Big thanks to everyone who participated! As always, lots of good entries, and it made the decision quite hard. But in the end, I had to go with... Tabitha Bird! It was a very lyrical piece, as you can read below. Congrats, Tabitha!
You came to the patch of dirt with encouragement from the weeds, where stray dandelions puffed their heads of seeds and you sent wishes to the sky. You came for the bark and sticks, the wind and the blue above. But you really came to escape the insides of your house. The yelling and crying. The mother who wouldn’t leave. The father who knew she’d stay. You came because it was the only stance you could take, the only way to be free in the middle of their storms.
“Nothing much here grows,” they said.
But you knew that wasn’t true. For here in the garden grew you. A little girl. Poetry and ideas. Things bigger than the little girl herself. With water from a glass jar you mixed mud soup. Fairy guests fluttered in your mind and you fed them on stories and make believe, on four leaf clovers and gum nuts.
Until the days you didn’t come. The garden left behind. You grew older with the passing days. No more stories. Too much lost and hurt within you for dreams to grow.
Then one day it happens.
Your own little boy and his own little garden. Rocks, mud pies, and sand cakes sprinkled with grass. And of course four leaf clovers.
“Play with me, Mamma? Feed the fairies?”
You stammer. “I can’t. I don’t remember how.”
His face. It falls like a star from the worlds above. And he turns away.
But you do remember. You remember all too well.
He nods. Eyes hopeful. “Let me see. Yes, they like sand cakes, but also mud soup. Do you know how to make mud soup?”
And the afternoon grows longer, the skies the color of pink lemonade. Once more you send wishes to the skies.