A short story written by Matt Taggart. Aka –M. Taggart
Her Flower – Fiction
The flowers were drenched in sunlight. They grew close to the stone wall in the front yard. They built the stone wall when they purchased the house years ago and now he watched the flowers grow.
Their lawn was green and the driveway was free of debris. It had stormed the night before and he picked up broken branches and left over bark. He’d taken to the driveway with his broom and pushed and pushed in a rhythm he’d known most his life.
He walked to the flowers and touched a yellow petal and said, ‘So it goes.’
‘Grandpa! Can we go to the market? I want to see the deli case with the large pickles. Can we?’ his granddaughter yelled from within the house. He turned to see her standing in a yellow sun dress with her hair in a ponytail.
‘We may. You’ll go in for me?’
‘Oh, of course.’ She said with a serious brow. ‘I’ll go in and I’ll get the milk and I’ll get the eggs. I’ll do it all. Just sit in your truck please and thank you.’ She swayed and smiled.
He straightened himself and told her to stop looking aloof and to move along to the truck. His grass was green and he didn’t see any reason to put more fertilizer down. Not yet.
‘What’s a-hoof?’ she asked.
‘Aloof. Aloof, is nothing like a hoof.’
‘I don’t know what aloof means, but I know a hoof and I’m no hoof. I’m a little girl.’
‘That you are, sunshine. Whatever you do, do not become a hoof. That would imply that you’re a large mammal, such as an Ox.’
Her blonde head stopped and turned to her grandfather with a serious look, ‘I’m no Ox. Grandpa, take that back.’
‘You’re no Ox. You’re aloof.’
He looked toward his truck and marked the small amount of rust building on the frame under the wheel well. He’d need to get to that before it was too late. He opened the door and felt the familiar hitch in the hinge. ‘Get in, sunshine.’
‘Thank you, Grandpa.’
The truck felt fine and the road wasn’t wet from the storm. They passed the intersection where he once pulled a man from a large snow bank who had drank too much and had driven in the snowstorm anyway. He had told the man that maybe next time he’d remember to not drive at all.
Then, they passed the farm that had the brown cows. He’d once told his granddaughter that brown cows create chocolate milk. They were all together that day and she had wanted to get out and try the cow’s milk. That was a fine day.
Padding his mind, he watched the road pass as though it were the same as the previous hundred times he’d seen it. He looked to see his granddaughter watching out the window; looking stern and with seriousness and he knew where he’d seen that look before.
The road ended and they sat at the intersection waiting for the green light. He noticed how the traffic was already heavier. Summer had started. The light turned green and he crossed the intersection and shortly after, turned into the market.
‘I’ll be right back.’ His granddaughter explained. She felt for the knob.
‘We’ll both be right back. Do you think I’d let you walk into the market by yourself?’
‘It’s nothing really. Just eggs and milk. I know.’
He tucked his chin to his chest and counted.
‘I’m sorry, Grandpa. I’m sorry.’ She leaned into him and hugged him.
The market was busy. People had come early. They made quick progress and the eggs and milk were paid for. The cashier said it was nice to see them and smiled large and wouldn’t stop. They both said thank you and she took her grandfather’s hand and left the store.
He felt her hand in his and the pressure wasn’t much. He loved her and was thinking of how he might help her through whatever she may become aware of. They walked hand in hand around the bread truck that had parked near the front of the store.
His truck was parked facing them. His saw the steering wheel and was fine. He looked at the passenger’s seat and fell to his knees. His granddaughter hugged him and told him it was alright and that she would help him and that she loved him.
‘So it goes.’ – Kurt Vonnecut, Slughterhouse-Five.