Part 1

1.

Once there was a boy for whom flowers grew whenever he laughed.

2.

Suddenly he appeared, running beside me with a purple polka dotted umbrella.

3.

I still wore for years and years her love around me like a coat of sunlight.

4.

“Now this is how you grow a garden…”

5.

Somewhere, my boy was seven years old.

6.

The woods are not quiet. They are singing always.

7.

The storm that had threatened all night broke the next morning.

8.

When you are ready, oh glory, break up into the air and see the sky.

9.

It felt as if whole worlds would have shattered.

10.

I prayed he would never remember me. How that broke my heart!

11.

There he was… as beautiful as the sun.

12.

A petal landed on my nose.

13.

A small star of Jerusalem broke through the gravel, its small head bobbing in the rain.

14.

To me, you are love incarnate.

Part 2

15.

Once I’d told that truth any other truth felt easy.

16.

What do you wear to meet the parents of your child?

17.

It felt like the end of our journey.

18.

His head on my head, his heart beating in my ear.

19.

“I would know. A mother would know.”

20.

It felt the way a balloon must feel when it is loosed from a child’s grasp, listing its way up to nowhere.

21.

The boy told us many things.

22.

“That’s all we really ought to do in life is to make each other’s way easier.”

23.

I sat down on the porch steps, dazed.

24.

“He should have been back hours ago.”

25.

She was a wolf, waiting to pounce.

26.

He had not laughed in weeks and weeks.

27.

“They won’t be able to hide them forever.”

28.

Home. The sound of the word felt hollow to me.

29.

My mother came to me in a dream that night.

Part 3

30.

As if roses bloomed deep within me, as if a tide somewhere was slipping out to sea.

31.

The two of us together in half-light.

32.

It happened as we walked through the dunes.

33.

“I need you to believe that something beautiful is about to happen.”

34.

A coneflower bloomed on the walk beside us, its petals a deep red, its pistil the color of fire.

35.

“We’ll be trees then,” he said, kissing me.

36.

It was the truest prayer I knew.

37.

The man laughed a little. “I’m not of much use as a parent, I’m afraid.”

38.

“Mothers are an especially extraordinary breed of human.”

39.

The blossom closed tight, each petal curling in on itself like a shut fist.

40.

Now we were all waiting for the phone to ring.

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