Shirley pulls the sugar cookies out of the oven. She smiles warmly as she sets them on the counter to cool. She turns around, “Tracy, are you done mixing the orange Philadelphia cream cheese frosting?”
Tracy’s adorable ginger snap face laughs, “Yes, mom.”
Shirley comes around the table and while laughing wipes a little bit of frosting off of Tracy’s nose.
Shirley and Tracy put frosting on the cookies on a lovely Spring afternoon in April. Tracy’s been home sick for the past couple of days but is finally feeling better. Shirley’s happy that Tracy’s feeling better and also appreciates the alone time when the other kids are at school. Sometimes Shirley feels bad Tracy’s always been so quiet and shy that sometimes she seems left out. She’s Shirley’s littlest and yet has a big responsibility playing lead tambourine in the band.
Shirley says, “I’ll get the pitcher of milk and we’ll have some of these cookies before the others get home. Sound okay?”
“Ok!” Tracy chirps.
Shirley finishes her glass of milk and asks Tracy, “Do you remember that time Danny lost all of his socks in the dryer?”
Tracy laughs and says, “Yes.”
Shirley continues, “And do you remember when we saw those dinosaurs and they were fighting?
Tracy says, “Yes, that was exciting!”
“What’s your favorite memory, Tracy?” asks Shirley.
Tracy twirls her cute little head like a kitten. Ponders and then says, “When I invented flowers. That’s my happiest day, Mom. I’ve invented billions of things but the happiest day is the day I created the flower.”
Shirley smiles, “Yes, I remember that day, dear. That was the day the Great Power came like thick, invisible electricity to the land. Yes, that was a happy day.”
Tracy says, “What’s your favorite memory, mommy?”
Shirley replies, “Hmmm. I would say the happiest day is the day you died. Do you remember that day, Tracy?”
Tracy looks concerned and she whispers, “No. I don’t remember day I die.”
Shirley strokes Tracy’s red hair and says, “It was a beautiful day. It was in the Spring. I was walking through the new green fields when I saw a little speck of color in the distance. As I got closer I saw that it was something new in the world. I bent down to see more clearly what it was. It had a green stalk, two leaves and six white petals with a yellow circular center. As I bent down to look at it more closely I noticed the most beautiful smell I’d ever experienced. It was like perfume but of the earth; living and delightful to the delicate nostril hairs. I smiled and thought, “What is this wondrous thing? I think I’ll call it a flower.”
It was such a beautiful day. The sun had been out for over three thousand years. I bent down and picked the newly-named flower.”
Tracy looks down at the kitchen table and her empty cookie plate and slowly nods her head. “Yes, mommy. I remember. That was the day I died.”
Tracy starts to sniffle. Little blue tears trickle down her freckled face. She continues, “But then you put me in your golden honey hair and planted me so deep that I would never die again. Do you remember that, mommy?”
Shirley with tears streaming down her face says, “Yes, Tracy. I’ll never forget that.” As she places a flower on her grave.
Suzanne Crough. March 6,1963 – April 27, 2015
Artwork by Leonardo Casas aka Hey, Mister Sun Partridge