Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?
I don't remember growing older,
When did they?
For weeks now, Luisa had been sitting on the low wooden bench in the garden, near where the wall used to be. The drying sunflowers hung their brown heads above her, as if they were bowed down by grief; but she kept her head up, eyes constantly fixed on the road Matt had taken, away from home, and away from her. They had not heard a word from him; even his father had no idea where he was. And yet, as stubbornly as the last brittle leaves that would not fall from the maple tree, she clung to a fervent hope that he would come back to her.
From the kitchen window, Amos Bellamy watched his daughter, waiting so patiently for the love of her life to return. Her long hair rippled down her back and over her shoulders; the setting sun made a golden halo around her head. He could see just the outline of her face as she gazed down the road. Her expression was calm, but mournful.
When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn't it yesterday when they were small?
In his mind's eye, Amos could see little Luisa scrambling up onto the bench and standing on tiptoe, whispering through a small hole in the wall. He would watch with delight, wondering what secrets were exchanged in those conversations between his daughter and the boy on the other side. The seeds of love were taking root in their little hearts even then, and would continue to grow as surely as the honeysuckle vines climbed up the wall. For a while he would watch this innocent budding romance. But eventually, inevitably, he would open the door and tell Luisa it was time for lunch, and then he would scold her for going near the wall and warn her to keep away from the "mean, nasty people" on the other side. It nearly broke his heart to see her little face fall as she looked longingly toward the wall, and obediently mumbled, "Yes Daddy."
It seemed like only yesterday he was watching her run around the garden, her hair flying in all directions as she spun herself dizzy, until she collapsed, giggling, in the shade of the sunflowers, only to get up a moment later and do it all over again. She would collect berries and leaves and bits of twigs, and arrange them with the utmost care on an old stump––depending on the day, they were either a supply depot for the birds, a picnic for her dolls, or an offering to the fairies who unquestionably dwelt nearby. To her, the sunflower patch became an enchanted forest full of mystery and magic; she would hide amongst the tall green stems, her rosy face peeking out from beneath the leaves like another blossom, and invent all sorts of fantastic adventures which she would relate to him, settled in on his lap in the evenings.
Amos shook his head and sighed. Those days were over. His little girl was a beautiful young woman now, and her heart now belonged to another man. It was all he ever wanted for her, and yet, as he watched her sitting there in the autumn twilight, he wished, for just one moment, to hold his little girl again.
Swiftly fly the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears