I think I want to write a story. A story of a beautiful girl who would walk through meadows on cool breezy summer afternoons with her cane hat and springy dress, the dress has flowers on it – lilies, white and pink and orange. It is frock actually. She’s holding a basket in her right hand; it is slung over her arm, hanging by the elbow actually. She’s picking flowers, slowly, gently, as if she weren’t actually killing them off, but simply caressing them, convincing them to come into her hand as if it were the start of a new life. The flowers are looking more alive once they’ve been picked somehow. The basket has only the brightest of the lot. The lifeless ones have been left behind, the girl knows exactly what she wants. These flowers will go to her bouquet that she is making for her grandmother. She is ill, her grandmother, and ill like never before. She had had coughs and colds and things like that before, but somehow last night was different. Her parents had seemed scared last night; the grandmother seemed paler than usual. So she decided the only way to make her grandmother feel better was to make her look at something far livelier and cheery than the worried, anxious faces of her parents. It would not do. So she had decided to get out of her little countryside home and walk barefoot to the other side of town, where flower fields blossomed for miles around…
She had never thought about who owned these tulips; funny thought, now that she thought about it. It never seemed relevant. She always just came here, and picked the tulips to her heart’s content. She never bothered to wonder if it was wrong, what she was doing. Which is why she felt strange today. She has never really had this feeling of guilt before. Maybe I’ve grown up, she thinks, and smiles. She picks the flowers gently, lovingly as ever, much more lovingly than the owner of these tulips had ever watered them. But she has this nagging sense of guilt in her mind, lurking now, behind those happy thoughts of the beautiful, cheery bouquet she was about to make for her grandma. She decides she cares less about the owner, and more about her grandmother, so she starts to walk across the field and back to the main path, trudging carefully on the muddy field… She sees many flowers on the way that might be nice for the bouquet, but something in her heart tells her she may have run out of time… Then there was the encouragement in her mother’s eyes when she had told her of the bouquet plan. “Go, my dear, what a wonderful idea!” mother had said. And when she had left the house, her mother had not even bothered to check whether or not she was wearing any slippers… That was new. Even for her mother, that was new.
So she ignores these other nice flowers, and walks briskly back to her home. She feels this urge to walk faster, ever-faster, yet, she needs to have the bouquet ready by the time she gets back home too! So she makes the flowers sit in the right positions in her nice little basket, and walks faster and faster. Grandmother! She’d love these flowers, she thinks. She makes nice little patterns with the orange tulips, and with the pink ones, and with the white ones she makes a lovely border for the whole arrangement. It looks quite pleasant, she thinks. Grandmother would love it, she thinks to herself, and allows herself a small smile.
If there wasn’t her grandmother around, who’d she make bouquets for? She thinks. For the grocer, perhaps. He’s a nice enough fellow. But making them for grandma has its own charm, its own happiness. So she feels happy, and starts to skip back home. She is much faster now, and she rushes past the trees and the ducks in lake and over the little bridge over the stream that fills the lake, and into the town’s main street… She struts past the grocer, who waves at her as she passes by, she smiles at him, but feels sorry she hasn’t made anything for the dear grocer today… Next time I will, she promises herself. She is almost home now, and she checks her bouquet again: the flowers are all messed up now! She shouldn’t have skipped about, she made the arrangement go awry! She reaches the home, but stands on the steps a few minutes and sets the bouquet again… When it looks just nice, she enters the house and sees her parents sitting with their silly grim faces in the courtyard. She just shrugs her shoulders and walks past them with the sole intention of showing her grandmother these wonderful fresh faces. It’ll make her day, she’s sure of it.
She opens the door, and there she is the wrinkled kindly woman in her typical sky-blue sweater, cosy inside her patchwork quilt, quietly knitting away.
“Look what I brought for you, grandma!”