Archive for March, 2010

The twins may have grown up to school age, but Camellia was still a toddler who needed a great deal of attention, and Iris found herself putting off her dreams of perfecting her mind and her mechanical skills to teach the very basics of life to her daughter. She hoped that along with the walking and talking, Camellia would learn about love.

Violet and Zoysia were excited about school and chattered on about it for hours while they built block towers at their table. Violet liked drawing crazy faces in art class, but Zoysia dreamed of solving tough math problems at the chalkboard.

Reed and Maebe were proud of their two girls and wanted to give them every advantage they could in life. They both hoped that the girls would excel in music, but Maebe cherished hopes that they would be sociable and have a wide circle of friends. Reed hoped they would each develop a green thumb. He loved his time at home with the family, but he also wanted to show the girls it was possible to achieve their life’s dreams. That’s why he was especially proud when his soundtrack for the new hit movie won top honors at the awards festival.

The Foliage family was going through a time of much to celebrate. Parties were frequent, and both Reed and Maebe enjoyed entertaining with their guitars. Birthdays were always occasions to celebrate, and Iris and Rogelio invited several people, young and old alike, over to gather around Camellia’s cake. They never saw the danger coming…

The guests began to shout and wave their hands in the air, but somehow Iris managed to keep her calm. She quickly measured the distance between the flames and the different exits in her mind and made for the door nearest the pool. She carried young Camellia to safety and encouraged her nieces to play tag outdoors while the adults took care of things inside.

And finally, Camellia got to blow out her candles. Understandably, she chose to eat a slice of key lime pie rather than the flame-prone cake.

Camellia developed a great fondness for television shows, whether dramas, horror movies, or comedies. If left on her own, she might sit for hours in front of the screen. Sometimes her mother made her go outside to keep her from being a pasty white child, and that’s when Camellia discovered a strange talent. She could take a seed, squeeze it in her hand, and turn it into a flame fruit. She didn’t tell anybody about this, but kept it as her special secret, wondering if it had anything to do with her birthday cake episode.

Now that the family had three girls in elementary school, mornings were always a little hectic. Bathing, breakfasting, brushing, and beating it for the school bus were the order of the day.

Iris was still concerned about Rogelio’s obsession with the fish, but she couldn’t bring herself to try to talk with him about it anymore. He felt more distant than ever to her.

Iris would have been more worried had she known what ran through his thoughts as he lay awake at night beside her.

He couldn’t talk to her about it, so he went to visit his mother and sisters, but they just ended up playing games. He didn’t figure out anything useful.

That same evening, Iris had invited her Aunt Lily over to the house for a visit. She was saddened to find out how hard of hearing her aunt had become.

Lily stayed for a nice long visit and was still there when Rogelio got home.

In fact, she never left. Much to everyone’s dismay, Lily suffered a sudden attack and died at her childhood home that very night. She was buried in the Foliage family cemetery alongside her sisters.

Reed and Iris turned to Maebe and Rogelio for comfort in their loss.

The passing of the last member of the previous generation got Reed to thinking about the future of the family. His mother had entrusted him with continuing the Foliage legacy, and he had to make sure that one of his daughters was ready to take over when he was gone. He began to observe his daughters carefully, wanting to discern which one would welcome the selection and which might see it as a burden.

Reed thought about this as he pruned the trees and harvested the fruit in the garden. He and Maebe had certainly been fruitful, producing two delightful girls, but they were not yet ripe enough to take over. How would he know, and when would he know? He wished he had asked his mother more questions when he’d had the chance.

So Reed and Iris both had much on their minds as they worked in the garden, but neither one felt able to share the whole burden of their worries. Instead, the rustling of the green leaves was only interrupted by light chatting, and deep conversations were saved for another day.

For now, the children could play and be carefree.

The adults would work and study and try to figure out the best way ahead.


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