The Start of a New Day

June 7, 2011
It was a warm spring morning. Emily’s bedroom window had been open all night, and the branch of an orange blossom tree had inched through the open space until it rested on her sill. The breezes outside moved the branch side to side, almost as if they were dancing, so when Emily woke up the blossoms on the branch had fallen onto her bed. She picked one up and smelt its delicate and delicious scent. Then she put it behind her ear and got dressed, getting ready for a new day.

Downstairs in the kitchen her mother was humming along with the radio as she cooked breakfast. The eggs done, she was just waiting for the toast to pop up from the toaster when she grabbed the counter for support. A song had just come on the radio that silenced and froze her. It was “Oh Darling” by the Beatles.“Mum, are you alright?” asked Emily. “No, dear. This was the song your father sang to me before he went off to war.” Emily’s mother shook her head.

Emily quickly shut off the radio and looked away from her mother. The latter was looking at the floor, and the morning sparkle in her eyes that had been there while she was cooking breakfast had vanished. Slowly she looked up at Emily. “That’s a beautiful flower you have in your hair,” she said. “Did you know that orange blossoms were your dad’s favorite flower?”

Emily went into the living room and picked up a photo of herself with her father. It was 13 years ago, when Emily was five years old. He had his arms wrapped around her, securing her tightly to his side. They both had big grins that looked as though they could last a lifetime. Emily noticed that her curly brown hair was tied into pigtails in the photo. She twisted her own hair around and around, and then secured it with two elastic bands. Her mother came in and started to finger-comb her pigtails. “You know, your dad loved your hair in pigtails,” she said. “I know” Emily replied.

Emily looked in the mirror and compared her reflection to her five year old self in the photo. They looked very similar, yet they were very different. The grin she wore Emily had never been able to make since then. She had a dad, while Emily did not. Emily traced his outline, and then suddenly noticed the background in the photograph. It was her backyard in the springtime. Behind them were butterflies flying around them to get to the flowers. Emily glanced out of the bathroom window. The yard was still there, but the garden had fallen victim to neglect. Emily went out of the bathroom and stepped outside. The sun caressed Emily’s shoulders, and a breeze went through her pigtails. She sat down by the empty garden, and closed her eyes. She smelled the sweet grass. She brushed her fingers against its sharp blades. She listened to the birds chirping around. Suddenly there was no sound. A strong breeze grabbed Emily. She opened her eyes and realized that she was surrounded by butterflies of all colors and patterns. She stared in wonder at their beauty.

Emily’s mother sat on the back porch watching her daughter. She watched as Emily felt the texture of the grass. She watched as Emily inhaled the smell of Spring. The birds stopped singing. Then, in an instant, butterflies began to appear and surround Emily. A strong breeze rustled Emily’s pigtails, and the orange blossom dropped from her hair to her hands. Emily’s mother watched as the butterflies started to take off into the sky. She watched her daughter look up at them, then down at the blossom in her hands, and then break into her everlasting grin.

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