An Everyday Thing

The flower bulb floated slowly above the tall grass, and beneath the bright sun. Its blue skin shone, its round shape bobbing up and down, like dandelion seeds after they've been blown. It was searching for a home, and it was desperate.
Cut off from its stem hours ago, it began to scour and search for new ground, but all it found were cement floors and toxic smoke. 'Damn these gigantic cars and damn these white poles that smoke they call cigarettes,' it thought. 'Is this any place to raise any child of mine.?'
It took her so long to find any wide open spaces, but even then the weeds had already taken root.
"Come here, baby, you can land your pretty little bulb right over here," one jeered.
"Excuse me!," she answered, she being the mother, she fighting for her children's life.
"Land that round blue shape of yours around my arms, and I'll take care of fertilizing you," another yelled out.
"I'm sorry, I'm seeing a geranium right now, and he would not be pleased with your tone of voice," she muttered.
They tooted and hollered after her, till she scooted away in search of somewhere else to rest her children. 'Those cannibals just wanted a piece of my children.' Her blue skin fumed at the thought.
But the search was going too long. Her bulb couldn't float forever, she couldn't make it that long before she.... she asked for help wherever she could, a singular sunflower, a patch of poppies, a grove of tulips. No one knew of any suitable land, none that hadn't been taken already, not in this industrious city.
A poinsettia said that she could probably find a lot of open free land in the Midwest, just halfway across the country. She thought that it was a smart-ass but didn't say anything back.
Her body was becoming too sore, she struggled to find any ground at all. She hovered around a tiny neigborhood park when a spider surprised her, swinging down from a web-strung slide.
"What have we here, hmmm....?", he said, hands/feet rubbing each other in a curiously hungry manner.
"Please sir, I'm looking for a place to land," she said. "I have to find a place to lay my children."
"We have a problem then, I see. This park's been full of green ever since I swung by. I don't know of any place you could set your load down. You might have to accept reality and ...."
"I must lay down my children and let them grow. I won't let you eat them."
"Don't worry, my precious mother-lode. I'm not a vegetarian. Don't know of any spider that is... nevermind. But I see your skin is almost breaking apart. Feisty fellows in there, I see."
"If I bleed I will die."
"You'll die somewhere else but here, mother-lode."
He clung onto even more cobwebs that she didn't see, and slid down till he was right over her. he feet grasped to her entire shape, and held tightly as he began spinning her around. She didn't realize what was going on, till he let her go, gently.
A wrap of silken web hugged her entire middle. Her body would hold, at least for a little while longer.
"Thank you, sir, you've been most kind. I will keep searching," she said, floating away. "Thank you, thank you so very much. And watch out for those Black Widows."
"Yes, yes of course," he responded. A naughty thought then seeped into his mind. Very naughty, but no, no, it wouldn't end up good for him. Not good at all.

The blue bulb floated, searched, wandered as far as it could go. In this city of metal and brick there was only death for her and her children. A slow fall to a bare sidewalk spelled the end for her. Not that it helped her any, but her other 23 sisters didn't have much luck either, she heard. Her mother had to land in a flower pot in New Jersey two years ago, so that tells you how unlikely this whole mess of reproduction is in the city. But she was the last of the family left, and her strain's last hope for survival.
Her tender life flashed before her unseen eyes. The days inside the warm, dark womb, until she sprouted into the open air for the first time. The days and days and days of water and sunlight, water and sunlight. The awkward phase when she grew tall and gawky.
Her bulb wasn't as big as the other girls', but everyone said it was just a phase, she would grow out of it. Still, she knew the boys stared at the biggest bulbs, not matter what anyone said. It was just a heredity thing, she figured. But she did have long, beautiful thin leaves, leaves she could be proud of, and kept nicely tanned.
"Nice chlorophyll work," the boys would mention. She'd blush and turn even greener.

There was the time she got sick and almost died. It had been raining for a week straight, and she was growing paler by the day. She drank all the water she could want, but it was unhealthy to go on a strictly water diet. Her stem became droopy and soft, her posture failed, and she knew she would fall.
Luckily the storm broke, and the first hits of afternoon sun woke her up. That had been close, but she grew stronger than ever before.
She matured nicely, a full buxom gradient of dark to light blue. A rather cantankerous butterfly wandered into their window garden. It made sweet talk to all her sisters, but was speechless when he laid his eyes on her.
"Nice bulb," was all he could manage.
"Thank you. You have a nice shade of orange on your wings."
"What, oh these. These are nothing, just something I got from my dad. If I'd been lucky, I would have some red like my mother. I'd be something all right... But all is well, now that I've found... I mean...."
She blushed at his tone of meaning. "There's only one reason a butterfly ever comes around," her mother had said.
"And it's not to look for any honey." Her mother was full of such advice.
"If I may be proper," the butterfly continued. "May I have the pleasure of delivering to you some of what I humbly believe to be worthy pollen. He's a nice young man I spotted in a greenhouse up north. Very clean and safe, I assure you. And since I had to sneak in when the door was slightly ajar, I'm sure he's not implanting any other budding young maidens."
'A monogamous donor,' she thought. 'How romantic....'
She consented, the butterfly gently rubbed the pollen onto her pistons.
It was lovely, she recalled.
And she became pregnant. Just hours ago she felt ready and made the same journey her mother, and 23 sisters, had made.
And now she would fail, mere inches from the cement ground.
A siren pierced the air. A fire truck raced madly down the street.
"Oh great. I could get run over now," she moaned. "Or maybe there's a fire I could cook in."
The fire truck blasted through the neighborhood. With such a force that it changed the air around it dramatically. And it blew her up, up away from the ground. Into an open window.
"Wonderful, wonderful truck," she said, passing into the open frame.

It was a large living room, of a large home. Full of rich wood furniture, tables and chairs of all varieties and sizes.
She made her way past the lingering dust coming in from the sunlight, and looked around the extravagant room.
"This place is a tomb."
But houses, they had yards. In the back, she remembered. They called them... backyards."
She just had to get through the hallway, which she did, and up the stairs, which she managed, and through a bedroom window, which was pretty tricky in that there was only two inches of open space, but she was flexible, and liked to limbo.
And she was outside. And stared into a rich, lush, beautiful garden.
"From a tomb into an over-crowded paradise," she sighed.

And now she bobbed her way among the tall grass, beneath the sun beating down on her. She had no other alternatives. She had to stay, even if there was no room for her children. She was going to ... couldn't last any longer.
Bobbing up and down, her thoughts grew fainter and her floating less accurate. She couldn't even see where she was going, till she hit a wall.
"Owww," was her exact words.
She hit green. Of a green wall. Of a green .... house.
'No,' she thought. 'It couldn't be.'
A vent was open, and she mustered, she mayonnaised, she ketchuped, whatever oomph she had left, and floated up to it.
Falling inside, there was humidity, shaded light, and a lot of flowers lined up in pots.
"He wouldn't even recognize me, we've never even met," she whispered, thinking the unimaginable.
She fell closer and closer to the flowers, when a whisper from behind stopped her.
"Are you... I mean to say... well... are you carrying my children?"
A tall, sturdy, handsome flower had called out to her. She couldn't believe... there was no way....
"A butterfly. With orange wings?", she said.
"Yes," he answered. "Loud fellow. Wouldn't stop talking to me."
"You mean... you're the father of my children?"
"Yes. And you are their bearer. My ..."
It was too impossible to believe. She and her sisters always joked about it, but marriage just never happened in their species.
"... wife. If you'll have me."
"Yes, of course. But, my children, our children. I'm afraid they have no home, and no room here."
"Nonsense. Wait a precious moment. Hey, Larry."
A rather lanky, grungy plant looked up, in the next flower pot. "Yeah?", he said.
"You've always said you didn't like being here anyway right?"
"And that, given the chance, you'd rather be out there than in here?"
"Because you can't stand all this green, right?"
"Oh god yes. What are you trying to say?"
"Well, I'm sorry but I can't see of anyway I can get you outside. But if you wouldn't mind, could you kill yourself so ... my wife can have our kids?"
"Yeah sure... wait. Kill myself? Kill myself? Why would any sane plant want to kill himself?"
"Okay, fine, we're talking about me. But how do you suppose I'm to do this, killing of myself?"
"Just pull your roots out."
"Pull my roots out. Pull my roots out! With what, my invisible hands? What's that human been putting in your water over there?"
"If you don't kill yourself in ten seconds, I'm going to .... sing some rock songs to you. Now..."
"Please don't! Okay, wait. Just wait. One needs to prepare one's self for this sort of thing. A passage from life to death can jar a plant's soul. If I'm not careful, I could come back as a mosquito, or a human..."
"Right, right. Kill myself. Well, here goes. Say good-bye to... hell, I didn't like any of you that much anyway."
And Larry held his breathe. For a very long time. Till his leaves started turning brown at the very tips, and his roots beneath drying up and falling apart.
"What a courageous plant," she said, awed.
"Larry? We all kind of thought he was a bit off. Being suicidal and all."
"Oh. Well then, I guess it's time for me to begin."
She landed on this new ground of poor Larry. She nestled into the soft brown soil, and wiggled free from the spider's web which had helped her hold on. She breathe a sigh of relief, as her bulb opened, and the seeds sprung into the air.
It was a tiny fireworks show. Seedlings burst into the air, in a careful explosion. They wavered gently before falling down, landing equally along the whole pot. They were careful to avoid Larry's body, though.
"My... our children. They're safe at least," she whispered.
"Yes, my dear."
"And both of us can watch them grow."
"Every day of our lives."
"This is a miracle."
"It always is, my dear."
"Yes. I must ask you, my... husband." She giggled inside.
"Yes? Anything."
"How did you know? How could you tell that I was carrying your children? You've never even seen me. And butterfly don't come back, right?"
He nodded in agreement.
"Then how?"
"It's just a plant thing."

By Don Bernal
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