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by D. A. Madigan


I am cuttin out the flowers now. I am not a little girl any more. I am a big girl I am 7 years old and mama lets me use the scissors by myself now. So I am cuttin out the flowers from the struction paper. I have lots of colors of struction paper and I will cut out the flowers and paste them to the nice piece of white carboard for my daddy. I will write I LOVE YOU DADDY on it and sign my name MARIA with my brightest crayon which is Gold Chromium. I will spell love L - O - V - E because that is how it is spelled even though it sounds like L - U - V. I used to spell it L- U - V but now I am a big girl. Only little girls write L - U - V.

My daddy is away. Mama says it is like the army where he works and he has to stay there and that is true because my daddy wears a uniform like on JAG on TV. Except my daddyís uniform is bright orange and says STATE OF FLORIDA DOC on the back. Everybody where my daddy works is a STATE OF FLORIDA DOC except the men who stand at the doors with guns and their uniforms are grey and blue. But we can go and visit him and then I take him the flowers I cut out and mama takes him a pie or some cup cakes. I like it when mama makes cupcakes because she will let me eat one but when it is pie I cant have any. But once daddy cut me out a piece right there in the visiting room and I ate it with a plassic fork. I love my daddy. L-O-V-E.

My mama and my Uncle Carlos are whisperin in the kitchin. I am not sposed to lissen but sometimes they whisper loud. I am just cuttin out flowers and pastin them to the carboard but I can hear them sometimes. I donít unnerstan all that they are saying but I know it is about daddy and it is good because I hear Uncle Carlos say that daddy is possitive. I know that is a word that means good. And he is saying that mama has to have a check up because the doctors at Avon Park Correckshunal Fassilittee which is where daddy works say daddy is possitive.

Now mama is laughing. If he has simtumms then he must have had it for ten fukkin years she is saying. I am not supposed to ever say fukkin but mama says it and sometimes daddy does too. It will be a fukkin miracle if I am not positive, Mama says. That is good too. Miracles are good things.

Then I canít hear any more cuz mama is crying and Uncle Carlos is huggin her. But that is okay because I know mama is cryin cuz she is happy. Possitive is a good word and she and daddy are both possitive. Maybe if I am very good I will be possitive too.

Now it is later. Uncle Carlos is gonna take me to see daddy because mama is tired. I dont think I can face him she said to Uncle Carlos. So she must be very tired. I am takin the carboard with the flowers on it. We are going on the Greyhoun bus cuz mama sold our car to Mr. Burke at the title place on Dale Mabrey Hiway. Now we are on the bus and a nice lady asks me where I am taking my pretty flowers and I tell her I am taking them to my daddy at his job where he has to stay at the Avon Park Correckshunal Fassilittee. Then she and Uncle Carlos look at each other and he puts his fingers on his lips like to make her be quiet and she looks sad. But she isnít quiet she smiles and says they are very pretty flowers and my daddy will like them.

At the place where my daddy works we go in past the big ugly doors in front. There are always a lot of people but this time we donít go into the visiting room with the tables and chairs. We go down a long hallway that is dark and smells like a bathroom and then a man in the blue and grey uniform different from my daddyís opens a door with a key and we go into a big room with lots of beds. My daddy is in one down on the end and he is in his white tshirt and not his orange uniform. Uncle Carlos says my daddy is sick but he will be very happy to see me. So I run up to him and give him the flowers I cut out by myself because I am a big girl. And he is so happy to see me and he gives me a hug. But then he pushes me away and he talks to Uncle Carlos in Spanish which they think I donít know but I do. Whereís Carla, my daddy says, and that is my mama, and Uncle Carlos says sheís tired man and sheís angry at you and she didnít want to have a fight in front of the baby. Iím not a baby! I yell in Spanish to them and they both look at me and then they are quiet. No, honey, my Daddy says, you are a big girl and a good girl. And he takes the flowers I brought him and puts them on the wall right next to his bed with some tape. And my Daddy says he is very proud of me and he hugs me again. And he is cryin but I know it is because he is happy so I am happy too.

When the visit is over we are leaving and one of the men in the different uniforms says to Uncle Carlos that it is a tough break. Uncle Carlos looks at him funny and then says Not really man. He got 20 years cuz its his third offense and it turns out he aint even gonna do six months. Heís beatin you bastards. The man in the different uniform looks at me and says he meant it was a tough break for the little girl. I AM NOT A LITTLE GIRL! I yell at him. He is such a stupid man. I AM A BIG GIRL AND I CUT THE FLOWERS OUT ALL BY MYSELF!

Uncle Carlos and the man both say they are sorry. And I tell them it is not a tough break. My daddy is beatin you bastards. And he is good because he is possitive!

And the man looks at Uncle Carlos and says jeezus. And Uncle Carlos looks sad. But then the man says youíre right honey you are a big girl and your daddy should be proud of you.

On the way home on the bus Uncle Carlos is cryin. I try to tell him that its okay but he is just cryin and cryin.

When we get home I will cut out some flowers for him.