By Sadiyah Tariq
Spring was blooming graciously this year, as crowds of people enjoyed being donned in lighter layers of clothing and leisurely long walks through the park, reading and having picnics under the shade of the new buds of the blossoming trees. The breeze held no malice, colors overwhelmed the sight, and flowers were silently beckoning to be picked. It was the season of new beginnings, but as she sat there on the park bench, fiddling with the pink crochet mittens over the lap of her black dress, she couldn’t help but despise the exuberance of her surroundings. Even with all the bodies of people surrounding her in such a scenic portrait, she could not recall a time in her life as ever to have felt quite as alone and lost as she did at that moment.
Unexpectedly, she broke out of her reverie as a small palm tapped her lap, and she looked down into the face of a little girl holding a single flower up to her. It was as if she were offering a piece of her simplistic happiness up to her, as if the gesture alone could override her immense grief. There was a calmness to the child’s presence, a warmth that could only be described as the hearth of a flame on a cold winter’s day — contained and enveloping, and seeped into your bones. But what really captivated her was the fact that this small creature bore the same gaze as that of her daughter, both in color and spirit.
She was so vulnerable and open, and as the woman reached out with a trembling hand to wrap around the girl’s tiny fist in an attempt to grab the flower, she instead drew the child forward closer to her body. She was not sure what came over herself at that moment, but she could clearly see the confusion and fear instinctively shine through the child’s gaze. After a belated moment, she realized she couldn’t let her own grief strip her of her morals and sanity. No matter how tempting she could rationalize the opportunity before her in her own mind, she didn’t carry any animosity in her heart to have been able to go through with it.
She slowly let her hand slip through her fingers. All she had left was a pair of small mittens, and a broken heart.