There’s always that crack in the sidewalk. No matter how you treat it, no matter what you tell it, weeds still grow through. You’d think they’d feel the cold air of their unwelcome. Hear your tireless remarks: “No. This is for walking, not the growing of unwanted plants. For moving on, not the growing of you in my thoughts.” And what recurring thoughts they are — these tiny green sprouts that smell like you, sound like you, look like you. AstroTurf. Who you used to be.
People often mistake weeds for flowers, giving them chances to turn their faces towards the Sun. It’s usually only for a day or two, though. Not seven months. I didn’t think weeds could live in vases for that long, yet here you are on my bedside table, towering over my pillow in the freshwater pool I filled for you. Sometimes the water spills as your vase crashes to the floor — my floor — as I am reaching to turn on my lamp at night. Reaching for the light.
For once, let me turn my face towards the Sun.
Without a mess for me to clean up. No water-stained carpets or fragments of dirt in my bed sheets. Just the photosynthesis of everything that has ever composed me. Every stitch I have sewn and song I have sung. Every country I have stepped in and bouquets I have made out of the people around me. Every cell wall, chloroplast, leaf and thorn. Let me have my turn to soak in the rays without having to nurture the traits that should already be in your nature.
It will only help you in the end, I promise, because in that light, I will manage to still swoop you out of the damp broken glass — barefoot — and find you a new vessel. My favorite coffee mug, the pages of that book I have started a hundred times. See, you’re still growing. You. Yes, you. This ink has become a letter, I guess. They always do. But I can’t help it because I look around and see your leaves, your petals, even your dandelion wisps that I wished upon myself. For you to become a marigold and not a nuisance. A florist’s favorite material. A girl’s favorite “good night.” But there are days, many of them, when I look around to see that I am sitting in the sidewalk, my life as the crack.
But today, unlike days before, when you enter my mind, I can see your true genetic fingerprint: a weed in a flower’s armor. And I can begin to fill the trench. Pave a new way so that unaltered mirages can meet my eyes once more. But, this time, I will not run toward a wet patch of pavement with a rag in hand. After all, it would only run from me; reaching this trick of nature would be, well, a trick of nature. Finally, a mess I cannot clean. A spill of you that only tricks my eyes.
After seven months of waking to puddles on my bedroom floor, I never let the water irrigate my own spirit as I dashed for the sink and a mason jar. Barefoot. I only tended to the mess because in it I knew I would find you. But, now, here I am, walking through my life once more. On the sidewalk, not in it. In my botanical garden, not concrete jungle. Now, my heart knows a mirage when it sees one. Ah, yes, the reflective mirror of refracted light. Asphalt’s own vanity. Looking at it from a distance, of course, I see my silhouette in its smooth, unobstructed, impermeable surface. A marigold stares back at me, and I see myself in the Sun’s light. Fata morgana. I was the flower all along.