Creative Writing by Roz Yazdanmehr

Roz Yazdanmehr

White Calla Lilies

White calla lilies. That’s what you gave me when I broke my leg when I was eleven.  You told me that their home was Africa, just like you. You told me many stories of South Africa, like when your great-grandfather had planted hundreds of different kinds of flowers and watered and tended to them even though he knew he might not live to see them bloom. You told me about how the impalas kicked up dust when they ran, dancing like the ground was too hot, and how the trees grew to be the size of God.

I liked to think that the calla lilies you brought me had been planted by your ancestors. That year you had helped me into my crutches every day until I didn’t need them, and after that you held my hand when I was afraid I would fall, and once I wasn’t so afraid you held on still.

I played at my first baseball tournament a year later. You were there when I slid in on a home run, when I batted the ball out to the field, and when I won my first game. For all those achievements I received a kiss on the cheek from you.  But once, when I slipped on the gravel dirt, embarrassed myself completely, and scratched my face, I received a single calla lily.

Slowly, the year I turned sixteen came around. I had waited years to be able to show you that I could and would drive. You didn’t get mad at me when I drove through the stop sign, or when I forgot to turn on my left blinker when turning the way my parents did. Instead, you sat silently and let me drive. I noticed you smile every once in a while, but I didn’t ask why. What I did ask was “Where to?” to which you replied “Everywhere.”
The next day I rear ended a car behind a red light. I was scolded for hours and by the end of the day was emotionally-beaten out of ever wanting to drive again. Feeling dejected, I walked up the stairs to my front porch to see a single calla lily lying before the feet of my front door. Needless to say, I was on the road again within a week.
Years have passed, I am now a safe driver and no longer play baseball. Today I was with you when the doctor diagnosed you. You did not cry, but I did. We were both silent as I drove you back home. You were looking at me and it took all my energy to not turn to you, but to keep my eyes on the road. I wanted to say something consoling, but the words would not present themselves. So instead I walked you to your door and a kiss on the cheek was our only goodbye.
I got back into my car and drove until I was far enough away that you couldn’t see me. I then turned off the engine and breathed deeply. Maybe there wasn’t anything I could say that would comfort you, but you didn’t need words anyway. There was something I could do though. Tomorrow I will show you my garden for the first time since I turned eleven. I have replanted every calla lily you gave me, waiting for the day when you may need one.

–  Roz Yazdanmehr

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