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Up close she could see the lily innocence of her skin. She was still a girl, really. The strange girl turned her body to face Claudia head-on and said, "You're a flower girl too, you know."
She had carnations and daisies patterned pants, an orchid printed shirt, and a cardigan with knit roses dangling all over. Lavender barrettes held her strawberry blonde hair up, daffodil earrings sparkling in the sun, fuchsia petunia tattoos along her wrists, a violet design painted on her half-shaved head. Claudia took a step back as blood rushed to her face and she covered her mouth stuffing back the what on earth are you getting at.
Lush green leaves sprout and spread on my twigs.
¨My leaves are growing Momma, they're growing!" I say shaking for her attention.
¨I see it my little one, I see it," she says as she looks toward the sun breathing in the rays, her branches stretching back to life.
"When will the birds come to play with us? When, when, when?" I wobble around splaying myself out to capture each ray I can.
¨Any day now, if you listen you can hear the faint flapping of their wings in the distance.¨
I try to stop sucking in the water from my roots to hear better, but it is too hard. "I can't hear anything."
¨One day you will, you will,¨ Momma says.
Right when the clock hit 12:00 p.m. Taytum Murphy got up from her desk grasping her Nike gym bag and headed to the bathroom to change. She came out with a black Lycra outfit sculpted to her body, a silver backpack flopping behind her. A comic book hero rolling through the tan cubicles. She draped her blazer, collared shirt, and trousers over her ergonomic chair so they wouldn't wrinkle and left the office.
Paisley McKaley was so sweet. So sweet in fact, little peppermint candies fell from her at random moments through out the day. One might fall from her hair when she put it in a ponytail for P.E., or drop from her sleeve as she took notes in history, or escape from the bottom of her pants when she itched her calf in english. Russian literature tended to make her legs all tingly.
Amy Remy made two masks, one for each of her grandchildren. She used strands of her strong salt and peppered hair for thread. The fabric came from a scarf her own grandmother used to wear when she was a child. Amy's grandmother would take off her scarf and guard Amy's young ears from any harmful ideas the adults would carelessly toss around when forgetting her presence. She would wrap it around her head and kiss her cheek, Amy would watch her grandmother's wrinkles amplify as she scorned the others for using profanity.
I had been wanting to move to California for half a century. The tourists roaming my aisles would always talk about the weather there. They had either just been or were planning to go there next. The cold of Northern France's winters would make my flying buttresses smart like nothing else. A mystical land of warmth all year round for my aging foundations. The Californians that visited me would oogle my age, saying where they came from nothing looked like me, I would be unique.
Did you see my latest daily exhibit? I dabble in different mediums. I set shell mosaics in the sand at high tide. Spirals and swirls. Stack seaweed sculptures with kelp embellishments. They plump and hum with flies. Smooth bas-relief patterns onto the shore in wavy expressions of love. Shape-shifting.
Exhale my art and inhale the collaborational accents at low tide. Seagulls palmate painting making webbed impressions. Dogs scraping lines of searching stories. Children forming sand castles and streams. Lovers carving their names in hearts. I pull them back into me when my mother, the Moon, drags me in. I used to resent the turbulence of the tides, but I understand them now, the rhythm to my masterpieces.
Cynthia was happy to work from home... at first. So much freetime without having to commute back and forth to her job everyday. Lunches in the comfort of her recliner. Sleeping in to the last possible moment. Wearing sweats with a blouse for possible video conferencing meetings.
The first three weeks were a breeze. She stretched three times a day, did self-massage, and took coffee breaks with her co-workers online. She had never worked from home before. Sixty to zero. The rush of life followed by a slowing down that let her find her rhythm again, take stock of her life, breath.
Caredwyn played with the threads of the worn beach quilt her mother made from her childhood t-shirts that she couldn't bear to donate or throw away. Her mother sat next to her staring out at the waves as if the sets were speaking to her in morse code telling her what to say to her recently divorced daughter. Crash. Smash. Whoosh. "Just listen," they advised.
Running her fingers over the Carebear's belly to her right, Caredwyn took a handful of sand and placed it on the quilt square sculpting the sand around the cartoon character. She looked at the horizon as tears trickled down her cheeks. The liquid spread as she smiled when she saw the line of sailboats racing to the harbor. "Remember what I used to say about sailboats?" she said and rubbed her face with her sleeve.