Recolor Her World – by Nicholas Chiu (High School)

Grandma Zhao cranes her neck over to her neighbors’ garden; forever glued with ever-sprouting hues of cerulean and green and yellow. Bright, optimistic, enviable. Then peers at her own backyard. Barren land; garden. Once brimming with flowers of every kind – like her neighbor’s, now sits a blanket of stubborn soil. Gray. Empty.
She sighs and lowers herself to a rickety chair, studying weepily at a tea-stained photograph of herself, leaning towards her husband, Grandpa Li-Shang, smiling in return. Both with scattered blotches of purple over their faces; their hearts blessed with the warmth of yellow and gold. Perfect harmony.
Grandpa Li-Shang was the gleaming hot center of her life. Who forever made her erupt with glistening joys of smiles. With him, everywhere and everything to Grandma seemed a whirlpool of rainbow scribbles. A child’s painting. As though darkness had hidden itself; afraid. He was her superman.
Suddenly. Her husband was gone. Heart attack. Suddenly, their garden of flowers sealed themselves shut, wilted, and never returned. Barren land. Her world became nothing more but a black mess of depressed nothing; darkness seeking revenge…
Somewhere inside her, somewhere deep, she wishes he will come back to life. To recolor her world. Somehow. Miraculously.
She shuffles to bed. Snow instantly drumming mercilessly over her roof. Hail. Solidified tears.
6:00 am. The red pool of sunlight fills the horizon. Zhao scans the garden, then the clean sheet of snow. Aimlessly. But to her surprise, there stand two crocuses! Flowers she has never seen before! Their stems dashing with green colors of life. Both with scattered blotches of purple over their faces; their hearts blessed with the warmth of yellow and gold. Like the photograph!
Slowly, the crocuses bloom. Pretty petals spreading. The smaller leaning on the bigger crocus, smiling in return. Cuddled by the purity, peace and innocence of crystal white snow, engulfing the gray darkness around them.
Suddenly, in what seemed like ages, she lets out her widest grin yet! Slowly, she realizes, darkness is leaving. Once again. Terrified. Slowly, she realizes, her superman is there to recolor her world. Somehow. Miraculously.

Learn more about the contest which inspired this story:  Fleur 2020-01 – Crocus
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