I was named Daisy for my mama.

They were her favorite flowers. She used to pick them from under the Big Tree and tuck them behind her ear or make us crowns, and we’d pretend we were princesses.

When we were all done looking pretty, she always told me we had to put them in water so they could stay alive. Sometimes it seemed those daisies were the only things keeping her heart beating, the way she cared for them. Like the minute that yellow center lost its light the sun would shrivel up to a raisin.

Maybe that’s why she left. Cause the daisies started to die, and she needed to find someone to save her.

The funny thing is I don’t remember her leaving us. One day I just woke up and Daddy said, "Blossom, your mama’s gone. It’s just gonna be you and me now."

(Daddy calls me Blossom and Mama called me Belle. I once asked why they named me Daisy if they always call me something different. Daddy said it’s because I’m growing into a beautiful flower. Mama said she always liked the daisy’s real name better, Bellis Perennis. She wanted to write that on my birth certificate but Daddy said no. He says marriage is about compromise. I thought it was about love. Maybe that’s why theirs didn’t last; they didn’t have enough of either.)

I didn’t put much thought into her leaving that day. Mama was always there with us but never actually there. With us.

I just looked at my big strong dad. His kind eyes, the color of sea glass like mine.

It seemed like he wanted to cry so I left him be. He would have kept his tears all locked up if I had stayed. He likes to be strong for me.

Daddy should cry more.

I pushed the screen door open to go outside, but then I remembered that Franklin was upstairs. I wanted his company.

Franklin is my stuffed hippo. We’ve been best friends since I was born. He sleeps with me every night and is never afraid to speak his mind. Luckily Franklin and I agree on everything.

I passed my sad dad sitting at the table and went up to my room. I take two stairs at a time ‘cause it makes me feel big.

Franklin was sitting on my bed looking bored. I always tell him he should make other friends, but he never does. He’s bad at it.

I took Franklin out under the Big Tree to lay down with my namesakes. That’s what I call the daisies.

The yellow sunlight looked like it was doing a ballerina dance in the leaves. The breeze felt like a kiss on my cheek. I pretended it was a kiss from Mama.

I stayed there with Franklin and my namesakes a long time. Then Peter came. Peter’s my other best friend, my best human friend.

Some people think he’s a little weird, but Peter thinks other people are a little weird so it’s OK.

Peter tries to sneak up on me when I’m lying in the daisies. I always tell him that he’ll never do it because I can hear him coming. He makes a rustle that’s different from the sound that the breeze makes. I call it Peter’s Breeze.

He tried to sneak up on me that day but as usual I heard him.

"Hi Peter."

"Ugh I thought I had you that time, Daisy!" He paused and finished his thought with, "I’ll get you one of these days." He plopped down next to me and then stopped moving.

"Peter how come you can be so still?" I always ask him.

Peter can be really still. He can sit still, lie still, he can even stand still. And I mean really still. Sometimes it looks like he’s dead. But he’s not. He’s just awake sleeping.

He answers every time by saying, "My body can only be calm if my mind is calm."

Peter says a lot of things only old people would say.

I tease him cause he looks like one of those statues they have in the cities. He giggles and keeps going on doing nothing.

Peter tells me that doing nothing is actually doing something. He calls it meditating. I don’t really know what that means. Maybe that’s like medicating but without any medicine.

"I try hard to not move, but then I get distracted and have to go run somewhere."

I was about to tell him about Mama but as usual I got distracted so I ran around under the Big Tree. Just like I told him.

"Daddy says Mama left," I yelled from far away.

"Why?" Peter likes to know why things happen before he comments much on them.

"What?" I yelled back at him.

"Why?"

"Oh. I don’t know."

"For how long?"

"Don’t know."

"When’s she coming back?"

"Don’t know." I finished my twirling and went back over to Peter. He looked like he was asleep, or maybe dead, next to me but he wasn’t.

"Maybe she needs a vacation."

"Mama hasn’t taken a vacation her whole life. Why’d she have to go on one now?"

"Why’s now so special?"

"Because tomorrow is Franklin’s birthday."

That’s all for today. Until next time,

Alana.

Alana Redden is a senior at Leland & Gray. She can be reached at alana.redden@gmail.com.