She traced the flower with her finger. Following each shriveled leaf with her finger. The shiny part of the leaf reminded her of her favorite pair of cowboy boots.
The leaf was worn and leathered, but somehow it managed to glisten.
She followed the veins of the leaf thinking about the countless rivers in Asia she attempted helping her son memorize for a History test. But unlike the rivers, these lines were straight.
They had direction. Unlike the seemingly unneeded rivers that were sprinkled across the continent. Since the funeral, the leaves had begun to droop.
She scolded herself for putting this off for so long. She opened the shadow box and placed the large flower in it. She began smoothing the leaves. But something made her stop.
It could have been her daughter calling her or maybe she just imagined it. It was most likely that she didn't want to close the shadow box and have to deal with the fact that her mother was dead.
He walked into the upstairs gallery of the house. "Mom!" he shouted. Where could she have been? Probably in her room mourning the loss of the sick, mean woman she called "Mother.
" His grandmother wasn't the type who gave out stale, sickeningly sweet fruit-flavored candies or went mountain climbing or jet skiing. She didn't knit, crochet, or sew.
Nor did she paint or give gifts. He walked over to the flower his mom left in an unopened shadow box. Just like the stem, his grandmother had been proper and straight.
Rigid like the multiple sides of the stem, and unbreakable. Nothing anyone said could get her to crack a smile. He was positive she didn't even smile when her grandchildren were born.
"Why would mother choose a flower as bright as this one?" he thought.
Before Mother had cut the flower to fit into the shadow box, it would have towered over grandmother who stood at barely 4'9''.
The color of the flower was a sunny yellow, which did not fit her either. "It should have been a black rose," he thought as he traced the long, looming stem of the flower.
Hearing his mother's light footsteps, he sharply turned from the flower and with loud, giant steps left the room.
As a study break she decided to find out what the commotion was about upstairs. She began to climb the seemingly endless, tortuous spiral staircase up to her mom's gallery.
"What an inconvenient time for Grandmother to die" she though she climbed.
When she had received the news that grandma had died, she had had a Chemistry test to study for, an Art History essay and a French essay to write, a Latin project to do,
and it was her best friend's birthday. "Maybe if she had died the day after I would have gotten a 98 on the test instead of just a 90," she thought.
Her foot slipped between the gap on the steps;a reminder of how selfish she was being. Perfect girls are not selfish.
Ever since she was born she had been the one who attempted to keep her family sane.
With her forgetful and artsy mother, her workaholic father, and her slop of a brother there was a lot of perfecting to do.
She focused on daintily walking over to the table where an open shadow box lay.
Glancing into it she realized that her mother had been in the process of pressing a flower, but had become distracted (as usual) and abandoned the task. This is what always happened.
Her mother would abandon a task leaving her to tie up the knots and complete it. She began to press the long petals into the backboard of the shadow box.
She worked a little faster with each leaf, and accidentally pierced the thin flesh of a petal. The tiny cut from her fingernail bothered her as much as a test score of 99 did.
Another reminder of her imperfect, far-from-normal life. Some of the pollen from the middle of the flower grazed her hand.
She went to clean it, to insure the yellow powder did not smudge her homework. But stopped herself.