The next morning, when Lunnah scuffled to the kitchen for a berry-over-buckwheat-waffles breakfast, she smelled the most familiar of scents, but before a smile could curl her lips, the sight of a tall glass vase of flowers broke it. Her inner zen, a popped soapy bubble.
“Violet!” Lunnah called out.
“Lunnah, there’s no need to yell.” Violet rushed to the kitchen. “What is it?”
“What are my flowers doing there?” Lunnah held her head.
“Oh, these?” Violet plucked a daisy from the vase and attempted to put it behind Lunnah’s ear. “Your father picked them for me. Only a few…”
Lunnah smacked her mother’s hand away. “But I told you that I wanted them to all stay in their home. With me.”
“Oh, sweetie,” Violet knelt down beside her. “I love flowers. They make mom happy. And your father rarely gets me them…”
“If you loved them, you wouldn’t pick them.” Lunnah crossed her arms.
“Well,” Violet laughed to herself. “I didn’t pick them. Your father—”
“What are you two going on about? What are you saying about me?” Augustus asked, approaching the two of them.
Lunnah stomped her foot and pointed straight at him. “If you loved flowers, you wouldn’t pick them. You’d leave them be!”
“Watch that tone, young lady!” Augustus raised his arm.
Lunnah hid behind Violet, her knees shaking.
“You like your bouquet, don’t you Violet?” Augustus asked.
“Yes, August.” Violet gulped. “They really are wonderf—”
“Good. Now pour me some coffee.”
Lunnah darted out of the back screen door in just her night gown, straight to her overgrown garden.
She sighed in relief at the sight of multiple daisies and dahlias slow dancing in the breeze. But most of the purple and pink ones were gone. And worst of all, the moonflowers were also ripped from their abode. Her relief soon turned into grief.
Augustus killed part of her garden, but that’s not all he squandered.
During dinnertime, Violet tried reassuring Lunnah with a “they’ll grow back” and an “Augustus didn’t know any better.” She also tried a “flowers don’t feel anything,” which made Lunnah wince more than the other two reassurance attempts combined.
If they didn’t feel anything, why did she?
Before Augustus took his filled dinner plate to the family room, he set a porcelain doll on the kitchen table.
“A belated birthday gift,” Augustus said.
Lunnah looked into the doll’s dual seas she had for eyes, and pretended for a moment that it was in fact a gift.
“Dads do yard work, little girls behave and play with their dolls.” Augustus patted his daughter on the head and left the kitchen.