in many months, I actually felt that silence could
be peaceful. Not the deafening kind that brought the
memories of that tragic night back into my reality.
I actually felt like I could be me again. I didn’t feel like a
ghost… with nightmares chasing me.
“How old are you, Allison?” Hunter asked, breaking the
“Sixteen,” I replied. “And you?”
“Sixteen turning seventeen soon.”
I tried not to heave a sigh that would make him sense
my emotions. But inside, I thought… how bad was it for a
handsome, agile sixteen-year-old boy to lose the most
precious gift of sight?
“Do you get visitors often?” I asked.
He shook his head. “They gave up on me. They only
come when I call them… if I needed anything.”
“Who’s they?”
“My dad,” he replied. “My aunt and uncle. They just
read my progress reports from here. And then they wait for
me to call.”
“Are you… having any treatments in this institution?”
He shrugged. “The doctors check on my eyes every
other day. But mostly it was just… counseling.”
“Why did you say that your parents gave up on you?”
He sighed. “Just my dad,” he corrected me. “We fought
all the time. He wanted me to undergo some… more
aggressive treatments. I don’t see his point.”
“Why? Don’t you want to… you know?”
“See again?” he asked. I didn’t answer. “Didn’t you just
say yesterday that seeing was not always a gift?”
“Yeah… I shouldn’t have said that.”
“But you were right. If I am able to see again… I would
see that my mother was no longer with me. And I would
remember that it was my father’s fault she wasn’t herself
when she drove our car into a tree.”
I felt a pinch in my heart when I heard him say that his
mother was gone. Because it reminded me that he wasn’t
the only one. Mine was gone too.
Two gunshots.
The first one was for my stepdad, so he could no longer
hurt me. My mother saved me. She made sure that I would
live and the months of physical abuse I went through under
the hands of my stepdad would be over.
The second shot was for… her. Because she couldn’t
live with the fact that she killed the man she loved the most.
I hated her for it. Even though I would always love her, I
know… deep inside my heart I would always hate her for not
being strong enough. For not thinking about me when she
pulled that trigger the second time around. For leaving me alone… knowing I was not old enough to take care of myself
and her sister was not capable enough to replace her in my
I didn’t realize it, but my breathing became heavier. I
felt the load that was inside my chest. It had always been
there. I refused to acknowledge it. Not when I woke up that
day in the hospital. Not during those times they forced
counseling on me immediately after I was discharged by the
doctors. Not all these months when Meredith encouraged
me to talk to her about how I felt.
But now… here with Hunter, all the pain, all the burden I
hid inside my chest just resurfaced, refusing to be ignored
anymore. And before I knew it, I was whimpering. I was
feeling that blinding pain of losing my mother… being saved
by her… and being abandoned by her seconds after. The
emotional and physical abuse I went through under my
stepdad’s broken mind and violent hands were nothing
compared to the pain I felt when I woke up in the hospital an
I felt Hunter’s arm around my shoulders. He gently
pulled me to him so I could rest my head against his chest.
And there… for the first time in probably months… I cried.
“Mama… where is Papa?” I remembered asking my
mother when I was five years old.
She laughed. “You’re special, Allison. God created you
so you could be all mine!” she replied, kissing me all over
the face and then tickling me until I tapped out.
I know now that she tried so hard not to make me feel
like there was something wrong with me. And how much she
wanted to make me feel complete even though my own
father walked out on us the minute she told him she was
“I love you, Mama,” I said to her in my tiny voice.
“And I love you very much too, my little angel.”
“Sssshhh…” I heard Hunter’s soothing voice against my
I pulled away from him, wiping my cheeks with my
fingers. Hunter did the same to his although he tried to hide
the fact that he was crying too.
“She took… took her own… life,” I stammered. “When
my stepdad threatened to kill me… she didn’t have a choice
but to pull the trigger. So I would be here today. So he could
no longer hurt me. For months, he was physically assaulting
me. He would beat me up and I remembered hiding under
the bed whenever he came home. My mother was helpless
to defend me sometimes.
“We loved him. And he would always feel remorseful
when he sobered up. But one night, it went too far. In his
poisoned mind, he saw me as a demon that he needed to
torture and kill.” I looked up at Hunter, who was listening to
me intently. “You asked me yesterday what was wrong with
me. I have a scar on my face. He used a chemical on me…
claiming that it would reveal the demon residing inside me.
It burned my skin. The wounds may have healed. But the
scars would always be here to remind me of that fateful
night.” I took a deep breath and suppressed a sob from
escaping my lips. “My mother was strong enough to kill him
to protect me. But unfortunately, she wasn’t strong
enough… to live with it.”
Too many months I held these emotions in. And now
that I finally cried… I was afraid I wouldn’t know how to
“I… haven’t cried since that night,” I sobbed. “I try not
to think about it. But every night, it all comes back to me…
when I sleep, the nightmares haunt me. Sometimes, I was
scared to sleep at all.”
Hunter reached out for my face. I took his hand and
guided it so he could touch my cheek. His touch felt warm
against the cold, dead skin of my scar.
“This scar was not supposed to remind you of what you
lost that night. It was supposed to remind you of what your mother gave up just so you could live,” he said in a
soothing, calm voice.
I shook my head. “I hated her for it. How could she
leave her little girl behind? We weren’t rich but we were
happy. And I had everything I ever needed. Now… I have
nothing. Just my aunt, who was too young to raise a kid on
her own.”
Hunter touched my scar again.
“I look monstrous,” I muttered.
“I’m sure you look tough.” He gave me a reassuring
smile. Hi us on plus two three four eight zero five five eight eight nine one eight three on watsapp to get added to our group.
My tears subsided and Hunter released my cheek. He
turned to the direction of the lake. He heaved a heavy sigh
and said, “My mother found out that my father was having
an affair. She had been drinking when she picked me up
from school. Then she started crying in the car, telling me
bits and pieces of how my father had been cheating on her
for years. She lost control of her emotions. Unfortunately…
she lost control of the wheel, too.”
“You were in the car with her?”
He nodded. “I lived. She died. I wish I did too. There was
nothing left for me here. A few months after my mother’s
funeral, my father proposed to his mistress and brought her
home. Now, you see… how could I come home? I could
not… would not… bear to be under the same roof as my
father and his new family. I came to this town because my
uncle lived here. And he told my dad about this place. They
figured it would help… fix me.”
“Did it?”
“Not even a little bit,” he chuckled humorlessly. “And
honestly… I just lost the will to try. The perfect family I once
had was gone… but not before I found out it wasn’t really
perfect after all.”
“Do you blame her?” I asked him. “Your mom? For what
happened to you?”
Hunter fell silent for a while, contemplating on his
answer. “It was easier for me to blame somebody who was
there to hear me curse and whine—somebody I could
punish. So I never thought about blaming my mom for what
happened to me… to us. Because none of it would have
happened… if my father was not cheating on us in the first
“I haven’t thought about my mom in a long time,” I
admitted sadly. “I didn’t know whether I should thank her
or… blame her. Love her or hate her.” Tears rolled down my
cheeks again. “All I know is that… I wish she never left me. I
didn’t want to talk about it. I didn’t want to cry. But I’m
getting tired of being strong sometimes.”
Hunter nodded. “I know exactly what you feel.” He felt
for my hand and gave it a squeeze. “Allison… you can be
weak here with me. And I would never judge you or expect
anything from you. Know that the things you feel about
losing your mom… I feel the exact same things too. So you
don’t have to worry. You’re on friendly grounds here with
I smiled and I wished he could see it. It had been a while
since I talked to someone who understood me… it had been
a while since I felt like I really had a friend.
“Thank you,” I whispered. I leaned my head on his
shoulder and I felt him put his arm around my back. I did
what he said. I allowed myself to be weak… even for just a
little while.
The next day, I asked Meredith to bring me back to the
center. She was more than happy to oblige. She must have
noticed something different in me yesterday. Sure, my eyes
were swollen, but I did feel lighter. Slowly, I was able to face
my demons. I was able to unload a little of those suppressed
emotions… the emotions that prevented me from
functioning properly and looking at life positively no matter
how many times I tried to smile or laugh and say that I was
When I hopped off the car and entered the grounds of
CMC, I immediately walked to the path that led to the
garden I shared with Hunter. When I got there, I was
surprised to see that he had a basket with him and a guitar
“What’s all these?” I asked.
“Figured I was starving you, sitting here all day. So, I
thought we should have some sustenance,” he replied,
“And the guitar is for?”
He shrugged. “I haven’t…” he trailed off. I figured that
he meant that he hadn’t played the guitar since his
accident. He wanted to give it a shot today.
As I looked at Hunter’s handsome face, looking lost and
confused, I thought that if only I could make him find a
reason to live each day of his life, I would feel okay. I would
probably gain back a little of the light I thought I lost. He
didn’t deserve to be in this institution. He belonged in
school, with pretty cheerleaders swarming in his circle,
hoping to catch just a little of his attention.
“I’m starving,” I said. I opened the picnic basket, took
out the cloth and placed it on the table. Then I took out the
sandwiches and the bottles of water and cartons of juice he
brought. “Who fixed all these?”
“I’m friends with the chef,” he answered. “He’s the only
one who kept me happy in this place.”
I laughed. “I could understand that.”
“What did he put in there?”
I recited the contents of the basket as I took them out. I
pulled out the last piece of item. I was surprised to find that
it was a rose. I sucked in a deep breath.
“What is it?” he asked.
“A… flower. Rose to be exact,” I replied. “I think… he’s
mistaken this for a date.”
Hunter fell silent for a while. Then he said, “Yeah. I
didn’t ask, so it isn’t a date.”
There was an awkward silence that followed. I looked at
Hunter and his face looked a little flushed. I haven’t been on
a date before, and my mother never lived long enough to
talk to me about it. Meredith wouldn’t know how to talk to
me about boys. She didn’t even know how to talk to me
about my mother. Imagine her opening up a topic about the
birds and the bees!
I placed a box of apple juice and a sandwich in front of
Hunter. “Bon appétit,” I said.
“Merci. Toi aussi.”
After eating, I fixed the table. Hunter tried to help, but I
told him to stay put.
“Allison…” he started to argue.
“Hunter!” I said firmly. “You don’t have to prove
anything to me. I am not judging you. I don’t pity you for not
being able to move around as much as you possibly can.
The only thing that I feel sorry for is… that you can’t see
what a beautiful piece of heaven this place is… and I will
always be thankful that you shared it with me.”
He fell silent. He drew in a deep breath, as if he was
contemplating on arguing with me but decided not to.
“Alright. Whatever suits you,” he murmured, finally leaving
me to clean up the mess and putting the items back in the
picnic basket.
“So… what’s with the guitar?” I asked. “You play
He nodded.
I took the case and opened it. I found a beautiful guitar
with a combination of black and violet gradient prints. I took
it out and sat beside him.
I started strumming and then blending the strings to
make sure each gives out the right sound.
“You don’t forget how to play,” I said to him. “Music
comes from the heart. And your hands… know exactly what
to do, even if you cannot see the strings.”
I started plucking the strings and produced a steady,
melodic sound. Again, I remembered my stepdad. It was one
of the things he taught me. Our favorite bonding moment
would be to play guitar together.
Tears welled up in my eyes as I played our favorite
Cats in the Cradle.
It was a difficult piece for me at first, but I got better
with time. Like Hunter, I haven’t played the guitar since my
stepfather lost his sanity.
Hunter listened to me intently. I didn’t sing. I just let the
music take over my hands… the way I told Hunter to let it
take over his. I was afraid that if I sing, my voice would
tremble and I would start crying uncontrollably.
When I finished playing, he was shaking his head
“What?” I asked.
“You must be some kind of kick-ass chick, huh.” He
beamed at me. “That was beautiful. I didn’t expect that you
would know how to play—and really, really well. I haven’t
met a girl who could play as good as you do. Most girls I
knew would rather paint their nails, not break them by
playing the guitar. Now, I’m challenged.”
I laughed. “Okay, Rockstar. Let’s see what you got.”
If before, he was reluctant to play the guitar again, now
I could see the excitement on his face. He took the guitar
from me and started feeling the strings, making sure he got
all of them located. And then he started plucking the strings
to play a familiar song.
‘Sweet Child O’ Mine.’
It was my turn to be dumbfounded. He may be blind
now, and he feels like he has nothing left going for him…
but his heart and his hands never forgot how to live. His
guitar skills were beyond amazing.
I was smiling when he finished playing. He inclined his
head to mine, turning his ear to me, as if he was waiting for something.
“What?” I asked, laughing. I know what he wanted and
somehow, I wanted him to wait for it just a little while
“Oh come on!” he groaned in frustration.
Finally, I stood up from my seat and started clapping. I
even put my fingers in my mouth to whistle. Yes, he was
that good. He deserved an applause.
He stood up from his seat, too, and then he bowed.
“Thank you, thank you!” After that, we both laughed…
genuinely and heartily… like we both didn’t think we would
still be able to play the guitar again.
He sat back on the bench and played another song. It
was something that I knew as well. A smile crept into my
face. I closed my eyes, and before I knew it, I was singing,
“You got a fast car… I want a ticket to anywhere. Maybe we
make a deal, maybe together we can get somewhere…”
That song touched me in many ways. I knew Hunter felt
the same way too. At first, I thought it was quite ironic for
him to play a song called ‘Fast Car’ when he lost so much in
a car accident. But then again… that was a good sign,
wasn’t it? Acceptance was always the first step to moving
forward. Like playing ‘Cats in The Cradle’ was a form of
acceptance on my part that things were never going back to
the way they used to be, but that didn’t mean I won’t find
happiness again.
When we finished, he turned to me. “You could make a
career in show business, you know?”
“Why is that?”
“A kick-ass chick who can play the guitar and sing as
well as you? Darned, you’re going places!” he praised.
“Well, so long as I don’t make live performances.”
“And why not?”
“I’m Scarface, remember?”
He set his guitar aside and reached up his hand to touch
my cheek gently. “Hey…” he whispered. “I swear, someday,you will play and sing in front of a crowd and you will wow
every single one of them.”
“Well, I hope you’ll be one of them.”
He nodded. “I may not be able to see you, but I sure
would hear you.”
I sighed sadly when I pulled away from him. How I wish
that would be true. That I wouldn’t be scared to show my
scars in public and Hunter would be able to see me play.
It was almost five o’clock when we headed out of the
woods. Meredith was coming to pick me up soon.
“Well, it was indeed a lovely day,” I said to Hunter. “I
don’t think I’ve smiled more in the last couple of months.”
“Me too,” Hunter agreed. I stared up at him. He was
looking at my face, although I know he couldn’t really see
me behind his sunglasses.
“What’s the color of your eyes?” I suddenly got curious.
He didn’t answer. Instead, he slowly touched his
sunglasses and perched it up his head. He stared down at
me in probably the most mesmerizing blue eyes I had ever
seen. They were expressive… as if they were meant to see
through my soul. And they were framed with long dark
lashes I didn’t think possible for boys at all.
Perhaps, if people would look closely, they would see
that his eyes were cloudy due to the damage in his cornea.
But from afar, no one would be able to tell that those
beautiful, bright blue eyes… could see nothing but
“Blue,” I breathed.
I think I forgot how to breathe as I stared up at him.
Hunter is… beautiful. Even without his eyesight… he was
“Allison…” he started. And I thought he sounded
nervous. “Could you… I mean… tomorrow… umm… could
you come back tomorrow? Spend… the day with me again?”
I blinked back and then I decided to tease him, “Hunter
Vaughn… are you asking me out on a date?”
I really didn’t think he was. Because… how could he? He
was beautiful even though he was blind. I’m not blind so I
could see the monstrous-looking scars my stepfather left
me. There was no way he’d be interested in me…
“Yes,” he replied. “Yes, I am.”
I stopped short, not really expecting that answer.
“Umm… do you even know how I look like? I look
horrendous,” I said. That was a lie. I didn’t really look
horrendous if one could manage to look past my scar. I had
long, dark brown hair and long dark lashes surrounded my
hazel green eyes. Okay, maybe I didn’t look as bad as I
wanted him to think, but with my scars, I was definitely no
Barbie doll.
Hunter shook his head. “I may be blind, Allison. But
believe me when I say that… I see you.” His voice was
serious… sincere. “And you… look unbelievably beautiful to
me. Like an angel sent down from heaven.”
I bit my lip because I didn’t want to cry. I didn’t get
many compliments these days. So, when I did… it really
touched me.
“Thank you,” I murmured.
He smiled. “So… is that a yes?”
“It’s an… ‘I’ll think about it,’” I teased. “Goodbye,
Hunter.” I turned and headed to the parking lot where
Meredith was watching me curiously


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *