Tiny Purple Flowers

By Sarah Broderick

May 11, 2015

Tiny Purple Flowers

My mother stands at the grocery store counter. Tiny purple flowers rest tucked behind her ear. They have wilted as we walked through the aisles, comparing prices per ounce and coupons to sales. Now, the flower petals are withered balls of lint. They droop down on spindly stems as dry and thin as discarded threads.

"Isn't my mommy pretty?" I say. I plucked those lavender stars, clusters that sprout from the cow pies that litter our fields, especially for her. Standing in the kitchen, shaking the dishwater from her hands, she placed the gift in a rinsed-out jelly jar and nestled the remainder within her hair.

The lady behind us scoffs, and my mother reaches her hand up, brushing the weeds that had been forgotten before walking into the store. "My daughter," she says, embarrassed.

The cashier furrows his brows. “Yeah, sure. A real looker,” he says.

Suddenly, I am very aware of something running deep that I do not yet understand. I study my mother as she digs within a purse that doesn’t match her shoes, flexes open her wallet with its broken hinge, but leaves those flowers where they are. It is a slight gesture that will stay with me wherever I go, no matter how far away from her. Right there as right now, handing over our food stamps to the register man, my gifts tucked behind her ear, she is the only true woman in the world, the most beautiful woman there is.


Photo "Purple Lilac on Pink" provided by Sharon & Nikki McCutcheon via Flickr creative commons license.

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