The Chicks and Chocolate party is winding down. The Southern Living presentation is over and orders are being placed. I am considering a second chocolate martini, but know that could be dangerous.
That’s when she appears in the hallway.
“The Moon Fwower’s bwooming!”
She stands on her toes and reaches both hands up to the ceiling, then lets them fall in a big circle around her small body as she gives a little exclamation hop.
I believe that all little girls are beautiful.
But this girl.
And right now she wants us to come and see her moon flower.
I look questioningly at her father, who had ventured from his exile upstairs to say hello to all these women.
She came down too--summer rain falling in the desert.
“The Moon Fwower’s bwooming, Daddy!”
He closes his eyes briefly and then meets hers with his.
“We’ll go see it in a little bit. Right now, Daddy wants to talk.”
He is holding her with his eyes.
I watch her excitement deflate, but she accepts his words gracefully.
We mingle more.
But I can’t stop thinking about it.
What in the world?
“They bloom at night,” her mother tells me. “We thought they were all dead, but then this one little plant came up. She’s been waiting for it to bloom.”
I go to find her.
“Chloe? Will you show me your moon flower?”
She runs to the door, her mother and I follow close behind.
And there it is, tucked in green leafy bed: moon flower.
“Her dad used to grow these with his mom when he was little. She gave us the seeds.”
The lonely white face turns up to me. Is it catching moonbeams?
I imagine her daddy as a boy, crouching over this nighttime secret…just as she is now.
And I remember these:
These white irises that now slumber in my back yard. In early spring, they lift sleepy beards and brighten my garden with their light. Once, they grew in the garden of my husband’s grandmother. They were passed on to me by my mother-in-law…grace in a tuber. The matriarch died long before I met her grandson. But a little piece of her is with me when these flowers bloom.
I imagine diaphanous petals preening under her aging hands—hands that must have held my husband as a babe—fingers that touched his cherubic cheeks.
And I feel her ghost.
God breathes down my neck. Whispers that love never passes away.
This moon flower…this is evidence of the truth of this.
Chloe looks up at me with moon face—luminescent.
“It’s beautiful,” I whisper.
She shifts her gaze back to the flower—can barely take her eyes off of it. She feels it: the power of her roots.
And I can't help asking myself: What am I leaving behind?
It's more than a flower. It's the seed of love.