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Friday, 16 June 2017

Daisies

I was in the meadow, as I often am around sunset, when I saw a man come in from the south side where the public entrance is. It’s a quiet meadow; usually I’m alone. He came right to the center and, as he didn’t see me, and as I myself wasn’t doing anything in particular, I watched him.

He looked melancholic. There was an air of confusion about him, too. One wanted to give him a hug, yet at the same time felt he would certainly have refused it. For a while he simply stared at the birds, and I began to grow bored. Then his eye landed on a daisy. All the buttercups were gone; just daisies at this time of year. He plucked it.

“She loves me,” he said, and pulled a petal.

“She loves me not.”

The man went through each petal carefully, thoughtfully—and ended with “not.” He sighed.

So, it’s another heartbreak, I said to myself.

But then I had to duck—the man was looking around him, as though wondering if he were being watched. Perhaps I shouldn’t have; perhaps I can only blame myself for what followed. Feeling himself alone, he plucked another daisy. He went through the whole thing all over again, quicker this time. 

It also ended with “not.”

He smiled to himself wryly then, and let out a thin chuckle. “Ah,” he seemed to say; “so it is.”

Then he frowned.

Slowly, his hand reached out. It seized another daisy and methodically dismantled it, alternating like the tick of a clock. Receiving the same answer, he tossed it and went through another. And another. I watched him do this four or five times, and then I stopped counting. The man grew more and more desperate, even hysterical; he was practically ripping the flower petals apart. All ended: “She loves me, loves me not, loves me—loves me not.” What were the chances?

Finally, with a small shriek he hurled the last stripped flower from his hand. Slowly, he lifted his head; slowly, he looked about him.

He was in a field of daisies. There were hundreds of them. Thousands.

Each quivered imperceptibly in the wind.


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