The Loving Thing: A Short Story

My grandmother was strong. Her strength was found in the poppies and daisies she had sewn in a small garden, off and behind a house that had stood tall for forty years or more.

Her hands were torn and calloused from the weeds that had sprung amongst generations. Her voice was hoarse from calling out the birds who had landed there. Her feet were tough from the years she had spent planted in the dirt.

But that was no matter. Her eyes pooled with relief at the sight of her little earth, of the flowers, big and small, that were nestled and placed by perfect hands. They basked in the light of her love.

But I, being seven and proud, wanted this light, too. With a butterfly's heart, with fingers worming their way into that same soil, I began to untangled all that had been worked there.

I made a crown of baby's breath, a skirt of sunflowers. I danced in the plucked petals, the roots of my friends found refuge in my hair. My toes stomped the soil that was now fresh with thoughts of me.

But the creek of a door broke my dance. In a slow turn, I saw my grandmother, still, staring at the freshly turned earth before her. And in her methodical, grounded manner, she carefully made her way towards me. With eyes, sad and sullen, she carried my gaze and said quietly to me, "Do not destroy the loving thing."

It was from this day forward, that I pressed only gently on the love sewn around me.

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