The flowers died overnight. There is some explanation, Something in the water, some floral alchemy, and yet, I can't help wondering if it is because I have become my grandmother. The power of her will that could shrivel roses. The fierce strong anger that is a fist around all our lives. My grandmother looms large in my past and in my present.
She tells me she has a magic power. Her power and the power of her grandmother. It is passed down, skipping generations and the witchy mark is in the white streak of hair that we share, her, me, my great grandmother.
I wake the morning after and the flowers have wilted, resting their fragile heads on my desk as if they were sleeping. I cut their stems back. They are beautiful flowers. Despite my overwhelming fury that led to flowers in the first place, the flowers themselves do not deserve to die. Another day and they are crisp and mummified.
Hilarious, I tell him. Frightening, he replies, and it is true, I am unsettled by this metaphor for what has transpired in the real world.
I cut the few buds that have not yet expired and I put them in a wine glass. They are pretty, delicate. I wish they had all survived my fury. These few stems, perhaps, I can rescue from whatever emotional outburst has risen like a poltergeist and sucked the life out of a peace offering.
We have powers, my grandmother tells me in my memory. No one crosses us. We put a curse on them and that is that.
I do not want her power to frighten people. I do not want the strength of character that leaves her bitter and alone. I do not want her cold, hard fury or her inability to forgive. I pack the car to visit my grandmother, my hard, cold, angry, tough, all-pervasive grandmother. She has been felled. She is down but the count has not yet ended and I imagine that she could spring back up at any moment. I imagine she could still outlive me.
I should dye the white streak out of my hair. I should learn to hug and to smile and to laugh at inane television shows. I should learn to forgive.
We are still speaking, even after the fury of our arguments we are still speaking. These last few buds have remained upright, sucking in the water in the wine glass, keeping their heads above water.
Maybe there is hope for me to outlive my grandmother yet.