The smell of salt and churned soil lingered in the air around me. Soft hypnotic notes were spilling out of the car stereo. I didn’t understand the meaning of the song, but the words sounded nice. So I began repeating them out loud and out of tune.
My mother turned in her seat gifting me with her smile a smile of love more visible in her eyes than her mouth. As we cruised down the long dirt road lined by the endless canola fields I clutched my hands tighter I could feel lily struggling to squeeze her tiny body between the cracks of my fingers. My parents didn’t know I had brought her with me.
I had found her earlier that morning hiding in the damp rotting strings of an old mop that had been forgotten some time ago. It was propped up against the historical Victorian house we were visiting. It hadn’t been a particularly interesting or important fixture of the house but stuck out to me anyhow.
I still don’t know what made me look under it but that’s seems to be the case for most everything I do. When I was young it never bothered me I just assumed that’s how everyone functioned. I have always had ideas or thoughts coming to me as if gifted from another person, A person who knows much more about life and the world than I ever could. I had walked right up to the mop studying it without a thought I carefully lifted it with one hand the other held out ready to scoop up fragile lily. Not wanting to burn her almost transparent skin I was careful not to touch her with my fingertips.
The car was beginning the heat up as the sun rose high into the sky. I could feel the tiny hairs on my face tingle as I began to sweat. Worried that lily had become still I chanced cracking my hands apart to get a glimpse of her. She lay motionless on my palm her mouth gapping open. I fell forward almost dropping her as my father slammed on the breaks I hadn’t realized I was screaming until both my parents were looking at me startled.
My father helped me dig a small grave for her right there on the side of the road. He dumped the matches out of a cardboard holder and placed her lifeless body inside. After he had covered her with dirt I knelt down and collected several small rocks the kind that always seem to linger on the side of roadways. I piled them on top of her grave thinking it would help me find her if we ever came this down this road again.
Story and written words © 2012 samantha plante