Gifts Between Strangers – by Juma (Senior)

Delia’s painting the field of dandelions for Jim.  Jim’s planning to clear the field of weeds, for Delia. Both gifts are secret, planned with love, to celebrate their first anniversary.  Married a year, but still strangers.
Delia should tell Jim about her myopic vision, which turns the land beyond their house into a river of flowing sunshine. All that yellow pouring over the field makes her feel that their lives are touched with enchantment.  Every day she’s out at dawn with her paints and canvas, capturing the golden dandelion magic.  The greatest gift she can give Jim is that sense of captivating beauty.  The whole world seems glorious to Delia, and right now their dandelion field is the most glorious of all.
Jim should tell Delia about his father, who kept their grounds immaculately groomed. Jim’s mother never had to worry about her beloved plants being choked with weeds.  Tomorrow Jim plans to spray their field.  He’s researched weed killers for weeks, and now he has a fool-proof plan.  The greatest gift he can give Delia is his sense of cleanliness and order, and a field of rich soil ready for real flowers.  No wild dandelions will take over their carefully cultivated land!
Delia needs two hours of morning light to finish her painting.  Jim needs two hours of afternoon sunshine to spray the field. They both plan to be finished by tomorrow, their anniversary.
Jim and Delia are so young, so much in love, but still lost to each other.  They need some wisdom, some conversation, a little touch of magic.
The sky is clouding up, and a crack of thunder ushers in a wild storm.  They huddle together all night, awakening to more roiling dark clouds, blue-black with rain.
They decide to exchange gifts – Delia’s almost-finished painting, Jim’s bottles of unused weed spray.  Their first astonishment leads to the longest talk they’ve ever had.

At sunset, they walk hand in hand through the field of burnished gold, deciding which spaces to clear, which to enjoy. Their true marriage finally begins – strangers meeting in a dandelion field.
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Learn more about the contest which inspired this story:  Nutshell Narratives 2019-03
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