Kayla’s junior year was about to end, she just had to wait one month and all the suffering would end. She hated to go to school because she had no friends and people would bully her all the time. She wasn’t an ugly girl, but when she saw herself in the mirror, she’d feel terrible; there was nothing about her that she would find pretty. That was probably because everyone in school would tell her she was ugly and the guys wouldn’t notice her at all. Kayla could take no more of that bullying.
She had heard about summer party that was going to be happening next Friday. At first she didn’t want to go because she knew she’d have a bad time. But her mom told her that if she didn’t go to those events she would regret it when she grew older. Since that didn’t convince her, her mom told her that by not going, her personality was always going to be disgusting and that was making her be an ugly person. Kayla couldn’t believe that now she had to hear that treacherous word in her house, too. Now the bullying did not end in school but it continued in the only place where she felt safe from all the insults people told her. She was so angry that she decided to go away, any place but her house would be okay. After walking for half an hour, she found herself in front of a forest, which was located 4 km away from her house. It had huge trees, there was a lot of fog, and it was gloomy. She hesitated at first, but thought it would be a good place to think so she decided to enter the forest.
After a few minutes she got really tired, so she decided to sit down and rest a little. She was inspecting what surrounded her, it was bigger than it appeared to be, it was dark but there was light that came in through the voids of the forest, you could barely see any flowers or animals. Suddenly she saw a huge exotic flower and went to take a closer look at it. Since Kayla was really curious about it, she tried to open it. Before she realized it, a beautiful woman came out of the flower. The woman was really tall, her clothes were red and yellow, and there was something in her gold eyes that hypnotized you. But in the other hand, there was also something that made you doubt if it was wise to trust her or not.
The woman said with a soft, yet powerful voice “Hello Kayla”. She was alert and thought it was better not to answer yet. Kayla’s face showed no hint of fear but the woman could tell she was not exactly on her comfort zone. The woman waited a couple of seconds and decided to proceed “Kayla I know you’ve been wishing to be beautiful for a long time so people could see you in a different and better way”. Inside Kayla’s head were so many questions rolling up and down, and she needed answers. She finally said “Yes, I want that, so what? We all want to be pretty” she took a step towards the tall woman and asked “How do you know all that? And who are you, anyways?” The woman grinned and said “Consider me a friend of yours; and all my friends call me Naima”.
“Okay Naima,” said Kayla with a sarcastic tone, “so you know what I want and what with it? It will always be the same no one even cares what the ‘poor’ Kayla feels”. Naima was happy she was making Kayla reach the point where she wouldn’t care to give anything just to receive beauty. And she was going to continue helping her reach that point. “Sweetheart, you can stop being defensive with me. Unlike other people, I do want to help you. And beauty will give a complete different life, and you know it. Some people think it’s shallow to want beauty but I see nothing wrong with wanting to be beautiful”. Kayla wasn’t really sure about what to do, so she just asked “How can you help me to achieve what I want? It’s not like you’re a genie out of a magic lamp or something”. Naima answered “Well you see, I used to be very ugly, and I came to this forest that looked so spooky and ugly from outside but turns out that in the inside, there was a beautiful exotic flower waiting to be found. I found it and watered it for a couple of months and noticed that I was getting prettier and prettier each day, just as the flower.” Kayla was listening to the story and looking at Naima with eyes of hope. Naima was pleased with that; she knew she had Kayla in the palm of her hand. “And look at me now, you could have beauty as well. You would have so much fun and everything else you want would come to you like a magnet”.
Kayla was amazed by Naima’s story; she just couldn’t believe she had once been ugly. After all ‘poor’ Kayla wouldn’t have to live her whole life being an ugly girl, as she thought she was. She could be stunning, girls would admire her beauty and if they would hate her, it’d be because of jealousy. Guys would notice her and would actually ask her out. As Naima had said, life would be completely different for her. Kayla asked her what did she have to do to get beauty, to get that privilege. So Naima explained “You don’t have to do much. I’ll give you a flower-pot with one small exotic flower. Eventually it’ll be as big and pretty as this one” she said and pointed at the huge and colorful flower beside her, “for it to be like this one, you have to take good care of it. Water it every day, and each day some seeds will appear under the petals of the flower. You have to take those seeds, come here and give them to me”.
“That’s all I have to do? Why do you want the seeds?” asked Kayla, not believing Naima’s answer completely. But Naima convinced her by saying “Oh for nothing I just like to keep them because they’re pretty. You’ll see them when the small flower starts to bloom”. Actually Naima wanted the seeds because, since her flower was too old, it wasn’t producing more seeds. And bit by bit, her beauty was fading away. But if she told Kayla about it, she’d know that the seeds were useful and she wouldn’t want to give them to Naima. She had to be very careful with her words, so she also decided not to tell Kayla that if you don’t take the seeds off, the thorns will grow; and if you do, the thorns stay under control. It just seemed to be safe not to tell her.
Kayla was so excited, she took the flower and went home. She put the flower on her bedside table and went to bed. She dreamt about how beautiful she would be. The next day she went to school and no insult affected her because she was seeing the future not the ugly present.
When she came back from school she watered the plant, decided not to do her homework, and spent all day daydreaming about her upcoming beauty. The next day was almost the same, but while she was watering the flower she found something golden, just as Naima’s eyes. She grabbed it and realized it was one of those pretty seeds Naima had talked about, and she had to give it to her. She was so tired because of her soccer practice that she decided to give it to Naima the next day, after all she was a friend, it wouldn’t bother her. The next afternoon while she was watering the flower she found another seed but didn’t pull it off, Naima wouldn’t mind waiting one more day. The next day was the same and so was the other one. The flower had various seeds in its petals but they looked so pretty, so Kayla didn’t want to pull them off.
The thorns were growing but she didn’t pay attention to it because she was busy looking at herself in the mirror. Her face was changing a little; her skin was looking smoother, her hair was under control, and there was a hint of gold in her eyes. She was amazed, the flower was actually working. Each day the insults would be less and wouldn’t be as mean as they always were. Instead they would go with her because now everyone wanted to be her friend. It only took her two weeks to become so beautiful just by watering a flower, she could barely believe it. She was becoming as beautiful as Naima and she loved it. Now she didn’t have just a beautiful exotic flower with a lot of golden seeds, she was the most beautiful girl in the world and there was nothing she could care about but that.
Kayla continued watering the flower, and she would never stop because it gave her respect, beauty, popularity, and even a couple of dates. But she did stop paying close attention to it because now she was prettier than the flower. So she spent more time looking at herself in the mirror. She never realized that the thorns were growing more and more, when you saw the exotic flower on her bedside window, the thorns would be the first thing you saw because they were huge. But Kayla was blinded by her vanity.
One night, while she was dreaming about being named prom queen, the thorns grew. Each one of them was bigger than her head, the flower stem was long and it traveled through her bedside table, her bed, and other places of her room. She felt a small pinch but since she was too sleepy, she ignored it. But then a sharp thorn pierced her heart and blood started pouring down. Her heart used to be truly beautiful because of the values she used to have; but it was destroyed by the thorns and by vanity. She gave up the real beauty and blessings she had for physical beauty.
Her mother came in the next morning and fell to her knees. She had never seen that flower because she hadn’t gone inside Kayla’s room for a couple of weeks or so. But that mysterious and weird flower with huge thorns had killed her daughter. It had killed her baby, the girl who used to be so pure and kind. But that girl had invited vanity to her life and it killed her. At her funeral, her mother placed a simple white rose on her grave. That rose was so simple and so beautiful, just as Kayla used to be through her mother’s eyes. In that flower, thorns were little and purity was huge, that made a perfect flower. She had lost her baby, her white rose; and grief filled her soul. Yes, Kayla had become gorgeous over the last two weeks of her life; but her mother would give anything to have her white rose back, just the way Kayla used to be before she met Naima. Turns out she shouldn’t have trusted Naima, she knew what was going to happen because Kayla never gave her the seeds, and she didn’t do anything because she broke the deal they made.