Cherry Blossom Girl
She walked often, away from the house, down the sidewalk to the park hushed with early evening. Not many people were out then. Weaving in and out of the tree limbs that hung down, laden with fresh leaves, she found a place to sit away from the path. The concrete of the bench was cold.
Here, she could think. Not with the smell of overcooked meat, and greasy potatoes lying stale on a plate chipped with years. Here the air was fresh. Clean.
She thought again of how she could make it another day, just like she had for many days and years. If she could erase each one as it passed, the next one would not seem to suffocate her with its silent coming. She could be ready.
Looking around, she saw the trees had all begun to bloom in the mid-days of spring. The lilacs, the magnolias, the dogwoods, the redbuds, the apples, the cherry trees. They had all moved from dark skeleton, to mother nature's mistress in chiffon. She reached up to touch a delicate blossom. Instantly it began to wilt, its pink tinged petal turning translucent under the heat of her sensitive touch.
Some things were too delicate.
Doomed to live only for a few seconds in the expanse of eternity, unnoticed, prone to death, only for that one moment of exquisite gilded time. She knew what it was to be delicate and unprotected. She too felt the wilting of sensitivity and softness. She knew what it was to bloom and then be touched and die. It happened over and over and yet . . . she still lived; she still loved.
Her fingers traced the stem of the flower. It was tender, green inside, yet strong. It, joined with the trunk, moved all the way down, in rings of age, and layers of bark, through the hard clay into darkness and rock and the upper mantle of the earth. Fearlessly down. So that no matter what—the smell of someone getting high, the pain of another empty bottle hanging from his hands, the curse words, the loneliness, the hunger, the swallowing of everything including the overcooked meat and cold greasy potatoes—all of it cleared away. And even if the blossom seemed weak, it was connected, oh so betrayingly, by a system so strong and vast that the blossom, even when damaged, still survived.
In the harsh cold of winter, and the damaging frost, the sweltering heat, course hands, and a child's curiosity, it still survived. And today, NOW, much like the blossom, didn't have to be so painful. If you saw now as tomorrow or next week or next year, then it would be maybe or I hope or someday. It didn't have to be now.
She let the blossom slide from her palm. A soft fragrance still clung. It stayed, stained on her skin all the way home, through the trees, and along the path, and in through the front door.