My Purple Flowers… Christine McDonald

While I was walking along, keeping an eye out for a spigot, I saw some beautiful flowers in a yard behind a fence. Knowing that the owners must have a water hose around somewhere—and drawn by the flowers—I climbed over the fence. I just wanted to smell them at first. Then I saw the butterflies fluttering around and saw the sparkles from the morning dew, like tiny pearls on the petals. It was all so beautiful: the rich mixture of colors, so bright, with the lush, vibrant green grass that blanketed the ground in front of the flower bed. So I walked over and began picking
some flowers of each color: a red one, a blue one, a yellow one, and a few purple ones. The purple seemed so calm, so peaceful and rich.

As I was picking them, a man came out from the house with a phone in his hands. He was yelling, and he had an accent. “Get away!” he said. “I’m calling the police! Get away from my house!”

I had spotted the water hose, and I was thinking about how badly I needed that drink of water. But I realized the man would not let me near it.

“I’m sorry,” I said, and headed for the gate, with the man still yelling at me about my trespassing in his yard and picking his flowers. I still had them in my hand, and I dropped them by the fence as I exited the yard. I turned as he yelled once again that he was calling the police.

“I’m homeless,” I said. Then it hit me that I was barefoot, that I was standing in the cool of the grass, and that his flowers were beautiful. “I don’t see much beautiful stuff,” I said, and then I started walking again.

I realized then that he had stopped yelling at me. In fact, I heard him behind me, saying, “Hey, lady.” I turned, thinking for sure that the police had arrived at his house to arrest me for trespassing. Instead, I saw that he was holding the flowers I had dropped. He handed them to me.

I smiled and said thanks. He made eye contact with me very briefly, as if for a moment connecting with my humanity, something that happened so rarely for someone like me. And then he looked down. When he looked at me again, it was with a stern glare.

“Now go,” he said, “and stay out of my yard.”

I walked with those flowers, smelling them along the way—the smell so sweet, so fresh, and so pure—looking at the bright colors against my hands, which were riddled with open sores and blisters. My hands were so dirty, so
dark, but the purple stood out against them, so vibrant, clear, and bright. The color itself seemed to shout happiness and goodness. The brilliant colors of the petals across my blackened, filthy flesh were so beautiful, and the smell was so fragrant and sweet!

That day in the sunshine, I slid the flowers behind my ears as I walked to the corner where a trick was waiting, flashing his brake lights as a signal for me. My beautiful moment was over; it was back to my reality.

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