And so it was.
God saw all that he had made,
and indeed it was very good
The sound of her sister’s voice pierces the sunlit afternoon stillness.
But Lucy is utterly absorbed in the garland she is making from the scores of dandelions scattered like stars across the street lawn. She remembers, if asked, that they used to live somewhere else that didn’t have a lawn or even a yard. But just now it seems to her that there has only ever been this golden day; with the green of the lawn, and the yellow of the dandelions vibrating in the sun; the shade of the nearby box tree like a deep hole in the lawn.
“There you are Dilly Dream! Mummy says to come in and have some cake because Daddy’s going soon.”
She looks up at her sister, who is wearing her best pink dress. It has puffed sleeves, a smocked bodice and flared skirt, and Katherine carries herself as if she is wearing a crinoline. Lucy’s dress, similar in style, has already lost its fresh-from-the-ironing-board crispness.
“Come on then!”
“I’m just doing this! You go way!”
Taking a deep breath, Lucy splits the stem of the last dandelion with her big round thumbnail…. “She’s got her father’s hands” … then, breathing out, she carefully extends the split to allow the folded flower from the other end of the chain to pass through and complete the circle. It is beautiful; the dandelions all still open, petals taut and full of juice; the blue iris and the center of blackness clearly visible on each, like eyes, wide open. Laying her offering on the lawn, she stands up, peels her now damp skirt from her thighs, carefully takes the chain up across her wrists and walks, as if on a tightrope, to where he is waiting for her.
As she enters the kitchen she has a sudden moment of hesitation and stands paralyzed in the doorway. She had forgotten the visitors who had come to say goodbye.
“Here let me fix your ribbon for you … just look at your dress.” Her mother’s voice goes unheeded, out at the edge somewhere.
“So there you are! What have you got there?”
“It’s for you!” she blurts out, her face getting hot.
“Well, you’d better put it on me then,” says her father leaning down to her, his face doing that funny thing with one side of his moustache curling up in a grin and one eyebrow raised.
Moving closer she smells the familiar mixture of tobacco and ether that comes from his suit, especially in the clouds of steam when her mum presses it with a wet cloth the iron going thump, thump, thump.
As she puts the garland round his neck, she feels a warm glow in her chest and a rush of energy tingling up her legs. Daddy squashes the flowers a bit with his big hug and all the flower-eyes are closed up by the time the time he swings his suitcase into the boot of the taxi, but he doesn’t take it off and goes off to fly ‘half way round the world’ wearing her daisy chain.
They wave until Daddy’s taxi disappears around the corner. Continue reading