110. Dandelions: For Jordan.
Note: No, I am not a crazy obsessed botanist. These following events were true, but they serve as the basis for an explanation—a metaphor, if you will—of a, well, insanely consistent rollercoaster of a romantic friendship between two people. It’s terribly long and I don’t expect anyone to read it; it was written for one person only. But if you do, thank you, because it’s horribly dull.
In the beginning of autumn, I passed by the same cluster of dandelions every afternoon as I tread the beaten path from school. Day after day, I bent over and meticulously ripped the fluffiest dandelion of the bunch from its tangled roots, admiring the perfect, untouched spherical shape. I slowly puffed up my cheeks, squinted my eyes closed, whispered a myriad of reckless wishes, and exhale a rapid stream of air. I’d gaze up in wonder at the florets floating through the air, minuscule beams of sunlight creeping through the microscopic threads of hair on each fragile branch. I briefly asked myself whether it was possible that each fragile dandelion—whose stem could be easily ruptured by an unknowingly rough touch, whose florets could be crumpled by the cruel wind—held a dream within. Could it really be true that with every silver ball of fluff lay a child’s innermost wish, nestled between the emerald teeth? Hope blossomed inside me, and I clung to my faith in a wish come true in the future.
One day, a few weeks into my consistent habit of dandelion murdering, I realized all the scattered bushes had vanished overnight. All that was left was a depressing, desolated plot of dirt and rock, scattered with patches of dying grass. Nevertheless, I hunted among the dry earth until I found one remaining shrub. I hovered fingers over the uninviting, prickly bush and yanked the last perfectly-grown dandelion from the ground. No sooner had it left contact with its roots than a hundred thorns pierced through my fingers. I withdrew my hand with a yelp and stared in horror at the beads of scarlet running down my palms. But it was too late; I was much too determined to gain what I desired, no matter what the cost. Desperation crawled up my spine as I spotted something: the last, ever so precious dandelion. It was truly a grotesquely pathetic sight: it was missing half of its florets, the remaining ones were deeply bruised, and the head was dangling off of a stem that was leaking sticky fluid. But I wanted it, I wanted it so much. With a wave of animalistic anger, I violently twisted it out the ground. But as soon as I finally had it gripped in my tight fist, a sudden gust of wind overcame me and swept it out of my palms. It was then that I gave up all hope of seeking another opportunity for a wish, for they were all wasted efforts.
It was only a few weeks after this incident when I passed by the same area again. To my surprise, it did not even remotely resemble the previous landscape. Lush green grass now covered the area, dotted with wildflowers, and, of course, new clusters of dandelions. I happily went over and picked handfuls of them, wishing happily on the destruction of every one. But by now, I had learned to be skeptical of what lay before my eyes. From that day on, I only allowed myself to cautiously venture over every once in a while, for I was afraid of what I would see. What would I confront: another battlefield of rotting corpses, or a sun-drenched meadow? The dandelions and I held a terribly inconsistent relationship: one day, I would gently pluck them from their stems with a heart brimming full of optimistic wishes, the other, I would mercilessly tread over them.
But it was not until today that I saw a truly horrific sight. I passed by the area once again, only to see that everything was dead. It was a tragedy to witness: the rock-hard dirt was dried up in uneven patches, the grass was reduced to a few sprigs here and there, and the dandelion bushes were no more than decaying grey bundles of thorn.
It was then that I finally realized no matter how much I wished for things to be otherwise, I could not escape reality. I had weighed all my hopes on something that could truly never exist, for how could a few dandelion florets ever embody what I so dearly desired? It was time for me to let go of nonexistent beliefs and frivolous thoughts, for clinging onto them only hurt me even more. The two of us will have to forge two separate futures for ourselves from now on, but I know we will be alright, wherever we end up.