Of all the flowers my mother planted, I loved the pink cosmos the best. They would fully bloom in April, when fog would pour over the landscape like thick cream, turning their flowers to tiny islands of pink in the swirling mist. Then, my mother would take a hoe and weed them all out. She mostly did this when she was angry. She loved movement when she was angry; movement and conversation. I on the other hand welcome only stillness when I am morose. And I was often morose.
And nothing would lift my spirits more than to wear my white, torn jacket (inherited from my grandfather) and go and lie beside the spread of pink cosmos. I would be swallowed by their mystery and imagine pink kingdoms where pink trees grew, offering shade to pink princes and pink princesses. Sometimes I would turn them human, into full-grown women wearing pink sweaters. They would sit beside me, heavy and round, with crow feet scattered round their eyes and tell me tales of their lives: of husbands they had loved and buried; of sicknesses they were slowly dying from; of tears they had shed for their children. When mother would start digging, I would hear their screams echo in the fog.
I wonder at times, why my mother loves movement. She once told me that she is unlike any other human being, that her first thought, if she was to encounter a lion, would be to fight rather than flee. This makes sense since she grew in a female-only household, with her father being dead and her brother mostly away. She learnt how to skin a cow and to fence, to snare wild rabbits and to drive a tractor. She learnt how to react in an instant, and pick up a fighting stick, when a neighbor, looking down on their female-run household, tried to steal a section of their land. I thought about this recently, when I was lying still, agonizing over a sentence in a story I wrote. I decided to move about to see if I would get some relief. There was none. My steps were slow and hesitant, lacking that definite grace my mother would walk with.