By Richard Wallace
“It rained during the night; actually, it rained all night, really hard.”
“I know; I heard it. I could hear the wind blowing through the trees and the rain being blown against my window. At times it sounded so beautiful. I guess you didn’t see it that way.”
“No, I didn’t, but that’s all right. It rains a lot at this time of year.
“I’m sorry I said that. That wasn’t very nice of me; you lost a petal.”
“I know; I lost a couple.”
“You must have been afraid.”
“What will your care taker do about the petals?”
“You mean the gardener.”
“Of course… “
“That’s all right. He’ll take off the ones that are damaged and maybe put in a new stake for support. I was really bent over in the wind and at times the rain just pounded down! How about you, Shelly, how are you feeling?”
“Oh, I’m fine.”
“Your hair is growing back.”
“Thankfully, I didn’t like it when my hair fell out. That was the worst. It was bad enough being sick to my stomach but the hair was the worst, I’ll never get over that.”
“I’m sure, but after you got a little better you did look cute in your little cap. I used to call it your welders cap.”
“You mean the one with the happy face, yes, I liked that one too.”
“You didn’t come to see me for a long time. I was worried.”
“I know, but it was only about six weeks. I had a set back”
“I don’t know, they gave me some new medicine and it didn’t work.”
“They tell me that I need more radiation and chemo. I’m so tired of that. Sometimes I feel like a vegetable.”
“Don’t say flower!”
“Oh, I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to say that.”
“That’s O.K., I’m just teasing.”
Shelley looked at her friend. She could see that he was not in very good shape. The wind and the rain had given him a terrible beating. He was missing a lot of petals and one of his stems was broken. Several others appeared to be missing and the driving rain had exposed some of his roots. The other flowers and plants in the garden didn’t fare any better. This was too bad.
Shelley knew that the gardeners loved their plants and soon her friend would be as good as new. She did feel a little sorry for him though. There must have been times when it was difficult for him to be in a garden where he was over shadowed by others, others that were taller and more beautiful, others with more colourful blooms and blossoms.
Every day started in a shadow, in the shadow of another, but as the day went on the shadows lifted and Shelley knew that her friend was overall pleased with himself. He was pleased with where he was in his life.
“Where are your gardeners?”
“They’re in another part of the garden. Some of the plants over there are so delicate. They seem to be vulnerable to every thing; too much water, too much sun, definitely too much wind and rain; even shade. I’m not sure that they are suitable for this climate but nonetheless, they are here.”
“Why did they plant them?”
“I’m not sure. They really don’t belong here. Even this elevation works against them. Sometimes you can’t win. We plants don’t have much of a say about where.”
“I know. I feel so sorry for them.”
“Shelley, how are you doing?”
“Oh, I’m fine, well, I guess pretty much fine. Everything has settled down. My hair is growing back and that’s a relief. I’m just so sick and tired of that bag of stuff going drip, drip, all day and all night.”
“When do you have to get hooked up again?”
“I have an hour.”
“Doesn’t your care giver ever wonder why you like to be brought out to this same spot all the time?”
“No, never, I told her that this place has a special feeling and that’s enough. She is so nice to me. I love her.”
“What’s the stuff they put in the bag, the drip bag?”
“I don’t know. I used to try to remember but the names are so long and confusing and it wouldn’t matter anyway. My mum and my dad know. They write everything down. And my nurse, she knows every thing.”
“How long have you been taking this stuff?”
“A couple of years I guess. I think that I came here about the same time you did. Was it hard for you, being put in a new place in the garden?”
“At first it was dreadful. I was so alone and I didn’t know any of the others. What made it worse was that it seemed to take forever for my roots to take hold but finally they did and I’m fine now.”
“Why did they move you?”
“My host plant was getting too big and couldn’t provide for me. I guess that was the reason, I’m fine now.”
“I know you are and I’m so glad you’re here, you are my best friend.”
“You’re my best friend too. How old were you when you first came here?”
“Mum and Dad brought me here when I was in Grade Seven I think. I guess I was twelve or thirteen years old. I think that I’ve been here for just over a year. Sometimes it’s all such a blur that I can’t keep track of anything. I’ve missed so much school.”
“What made them do that? What made them bring you here?”
“I’m not sure. I was tired all the time and I kept falling asleep in class. I used to be racing around all over the place, I had so much energy, and then I got really quiet. I guess that was it.”
“I’m sorry to hear that; it must have been hard.”
“It was sure hard on Mum and Dad. I can’t even think about it.”
“Shelley, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to ask you unhappy questions.”
“I know, that’s O.K., you are a special friend and I know you care.”
“Oh, oh! here comes my care giver, I guess I’ll be going now. I hope it doesn’t rain tonight….oh, and my Grandma is coming today, maybe she’s here now.”
“Good bye Shelly, hope to see you soon and have fun with your Grandma.”
“O.K…I will, see you later.”
Shelley didn’t know that her Grandma was coming until that very morning. She loved her Grandmothers visits, which were not nearly often enough. Grandma lived quite some distance away and could only come once in a while.
Her Grandmother was a good listener and that was a good thing because Shelley was a great talker. She could talk and talk.
It was during this visit that Shelley told her Grandma about her friend, the flower. She had to whisper because she didn’t want anyone else to hear. She didn’t even want her Mum and Dad to know and Grandma promised not to tell.
Grandma listened quietly and carefully and sometimes nodded her head. She smiled at Shelley and Shelley knew for sure that her Grandmother never doubted her, not at all.
That night when Shelley drifted off to sleep she thought of her Grandma and the flower and she knew that they would be such good friends. Grandma had to go home the next morning and Shelley hoped that her Grandma and the flower could meet another time.
“Wow Shelley, you came back. You were just here yesterday. This is so good.”
“I know but this is just a very short visit, I have to go to another hospital. I don’t know for how long, not too long I hope.”
“Me too, why so sudden?”
“I don’t know and nobody will say.”
“But I had so much to ask you and we have so much to talk about, things that are very special to me.”
“Like what? We do have a little time.”
“Well, I wanted to ask you about fairies and things of make believe. Do you believe in fairies?”
“I don’t think so, aren’t they just things that people make up and put in books?”
“No, fairies are real and they are every where! What about make believe, do you believe in make believe?”
“I don’t think that I believe in that either, do you?”
“Yes, of course I do. Fairies and make believe are some of the most important things in the world.”
“Is that true?”
“Yes, it is so true. You should ask your Grandmother, she will tell you.”
“I guess I could.”
“Shelley, I made you a poem about fairies and make believe.
“Do you want to hear it?”
“Yes, of course!”
“Do you believe in make believe?
I know the fairies do, when they’re playing on their sail boats on the roses filled with dew.
The fairies fly in space ships along the Milky Way and hide among the daffodils when they come to earth to play.
They dance between the moon beams, the clouds become their toys, my backyard is a meeting place and they never make a noise.
I saw a fairy yesterday, he didn’t know I knew about their games of make believe, the things that fairies do.
With water from a butter cup and a laugh from a wisp of wind, he was calling for his friends to come and let their play begin.
They ran about the flowers, their laughter reached the stars, their smiles went on forever and forever’s very far.
Do you believe in make believe?
I know the fairies do when they’re playing on their sailboats on the roses filled with dew.”
“Wow!…is that true?”
“It’s very true, I don’t really have a back yard, I just said that to make my story sound better.”
“That’s O.K. I knew what you meant.”
“Fairies are special. They keep me warm when it’s cold and make me laugh when I’m sad. I know that when I go to sleep at night that they will be there for me in the morning. They are there for all of us.”
“Do you believe in fairies now?”
“Yes, for sure I do. If I watch maybe I can find one for me.”
“I hope so, here comes your care giver. I’ll see you later.”
“See you flower, I love you.”
“I love you too Shelley, bye.”
The long days passed; the long days of summer. The days got a little shorter and then a lot shorter. Some of the flowers stopped blooming, some of the petals started falling to the ground and the nights grew quite cold. At night the wind picked up, a chill wind that said that summer was becoming a thing of the past. This summer at least.
The flower wondered what had become of Shelley. She had been away for long periods before but the flower had always known that she would be back. This time he was not so sure. He hoped and waited and watched as the days got a little colder and a little shorter.
He knew that his time for summer was drawing to a close. It wouldn’t be long now before he entered his winter sleep and a new cycle of life would begin.
He was reminded of a poem that gave meaning to this winter sleep, a special sleep, a pause for renewal. He looked at the trees and thought to himself that they looked so cold and alone, and thought of his little poem…..
Their empty arms reach to the sky
To clouds that darker grow
A leafy carpet then protects
The small ones there below
The snow will come and hide from us
The things that we hold dear
That take their time and rest a while
And bloom again next year
“Shelley, you came back!”
“Shelley, this is so great….Shelley,…. what happened to your hair?”
“It kind of fell out again.”
“Where’s your welders cap, the one with the happy face?”
“To be honest, I couldn’t be bothered.”
“Not good Shelley?”
“No, not good.”
“My care giver said that I could only be out here for only a very short time; I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be sorry Shelley, that’s O.K.”
“I made up a little poem for you. I wanted it to be a story but it’s too short.”
“Shelley, I like short poems. Tell me.”
My Flower friend
Stay where you are
That will be me
By the Evening Star
I’ll be your laugh
From a wisp of wind
My Flower friend
“Shelley, that is so beautiful.”
“Thank you, I like it too.”
“I’ll always be your friend, Shelley, always.”
“I know, here comes my care giver, I have to go.”
“But we haven’t talked.”
“I love you Shelley.”
“I love you too Flower.”
“See you back…..bye”