17 February, 2015

The Petunia Thief

Here is my entry from the February 6th's Creative Prompt

The Petunia Thief sat on the wall thinking of her life. She ran her hands over the bouquet of petunias in her hand, stolen from Old Man Miller’s yard. She tried to remember how things came to this. How she had been reduced to stealing from other people’s gardens to remember beauty.

It was seventh grade when she discovered her black thump and propensity for killing anything she tried to grow. Flowers, fruit, herbs, bushes, anything she planted withered and died. She had tried growing from seedlings and starter plants, in a green house, on her windowsill, in the back yard, with her garden facing east, west, south and north – all to the same dreadful result.

She had asked her mother about it. Her mother, Mrs. Rosebush, always had the most remarkable wall of rose bushes along her property line. Every year they bloomed in unison, creating a covering Petunia loved to run under. When the roses started to wilt, Petunia would stand there and let the pedals fall on her like rain.

Her father, the Cabbage Man, had a lovely garden full of every kind of vegetable Petunia could think of. They would walk the grid and say what each was. The Cabbage Man tended his garden with great care, and the harvest fed their family year round.

With a name like Petunia, people assumed she would carry on the tradition of her parents. After Petunia alerted her mother to her condition, a flock of birds attacked one the bushes in the backyard. Her mother was devastated and always looked at Petunia as if she might have something to do with it. Later that year, the vegetable garden did not produce as it always had. The corn stalks were limp, the carrots miniscule, and the fruit trees unfruitful. That was when Petunia was sent to live with her cousins. Their house was dreary and monochrome. They ate food out of cans and didn’t have anything but weeds growing in the cracks of the sidewalks. Petunia hated it there.

So she ran away. Ran away and went to live where no one knew of Mrs. Rosebush or the Cabbage Man or anything about her family. She stole petunias to remember. She had always loved the flower she was named for. She loved how petunias looked like horns from the side. When she was little she had always picked them and then filled her lugs, sending the air through the back of the flower. She hoped it would make a sound. She loved the color of petunias, red, pink, purple, white, or blue. There were some that were striped or the color would grow more intense as it cascaded out of the middle.

Sitting on the wall, Petunia slipped at flower into her ear. She cast a glance to the sky, wondering if she could learn to grow her own flowers. Surely a person was not condemned to have a black thump. Surely there must be others like her who longed to have a garden of their own, only lacked the skills and knowledge for it. She would find them, she decided, she would find others like her, learn how to make petunias grow, so she would never have to steal them again.

Hearing Old Man Miller shout, Petunia jumped off the wall and started for town. She would do it today! She would go to the florist, Mr. Green Thump, explain her plan and enlist his help. Yes! She would learn how to grown her own petunias, and daffodils, strawberry bushes and apple trees! She would do it – even if it took her until she was old and gray. She would one day grow something and become more than just the Petunia Thief.

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© Amanda Lunday