The Sacred Bloom of Flesh and Flowers

Submitted into Contest #125 in response to: Write a story about a late bloomer.... view prompt


Happy Friendship

  I was always a late bloomer in life, being for as long as I can remember content to hang back from the howling rush so I could better see, hear and feel the symphony of life playing all around me. From an early age I was given to a kind of absorbed dalliance, or festive reverie, which made me prone to a habitual tardiness, the type of which triggers noisy alarms and flashing, blood red warnings above firmly closed doors. 

  I have many times stood on the sharp end of these occasions and played my part with loud, wood knocking glee, wringing my hat in obsequious deference to the suit now thumping across the floorboards on the other side of the door.  

  I was a late bloomer from the get-go. Even within the womb I was in no particular hurry, for I had set up a comfy, amniotic nest and was shocked to my tiny core when one awful morning I was rudely ripped out grey and greasy and screaming a vociferous, vehement NOOOOOOO!! 

  Then I was smacked so hard on my arse in retribution and to let me know being late was unacceptable and they’ve just kept on wailing on my arse ever since. Upon reflection-and bringing it down a notch-i was like a delicate flower seed which lay quivering with the joy and trust of life beneath the Hallowed ground, yet did not receive its life giving quota of winter rains, nor was I privy to the warming nutrients of the spring sunshine. I was an unattended, unblessed thing thirsty for a few drops of the milk and sunshine of life and grew slowly and cautiously out from the soil of bitter experience towards an unlimited source mysteriously cheap and sparing in its fulfilment of me; its Precious Child and Brethren and Homie and Beloved; or so all the Good Books with the Good Word kept pointing out with the bony finger and the lashing tongue. 

  But I digress. (See, I’m already late for the next sentence!) 

  I grew up in an orphanage-‘Saint Jeopardy’s Home For Recalcitrant Children’, having been delivered to its after hours door crying and wretched and unwanted. My first memory was being in a room full of miserable kids thirsty for their mother’s teat and huge clocks frowning down their eternal displeasure because we took no heed of them, preferring to run around in a warm daisy field; or play marbles and rejoice in our youthful hour as if time was a dark, brooding curse cast down to us by cleft-eyed giants who couldn’t leave us to our joy and insisted on gatecrashing our limitless, carefree world replete with the laughter and the milk and the sunshine. 

  When left to myself I’d go outside and run around in wild ribbons of dance and play; then when tired I’d dawdle along kicking rocks with my eyes on the rolling green and endless blue and the soft white of clouds decorated with blinking airplane lights-and the thing where all of creation is always talking to itself with the trees and bushes humming underground as the rain falls in misty salutations, blessing the leaves with an affection so soft and moist and sweet. 

  Then, when I wasn’t paying attention-which was always-‘cos of the books and the sermons and the boring classes full of the old death and its cheap trinkets so flash with the factory and how to live in it and earn a respectable living and get married and have kids and pay taxes and then curl up your toes with a grateful smile on your withered, clapped out face; life and its ghostly parade trumpeted by so slowly but surely with the big old clocks turning dusty and stained yellow by the passing of the years...though I suspect they were just cheap and didn’t like the dry heat and bent and twisted to the whistle and hum of that.

And one by one all of my friends were picked up one golden Sunday by well dressed folk and taken away to live in far away places with names I had never heard of and names I couldn’t pronounce. I longed to be among their number, but I was always passed over being for so long so small and hairless and late for puberty and without the Blessings of the Lord of Spring With The Soil and The Immaculate Flowers. 

  Then one summer I grew tall and clumsy with all the hair and tempted flesh, and made to sleep in a room by myself because the little ones had dreams about me coming to take them away with the black sleigh and the elves with the sharp teeth holding red sacks full of naughty, wriggling children. 

  Oh, and one black and miserable Thursday I was accompanied to the gate with all my things in a little bag and told to report to a place which could put me up for a while-and don’t be late! they said, as they will lock the gates and never open them again. I was on my way there when I passed a shop with young ladies hanging off the walls and they smiled and beckoned with the lovely finger and all the hair and assorted milks of soil and sunshine stirred so inside me, and I let them take me into their scented quarters and my! oh, my! Better late than never with the Oh! Oh! Oh! and the Yes! Yes!, Yes! and the Oh..My...Gods!! So soft and the thing of it when all the hair parts and the bit with the eye rolling squirt of life; milk and honey like the joy of running across a soft, warm field with the smell of sweat and sweet juices so ripe with life and bounties of soil and sunshine.

  When it was over I was accompanied to the door and cast upon the streets, but with the body so relaxed and my mind so sharp and clear and with a smile I wouldn’t have sold for all the tea in China.

  I didn’t carry a watch but knew I’d missed my appointment with the boarding house but went there anyway with head bowed and the hat twisting in my hands. I was shooed away like some terrible vermin; something to be chased out of sight and left to fend for its own fortunes- which was okay with me with my love for the open sky and trees and grass and things of night and the mysterious quiet.

  I left the city and followed the smell and feel of things bright and friendly, and found an old abandoned house in a place of lush meadow with wheat so wild and golden it almost glowed. 

  I lived here for forty years with not one lonely moment to etch upon my tombstone, with the birds testifying like angels in prayer and the trees laughing in summer winds; and the little creatures scratching around and breeding the crawlspaces with the scents and sounds of life, evermore life. 

  When I died I was tending to my garden and my body lay undiscovered for a long time. It was beaten clean by the wind and rain and melted into the earth with the blessings of the seasons and the flowers that grew from its milk and sunshine bloomed right on time with the falling of the first spring rains.

December 18, 2021 09:10

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Sharon Harris
05:51 Dec 29, 2021

Wow, your prose is so lyrical and funny! Even this sad story was skipping with joy and the voice of the MC came through in bucket loads. Amazingly talented writing, well done. I loved it.


07:38 Dec 29, 2021

Hi and thanks Sharon for your heartening observations and've made my day.


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