Roots by Hilda Xhepa

She picked the flower yesterday, it was barren as the earthen root. She studied it with her eyes, then held it closer to her chest. She stroked its stem and outlined the petal-less seed bed circle in her hands clasping it tight at the bottom. She rushed home. She climbed into a chair, stood up, reaching for the vase hidden in the back of the right kitchen cabinet. It smelled like her mother’s hands, home efforts, and arts of years past. Like sticky clay and plastic, stoves, and mother’s loose and spinning fingers. Unloading glass cups one by one onto the counter, she clasped the bottom of the vase and balanced in her hand, kissed the petals of the rose daisy sculpted on its oval side, slipped it onto the counter, picked it up again, and mounted, down. The flower lingered in her left hand as she trickled water into the vase, focused the flower rear side up, and waited for the yellow flower feathers to blossom. She sat on her porch in the noon sunshine and surveyed over her mother’s calculated garden, trees, flowers, petals. She waited.

In the evening, her mother with a boxed up mind and lines trailing around her head, put her briefcase on the counter and slinking around the house, perched about, peering into rooms, checking under beds, examining closets. She creaked the porch door open, sighed when she saw her daughter, and crouched over the flower. She looked down on the girl with legs so limber and eyes so dolled. Careless brunette locks bouncing on her jagged chin. The seed bed was dangling in the water, and the roots were shooting over the rim of the ease-work, scattering dirt on the concrete and in the water, all over the vase. She frowned at her daughter, her swimming brown pupils softened as they met the girl’s eyes. “Don’t touch mother’s stuff.” The mother then snarled her lips and plucked the vase off the ground. The girl’s blue eyes glued back to the seed bed. The mother tossed out the decrepit flower, the water, and held the vase. She bathed it under hot water, with a soapy sponge caressing the jagged-less porcelain, outlining its smooth curves with her fingers, but after a familiar tender pat, she tucked it away into the cabinet.

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