Chrysanthemum, age four, is a force of nature. She tears through the grassy fields of home with such voraciousness, her mother often jokes that soon, there will be nothing left. Chrysanthemum is equal parts pleased and not at this notion. She has her mother, she has her father, she has her home. She longs for nothing else.
Except, maybe, a friend.
She is gifted one in the form of a screaming bundle of petal-soft skin and expressive brown eyes. So, so, different from her own sky blue ones. Her mother’s tummy had been round for quite some time now, hefty with the duty of carrying another life. Although Chrysanthemum cannot tell time yet, she knows that it is long enough for the weather to change from strong winds to soft breezes to the smell of pollen wafting through the air, tickling her little button nose.
She had not been present for the birthing of her newest little sister, instead, life had found her high up in the apple tree. She remembers even now in her old age reciting bedtime stories to the brown branches, singing songs to the budding fruit, smiling to distract herself from the painful screams of her mother. A long while has passed, and the noise coming from home is gone. Then, suddenly, a long-drawn-out wail.
Chrysanthemum wagers that she has never jumped out of a tree faster, catching the edge of her dress on the way down. Her bare feet sprint through the grass, propelling her further. The front door gives way easily to her fierce spirit, and she gazes upon the front room imploringly. Her mother is weak, chest heaving up and down shakily. In the corner of her eye, the midwife wipes off the baby before passing her off to her father.
Chrysanthemums hand tears itself away from the door, legs pushing her forwards once more. Curious, she stretches to the tips of her toes, itching to get closer to her little sister. Finally, finally, her father bends his knees and lowers himself so that she and the baby can finally look at each other properly.
Gerbera is the young child’s name, and although Chrysanthemums’ knowledge of flowers is lacking, she thinks it is beautiful and fitting all the same. Gerbera is gazing at her older sister strangely, eyes blinking slowly with hazy focus. Of its own accord, she feels her hand reach out towards the babe, eager for reasons she can’t quite fathom. Something like pride pushes it way through her, happy and pleased.
It seems that Gerbera is equally as eager, for their hands meet in the middle.