"No!" she screamed. "No, Mum! This has got to be a nice story or I will get into trouble." She began to cry, like a baby. "I hate you," she screamed at me as she fled from the story telling seat upon the best garbage bin in the suburb.
"Okay, okay," I cried after her. "I promise to be normal now." She stopped, wanting to believe me but the look in her eyes suggested she was still a little edgy and angry at me. I felt sorry for her. Sorry that I was her mother. Sorry that she didn't understand, or want, a bohemian lifestyle. Sorry, that I was, well, her failure.
"I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Let's start again, darling, and then I'll read your tea leaves." She shot me a look of death. Oh God. I just couldn't get it right. I was trying to be supportive!
"Okay, no tea leaf reading then. But, did you know, that you can dry Hibiscus and drink it?"
"Mum! Stop it. Why can't you be like everyone else? Just be normal for once. Please."
She cried. She was inconsolable. Well, I guess she would have been if she had let me console her. She hated me. She wanted me to be like a fairy princess but, in reality, I was the banished witch.
I thought about that damn flower; the one that fell on the kitchen window sill and prompted our English homework discussion. She had to write a piece of fiction about an ordered garden: an enchanted garden, per se. I was a writer, I could help her. I was right into experiential research to enliven the written word so I encouraged her, outside into the garden, to sit upon the garbage can so that we could watch from a different height how the gentle Hibiscus fell. Did it fall with dignity and majesty or did it fall with fear? I thought the smell of the garbage would assault her sense of social justice and move her toward embracing the irony of the gentle Hibiscus juxtaposed with a dump. How ordered/unordered was that?
"God. Where did I get it all so wrong? How come I am so....different? Why can't I be like the other Mums?" I bashed up on myself like I was OJ and his wife in one.
I sat, head in hands, shoulders dejected and spine curved. I reflected on all the years of hurt; all the years of rejection because I was so different. I didn't try to be different. I didn't try to fit in. I just did things that floated my boat. I sang in public, I swore, I laughed at things most people found obscene. I loved, I lived, I felt.
But now? I felt bruised. Bruised like the petal of the fallen pink Hibiscus. Translucent and folded to highlight a flaw; an ageing and worn down crease in life. A gentle flower, dropped because the tall poppies around me were naught but societal morons who did as every other person did.
I, on the other hand, really am a gentle flower. I am a bohemian, waxy, tough, tiny, native Hoya. I might be bruised but I flower in a way that will ensure my daughter gets the most balanced soil in which to grow strong and beautiful. - like a pink Hibiscus that even in a drain looks wonderful, smells wonderful, is wonderful.