Procession of the Cherry Blossom

prose October 11, 2016

These days I’ve been busy working on a new novel. I am writing in three segments, each in a different perspective, and that, I suppose, is a challenge for me. This particular short fiction I wrote was for a school assignment, whereby I had to expand on a single memory of something. Korea has magnificent cherry blossom flowers in spring, and I remember standing between apartment buildings, the paths surrounded by cherry blossom trees, with its pink flowers filling up the entire space. It was a pretty impressive scene for me, so I decided to write on that.

Today’s Recommendation: Bruch- Romanze for viola and piano

Every passing moment Sophie would recall a remnant of the past, distinctly lingering in her mind as if Father Time was telling her to cherish that particular piece of time. Some odd dawns she would wake up, thinking about the scene that had been repeating again and again in her past night’s dreams. Sophie could never forget: she would find herself on the asphalt barefoot, amid two paths endlessly lined with cherry blossom trees. She would look up, and the soft pinks and cranberry reds of the flowers would revolve around her head, some drifting to the spring’s winds and falling to her palms. It was as if the whole world had been painted pink, or drenched with pink; even the sun seemed pink, as if carefully wrapped its daylight around each and every petals of the pink flowers. When she woke up from incomprehensible dreams every morning, she would look out of the window- at the barren wasteland that the blizzards have brought- and think about the petals of the flowers that cannot be felt.

Sophie thought about the day when the cherry blossoms had engulfed Nana beyond her world. Nana was a woman of spring. She was a woman who picked up strewn flower buds on the side of the streets and hold it in her hand as if it was a precious gem. She was a woman who linked flowers with her nimble fingers- dandelions and cherry blossom petals- together to make flower crowns for her grandchildren. She was a woman who held her youngest grandchild close to her under the falling blossoms, and telling her stories about fairies who painted colors on the petals of flowers every spring. She was an epitome of everything spring could be: warm, soft, and loving. Sophie remembered that she smelled faintly of elderflowers. She would cocoon herself to Nana’s embrace, and choke herself with the scent of elderflowers from her knitted sweater; now Sophie could barely recall the scent, not even a slightest bit. But she was a woman of spring; Sophie reminded herself as often as her memories let her, because that was all that was left of Nana.

Nana took her last breath as the light breeze of spring brought cherry blossom flowers by her window. When Mama opened the windows, the wind blew its sighs into the room and the petals that had been stuck to the windowsill swept into the room, floating around Nana’s frozen face. The concoction of the scents of blooming spring flowers rushed into the room, and for a moment Sophie had thought that she could smell elderflowers too. The cherry blossom petals that the wind carried into the room soon fell by Nana’s side- by her unmoving fingers and unsmiling lips- and Sophie glanced at the red-rimmed eyes of Ralph and Ana. She knew that they were recalling the same moment as she was. Sophie, as well as Ralph and Ana have seen it; when they were much younger, when time had not been too relentless on them, Nana always took her three grandchildren for cherry blossom watching in the spring, and often had morning tea under the largest cherry blossom tree in the neighborhood. Each time, she would place her flower-embroidered handkerchief on the grass, and place her small teapot of green tea onto the handkerchief. Nana then offered the three children a cup each: Ana, being the eldest and the wisest, held the cup gracefully and sipped it, Ralph spilled some onto Nana’s handkerchief, and Sophie held her cup with two small trembling hands. And they would watch the sea of soft pink and red in the trees, endlessly dancing and dancing midst the air. When Nana had finished her tea, she would rise and talk a brief stroll under the cherry blossoms. Standing amid the flowers, she would close her eyes and let the falling petals gently land on her cheeks, letting the trees spill their colors onto her.

The cherry blossoms had taken Nana away, and only the three children, who grew up to be adults with few words, were left behind. Only the passing time had brought them together, and led astray from one another; none of them spoke any word. Sophie, Ana and Ralph often exchanged glances throughout the whole funeral. Sophie saw Ralph’s lips moving an inch, as if he was about to say something, but no words slipped from his lips. They remained by Nana’s grave until the sun began to set and the golden pupil of the sun began to close. The cherry blossoms fell on the neatly-clipped surface of Nana’s grave, and somehow Nana felt as if she was around once again. The warm and loving lady of spring. Only when hues of deep blue and purple were blown into the remaining shades of daylight Ana left, then Ralph did too. No word was shared to the end, and it saddened Sophie to think that they have entirely drifted away. Sophie watched the soft pinks and reds on the branches of a cherry blossom tree that hung over Nana’s grave. Everyone has left, and only the cherry blossom remained- that was all.

Many springs had passed, and as the first greening of the grass heralded spring’s arrival along with a glimpse of colors that soon carpet the green everywhere, Sophie would return to the land where vestiges of her past still lingered. It has become an unspoken promise over the years, and she would return to dwell upon her past for a short moment. With spring many flowers bloom, each marks another splash of color and life in the canvas of nature: snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils, forsythia, irises, apples and cherry blossoms. Sophie would stand under the streets of cherry blossom she once walked with Nana, watching the dancing blossoms touch her two cheeks and to her palms; seven springs have passed since Nana had been there beside her, and she was now the one noticed by the passing seasons. Sophie would return nevertheless, for Nana who would still be standing in the world drowned by mellow pink and faint red, under the dancing cherry blossom flowers.

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