The Arbor (Tanka)

Amidst pink blossoms

Cotton candy confusions

Of tinted nature

We two walked through the arbor

Like the lovers we once were

The Flower Girl: Part 2

Author’s Note: Because you asked for more.

It was many years later when I next saw the flower girl. Age had taken its toll on me, the lines of a hard life marking my face like the rings of a felled tree. I’d happened upon a small wood in the full cerulean blush of a bluebell birthing, she was there.

Clara, my granddaughter, leapt from our car and raced into the trees before I could prevent it, me rushing after her. I called and bellowed, screamed and shouted until fearing for the child’s safety and my own sanity. However, I needn’t have worried.

I recognised her that instant though she hadn’t changed a day. Clara rested in the arms of a girl no older than herself, protected by her cradling twin. The flower girl swayed as though in a meadow breeze; there was no wind, the wood stagnant. I coaxed Clara away from the pretty child who remained unmoved, then thanked her profusely.

I made no mention of knowing her previously, asked not of her mother nor her family. Only then did she speak and only once. Her voice was like a spring morning, a soothing balm.

“Please, sir, might you spare me some water?”

I gave her the bottle that remained untouched from Clara’s ladybird backpack. The flower girl took it, smiled the kindest smile I’d ever seen and poured it over her long, golden hair. Like the sun rising on a summer’s day, the flower girl stood replenished.

Clara wept as we left the child to her little glade in the woods. I’d have asked her to come, to make our home hers, but unlike Clara, I’d seen she’d taken root, her feet a foot beneath the soil.

And that is how I would remember the flower girl, as one with nature. As one day, we all must be.

The Flower Girl

She’d braided daisies into her hair with the skilled fingers of a seamstress.

“How old?” I’d gasped.

“She’s five.”

“Where did she learn?”

“Not from us. One day, she just wandered into the meadow behind our house and started picking flowers. We watched from the garden gate with smiles from ear to ear. She left us dumbstruck when she began weaving them into her hair.”

Colleen placed her cup back on its saucer as the little girl laughed and danced and sang her chirping songs.

“Well, I’m staggered,” I said. And I was.

“Everyone says the same. She’s a very talented child.”

“You must be very proud,” I commented.

“Oh, we are. The best thing that ever happened to us was planting her.”

“Planting! I’ve never heard it called that before.”

“She still sleeps in the same pot,” Colleen continued as though in a dream. “We fear for her every frost.”

I don’t know what it was about the little girl but whenever the weather grew cold, I feared for her. The sun never seemed warm enough after that.

50 Word Stories: Time’s Circle

New life burst from the thought dead branches in plumes of bone-white like skeletal remains given a beauteous second chance. The world gleamed in their brave reemergence and so did I. Another year, another season in time’s circle had begun, and it still carried the colours of the last.

50 Word Stories: The Pause

Flowers everywhere peeled back their petals to welcome the sun. Duly, that life giver obliged like a lemon bringing zest to the hillside. I watched it all whilst eating a sandwich, my trekking having started well before dawn. Yes, the summit was close, but sometimes you just had to pause.

50 Word Stories: The White Caps

Winter threw his frosted cloak over Spring as if to conceal her forever. Those few hardy flowers who’d risked the early year disappeared overnight, only the snowdrops remaining. They shook their white caps and persevered risking all for life. They won. I don’t know how, but they did. Seasonal miracles.