Rainbow Memories

Submitted for Contest #86 in response to: Write a story where flowers play a central role.... view prompt

Mar 21, 2021


It was a great day for gardening, the sun filtering through the windows, the air fresh and unsullied. 

Iris finished her cup of chamomile tea, set it on her marble counter and went to the closet to get her gardening clothing. Her smock used to be a bright white, but it was now a dull gray, with smudges of soil appearing every so often. Her boots' dark leather was worn and torn with use, a rip starting to form near the right top lace. Her gloves were thick, like a football glove, embroidered along the edges with green thread, a purple flower on the back with its bright, droopy petals.

An iris.

She tied the smock behind her back, slipped on her gloves and her boots. Iris picked up her little cloth tool bag, took a deep breath and opened the door. 

The sun warmed her face, the sky a pale blue. The grass was emerald and stretched across the backyard like a blanket. Iris loved her garden more than anything because it was the only thing that made her happy. Most other elderly folk loved having cats, dogs or other pets, but Iris had already had 5 fish, a dog, 2 cats and a lizard, which all died, so she wasn’t keen on getting more.

Iris walked over to the flower garden, which took up about a third of the full one. The other two held fruit and vegetables, which she ate, because she had a severe phobia of pesticides.

Shielding her eyes from the sun, Iris dug into her tool bag for a specific type of seed. She had wanted to add a flower to her garden, one that she had been missing for a while. The flower garden was arranged in a circle, the five different species blending into each other, creating a rainbow.

Iris loved rainbows, for she was named after the Greek god of them.

The first species of flower, the red one, were dahlias. The bright red petals shaped like seashells flapped slightly in the breeze like pom poms. Their shades of red varied, from an almost-pink to a deep crimson. The shadows in the middle of the petals were mysterious and dark, like a stormy winter’s night. 

They reminded her of her eldest sibling, Poppy.

She loved everything red; red bed sheets, red clothing, red notebooks, even red food. Poppy was very obsessed with strawberry anything for a while. Poppy’s room was a blast of red, red posters, red pillows, red walls . . . she loved her name so much too. When she was little, Mother told Iris, once she had found out poppies were red, she was so happy, jumping and asking Mother to take us to a field. Her bright green eyes shimmered whenever she talked about the beauty of the flower she was so happy to be named after. When she was about 20 years old, she would rock Iris, just a toddler at the time, and would set a deep red shawl, not that different from the dahlias, on her lap so Iris would be comfortable. Poppy read stories, told events of her days at college, and defined words that Iris would not remember anyway. She was the one who comforted Iris in storms, or when a sudden ring of the doorbell woke her up from a nap. People thought that red was a dangerous colour, but Poppy showed the kind side.

                             ⋆┈┈。゚❃ུ۪ ❀ུ۪ ❁ུ۪ ❃ུ۪ ❀ུ۪ ゚。┈┈⋆

Next to the dahlias were the tiger lilies. The five orange petals curled outward slightly as if saying hello and little black spots hung out near the middle like freckles on someone’s nose. These were a light orange, less intense to the eyes than the dahlias. 

They reminded Iris of her second oldest sibling, Cameron.

He was the most reckless, didn’t care if he punched a peer or trampled someone’s lawn, he just did what he wanted and no one could stop him. Cameron hated that Poppy was the oldest, he thought he was a boy, so therefore he should be older and more mature. He would always be the cause of those awkward silences during dinner or the start of a fight between Iris’s other 4 siblings. Cameron always pretended he was the strongest, the bravest, the most courageous, but really, he was just as delicate as all of us on the inside. The orange reminded me of his carelessness, his boisterous attitude, but also the light side of him too.

                           ⋆┈┈。゚❃ུ۪ ❀ུ۪ ❁ུ۪ ❃ུ۪ ❀ུ۪ ゚。┈┈⋆

To the right of the lilies were the yellow jessamines. Like little bells attached to stems, they were tiny and bright, with the petals a pale yellow like a baby chick’s feathers. Iris had planted quite recently because her daffodils had died and she wanted another flower that was just as bright as they were.

They reminded her of her closest and third oldest sibling, Ethan.

Ethan had a simple name, but he was not a simple person at all. He was happy, buoyant and kind, even to Cameron, which was almost unbelievable. He was shy and didn’t like being in the spotlight much, except in plays. In Hamilton, just being one of the extras on the street made him so happy. In kindergarten, Iris had to draw her family and pick a colour to represent them. It took her a bit longer because she had 5 siblings, but also she made sure to pick exactly the right colour for each and every one. Iris had picked a yellow, a pale one like the jessamines, for Ethan since he was often the light to her day.

                           ⋆┈┈。゚❃ུ۪ ❀ུ۪ ❁ུ۪ ❃ུ۪ ❀ུ۪ ゚。┈┈⋆

Next to the jessamines were the green carnations, which resembled the paper flower Iris had made a lot during her childhood. The edges were frayed and were thin, like Iris’s worn, wrinkly hands. They were green like the grass or stems, but a different green. Not one of plants, or leaves, but one of hope and wishes begging to come true.

These reminded Iris of her second youngest sibling, Alaia.

Her name meant joy and she was such a terrific person to be around. Alaia loved to be the center of attention - the opposite of Ethan - and she loved to sing. She was pretty good at it too, her voice like an ethereal cobweb of notes, rising and falling like the ocean’s waves. When she was little, Alaia sang songs like ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb’ or ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’, but she grew up and decided she wanted to be a professional singer. She had travelled around the world bringing her green-tinted joy to everyone who listened, but she always remembered where her roots were.

                            ⋆┈┈。゚❃ུ۪ ❀ུ۪ ❁ུ۪ ❃ུ۪ ❀ུ۪ ゚。┈┈⋆

Finally, next to the carnations were the forget-me-nots. They were tiny, little blue specks amongst the giants of the other flowers, but not insignificant at all. They had mini yellow centers, like a sun in the middle of a vast sea. Their round petals looked innocent and shy, just like the ones that Iris used to wear on her overalls when she was a child.

They reminded her of her youngest sibling, Kane.

For all of his tragically short life, Kane had loved blue. Any kind: sky blue, neon blue, dark blue, pastel blue, you name it and Kane would love it. He didn’t have many friends because he was so shy, breaking down when the teacher asked him a question. Sometimes he was happy, sometimes he was sad. Unfortunately, it seemed like he was more sad than happy. Kane’s personality was blue: could look sad, could look happy. It all depended on what you perceived, what you saw.

                              ⋆┈┈。゚❃ུ۪ ❀ུ۪ ❁ུ۪ ❃ུ۪ ❀ུ۪ ゚。┈┈⋆

Iris liked to remember those memories from those times back because after all her siblings had passed 5 years consecutively, they were all she had left.

After digging around in her bag for a while, Iris finally pulled out the seeds she was looking for. The packaging depicted bright purple flowers with touches of yellow in the middle, droopy like Iris’s posture. The thin petals looked like swords, harmless ones that were made just for decoration. Iris had gotten them a few weeks ago at the garden shop because she had thought her time was coming. She was the only one in her immediate family who was still alive, the most recent one her husband, who had passed almost 3 months ago. Iris didn’t know why she felt it was her turn, she just knew.

Iris knelt down next to the forget-me-nots and dug a few small holes on the edge of the colourful circle. She ripped the seed packet open gently, poured some seeds into the holes and carefully placed the soil back on top. Iris walked over to her garden shed and picked up her plastic watering can, which was adorned with cartoony flowers. She walked to the hose, filled up the can and lugged it back. Tilting it over, Iris watered the seeds along with the flowers, making sure she didn’t wash the seeds away.

Stepping back and setting down the watering can, Iris looked at the flowers placidly. She smiled, happy with her work. Iris walked back into her house, took off her gardening clothes and set to washing her dishes, including the mug of tea she had finished.

That night, Iris passed in her sleep. Many people say that people who pass while sleeping means they have finished their purpose in life, the thing they were meant to do. Iris was happy when she passed, so all was well.

                               ⋆┈┈。゚❃ུ۪ ❀ུ۪ ❁ུ۪ ❃ུ۪ ❀ུ۪ ゚。┈┈⋆

A few weeks later, in the backyard of an old house, irises bloomed. The petals unfurled slowly, but they eventually fully displayed themselves. The rainbow of flowers seemed to sway with pride when the irises bloomed, for they felt complete. They had been missing a purple companion since they had been planted, and now they were happy.

Iris was happy too.

The rainbow was complete.

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Akshaya Sutrave
16:11 Mar 22, 2021

Hey Amethyst! I LOVE this story so much I don't have any words for it! Really, the way you described each family member with their color was so fantastic! The character development was epic, and the ending was just perfect for this story. I especially loved the descriptions you gave! It painted pictures in my mind and it was really beautiful! Amazing job!! CONGRATS ON 30 STORIES AND ALL THE BEST FOR YOUR WRITING JOURNEY!! :DD


16:39 Mar 22, 2021

Hi Akshaya! :D thank youuuuuuu! I thought of the end while I was writing Kane’s part XD how typical of me :DDDD THANK YOUUUUUU :DDDDD


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22:30 Mar 21, 2021

Hi! 30TH STORY WOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO 🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉 This isn't really sad, but there wasn't a 'General' option sooooo I picked Sad I can't figure out how to make the divider spacing even: if anyone knows, PLEASE TELL ME :] Also, if you have title suggestions, let me know! Hope you like it!!!! ~ Amethyst


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