Where have all the flowers gone?

Every year for the past twenty, Amy tilled this spot and sunk the seeds into the soil.

For those two decades, the sunflowers refused to grow and the plot remained barren and unkind. She was bitter at the poetic injustice of it all, but each year she planted and waited.

“Are you going to try it again?” he asked. Amy looked up to find David standing over her. The Sunday sun accentuated the hopeful look in his kind eyes–the look that sickened her stomach and filled her heart with disdain and guilt all at once. She was tired of his face and spent most days wishing he’d go away.

She lunged at the hard dirt with her trowel and became impatient and staccato in her response, “Yes. Why wouldn’t I?”

She knew he hurt, too. So what? She pushed him away and rejected inner pleas that begged for closeness.

Amy continued with the wretched task and sent barbs of silent resentment to the man who had done nothing wrong except love her. Loved her in spite of and because of the unthinkable loss they shared.

There was no one to blame, so Amy blamed David. Blamed him for the sun rising in the morning and resented him for giving her a baby girl who was taken away too soon. Cursed him for still loving her and hated him because the damned sunflowers wouldn’t grow.

She clawed at the dirt and at some point, David walked away. His wish that she might love him back had long been forgotten. Now he yearned for her peace and prayed that the flowers would grow and bring some semblance of joy.

They spent that summer at opposite ends of sanity. She buried herself in mindless, solitary tasks and he disappeared every morning into the corners of the property they bought together as newlyweds. Days then were spent breathless and plastered together. Days now were spent apart and nights even further.

At first, she didn’t pay any attention and welcomed the time away from his prying, loving, worried eyes. But her curiosity grew as minutes away became hours. Some days he didn’t come back until after the sun had already set.

She was intrigued. And softened.

David loved the daily escape and pretended to miss her less as each moment turned to the next. Someday, he’d let her in on his secret, but until then, he’d keep his solitary peace and delightful gift to himself.

It was midafternoon on a Monday that Amy rose from her yard work and wandered over to what was supposed to be the sunflower patch. Not even a sprig. Just a somber headstone.

“Amy!” a soft voice called. It came from the woods and she was drawn to the familiar, masculine warmth and excitement.

She walked to a clearing and entered through a narrow path that was just wide enough for one person.

“Is this where David goes?” she wondered. It was the first time in years he had spontaneously entered her thoughts.

“Come here, Amy,” the voice repeated. She followed the path until she was face to face with David.

“See what I found, my love?”

He was standing among hundreds and hundreds of 6-foot stalks of buttercream blooms.

“How? What?” She collapsed to her knees, struggling for words and clarity and moments later found herself returning David’s reach for her hand.

“Birds,” he laughed. “It must be the birds! They have been stealing your seeds and planting them here.”

Amy surveyed the huge expanse of sunflowers and melted into his eyes full of loving light and understanding. Every variety of seed she’d ever purchased was standing before her in crowning glory. Buttery petals blocking out the sun all while reaching for the rays.

Little Becka, Giganteus, Stella Gold

“It’s Joy’s sunflower patch!” Amy’s voice whispered a truce as sparkly tears clung to her lashes.

“I know, Baby. She’s been growing her own for years. Just waiting for us to find her.” And each other.

Amy felt David’s arms tighten like a protective suit of armor around her small, broken heart. She didn’t run away this time.  The smile that used to break her spirit, now renewed it. She saw Joy in his face and, for this moment, felt as close to happy as she could ever hope for.

 

 

****

Written for the Yeah Write #170 Summer Challenge Series. In fact, if you are interested in honing your own skills, head over there now and get signed up for the whole summer. This week’s challenge focuses on conflict with the optional prompt, “Where have all the flowers gone?”

600 words: non-fiction

750 words: fiction

42 words: gargleblaster

Even though the baby names are different, this was written (accidentally) as part 2 to A Siren’s Sadness.

Happy writing, friends!! xo