I've always loved flowers. Red flowers. Yellow flowers. Roses. Daisies. Tulips.
When I was a little girl my dad would take me to this flower garden right in the heart of Downtown L.A and as the people and cars passed by it, busily making their ways through the day, I would sit in that Garden with my dad, for hours and hours and it was as if nothing else existed. The world around us was a million miles away.
We'd just sit there and he'd explain to me the different flower names and where they come from, when and how often they bloom.
The Freesia flower...meaning spirited. It has always been my favorite flower. My dad once said that often we don't choose our favorite flower that it chooses us. I never understood that. How can flower choose you?
My dad said a lot of things I didn't understand..at the time, being young and all. And after he died things only got more confusing. I felt alone in the world, yes I had I my mother and don't get me wrong, she was a great mother but she wasn't my dad. I couldn't talk to her about flowers or their meanings and how they related to life.
She didn't understand.
I mean, she wanted to...and she tried so hard, but...she just didn't get it. She couldn't get it.
At seventeen, a year after my dads death, I ran away from home and didn't look back. I begged my mother not to chase me or call the cops to bring me back. I told her that I needed to find my place in the world. That being in L.A was killing me, literally shortening my days. She didn't like it, but I'd be eighteen in a month anyways so she agreed.
I traveled the country for a while. Sometimes with random people I'd meet on the road and sometimes alone. I didn't care if something happened to me to be honest. I was living a dangerous life, one where I didn't know if I would make it to the next day but, I loved it.
When I turned twenty-two I talked to my mom in the first time in almost five years. She cried...I cried... It was a total mess really.
After some convincing, she got me to move back to L.A, something I swore to myself long ago that I would never do. But she was hurting and I could tell. Losing her husband and her daughter, it was unfair of me really to just up and leave like that. I know that now.
In fact, over the past few years I've gained a lot of knowledge: some about plants but mostly about life. I learned that no matter how highly we think of ourselves there is always something out there bigger than us. More than we could ever fathom.
I stop writing and look up at the fragile figure laying in the bed in front of me. I grab her hand and squeeze. Whispering an 'I love you,' as a tear makes it's way down my cheek. I release her hand and pick back up the pen.
No...we never imagine things bigger than us, sometimes because we're afraid of the unknown and sometimes because we simply just can't wrap our heads around it.
I never imagined that when I got back to L.A after five long years that something like this would happen to me...
I sigh and close my journal. "Nurse." I call out and a woman hurriedly makes her way into the room.
"Everything okay, Ashley?" She asks me with a worried look on her face. I'd been spending most of my days and nights here, so much so that the entire staff knew me by name.
"I'm going out for a while and I just didn't want her to be alone." I tell the nurse who wordlessly nods as I gather up my things and head out.
I knew it was no use to go there. She hadn't made an appearance in over two weeks. But being there gave me some solace. It made me believe, if even just for a second, that everything would be okay.
I exit the hospital and hop into my '05 Camry and speed away towards my destination. Tossing my journal onto the seat beside me.
I parked and walked across the street to the garden, the place my father and I spent many days. I took a seat on a bench; the spot we first spoke, where she smiled at me and asked if 'the seat next to me was taken.' I immediately feel a pang in my chest with this memory and begin to openly sob into my hands.
"Just give me a sign, anything!" I yell to the heavens. Not entirely sure if I even believe that someone's up there listening. Then I hear her voice call out my name. "Huh?" I jump up and look around. No one is near me. The nearest people are standing some hundred yards away looking at the chrysanthemums. I take a seat in my previous position. Hating the trick my mind had just played on me.
I never believed in something bigger than myself... no... I believed that everything had an explanation and that miracles didn't exist.
That is, until I met her...