September 22, 2008
By Anonymous

Once upon a time there was a young girl. Like all young girls, she loved beauty and adventure. She spent her days playing tag in the backyard, capturing grasshoppers and building block towers for her cars to drive on. Wars were waged with water on the hot days, and the fence surrounding her backyard in no way hampered her exploration of the outside. She loved to watch the sunset while she pumped her legs to make the swing go high. The exotic poison rhubarb plants in her neighbors backyard provided no end of fascination for her and her brothers. But also like all young girls, she loved to possess beauty. One hot summer day, after a particularly intense water war, she climbed the fence that overlooked her neighbors yard. She was hoping to catch a frog or other small animal trying to eat the rhubarb, because apparently big animals weren’t affected by the poison, since her parents ate rhubarb and were, as far as she could tell, intact. Unfortunately no small animal was present, but she wouldn’t have noticed even if one was, for she had caught sight of a flower. She had heard about roses and tulips, and even one-lips and three-lips, but she had never seen one, and she didn’t really know the difference. This one was beautiful. Lush, plump, healthy petals folding up to come together at a splitting point. It was the reddest red she had ever seen, as well. Her Crayola crayons and even her markers would have seemed dull next to this red. Its petals lost only a little of their color as they joined again at the stem. The stem was thick, and for the most part revolting, a pale, sickly green that looked almost as poisonous as the rhubarb’s red stems. But the stem did nothing to deplete the flower’s beauty. In fact it enhanced it, somehow complementing the juicy red petals with its slimy pale greenness. It only appeared to have two petals, so the girl assumed it to be a tulip. It stood, all alone, in her neighbor’s summer green yard. It would be so easy, just to climb all the way over this fence and pluck it out. The girl thought. But no. She didn’t. She just looked. She didn’t tell anyone of her beautiful tulip that day. Even though it was over the fence, it was still hers, because she had discovered it. She wished to have it on this side of the fence, however, and the next day she climbed the fence again, just to get a look at it. I haven’t seen anyone watering it. Maybe they don’t know about this beautiful treasure. She thought. Maybe I could just go down there and pull it up and put it in a pretty vase in my room. But no. She didn’t. She just looked. The next day, she again climbed the fence to get a look at her rose. It was just as beautiful as it had been both the days before, as red and bright and alone. It looked proud. Look at it. Its so beautiful. I could go down there now and take it, just like that. She thought. It doesn’t even look like it belongs. Its all alone, and no one has watered it. Maybe it’s a weed. It looks so out of place, beautiful as it is. I should put it in a pretty vase in my room, then it would have the company of other pretty things. But no. She didn’t. She just looked. The next day came, and she again climbed the fence. She was feeling particularly possessive today, and when she looked at it, she decided. Today I’m going to climb over this fence. No one has watered it, its so beautiful, and it needs other beautiful friends. I’m going to pick it. And that’s what she did. She climbed over the fence, and making sure no one was looking, crept over to where the tulip grew, solitary in the now long grass. She reached out, and touched its stem, slimy and nasty and sick, wrapped her hand around it, and pulled. It didn’t come out very easy, so like any young girl, she pulled harder, and harder. Her hands slipped on the gooey stem, sliding up and up and up, and she pulled the beautiful red head off. The petals fell apart, scattering all over the ground, the stem was bent and bruised. Her beautiful tulip was ruined, and she had done it. She hurriedly shook her hands, as though she could shake off the guilt that she felt. It didn’t work. She still felt unimaginably guilty. Slowly, she got to her feet. Her knee’s were grass stained, but she didn’t care. Her beautiful tulip lay around her, dismantled and…dead. She couldn’t help it, she cried. She ran back to the fence, clambering over it, and falling into the sand on the other side. Before her mother could see, she dried her eyes on her sleeve, smelling the tulips strong, sweet sent as she did so. She told no one about the tulip or her hand in its demise. The next day, out of habit, she climbed the fence, hoping that yesterday had been just a dream. When she got there, she again saw the destroyed flower, and slowly climbed down the fence. She didn’t feel like catching grasshoppers today, even though there were hundreds of them on the opposite fence, so she went inside and lay down. This went on for two more days before she formed a plan. She was the one who had hurt the tulip, she would be the one to put it back. She went and gathered up all of her allowance money, four dollars in quarters and dimes and two half dollars, and went around town asking for a tulip bulb. It took all day, but eventually she found an older woman who had one. She gave the woman all of her allowance money and the woman gave her the bulb in a small brown paper bag with some potting soil in it. The girl then walked all the way home , climbed over the back fence with her paper bag, and knelt in the grass approximately where the tulip had been. She dug a hole deep enough that she could put her hand in and the dirt would reach up to her elbow, as the woman had told her to. She emptied the paper bag into the hole and gently filled the hole in, patting the top down. She then climbed back over the fence, hid her paper bag behind the big green box where a failed pineapple planting had taken place years ago, and went into the house to grab a cup of water. She then went back over the fence with her water, only spilling a third of it, and emptied the rest onto her newly planted bulb. Proud of her hard days work, she went inside and fell asleep. Over the next week, she forgot about her new bulb, and went about playing power cats and castle wars. When she eventually remembered it, that Sunday after church, she climbed the back fence in her dress, being careful not to rip it, and looked at her new tulip. It was just as beautiful as the last one, but instead of being red, it was a blushing pink, her favorite color. If possible, this new tulip was even more beautiful than the last one, and Oh, look! A second tulip grew there, smaller, but red. The girl smiled and climbed down the fence, thinking to herself, and they live happily ever after.

The End.

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