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Lakewood Times

Lakewood Times

Lakewood Times

    “Radiant Lilac” by Morgan Ball


    As a young girl, Hannah enjoyed gardening. She loved growing her own lemons to make her own lemonade. She lived in a small brown house next to a hill. During the winter she would sled down it with her pet Husky. When she turned 20 her dog passed away from old age. She got him when she was 10. He was her one best friend growing up. When he passed, she isolated herself away from everyone. She had blackout blinds that covered her windows. She’d keep tabs of her emotions in a notebook and every week she would go to her therapist and give it to her. She rarely spoke unless she was singing along to her music or asking where something was in a store.

    When she turned 22, she wanted to build a greenhouse. It was an idea she wanted to create ever since she was a little girl. She goes to a hardware store and buys wood, nails and other things she needed to build the greenhouse. When she got home, she made a blueprint deciding on how she wanted to build it. She wanted it big enough for her plants, but small enough to fit in the space in her backyard that she had dedicated to the greenhouse. She started with building the frame out of wood. She made it 12ft by 16ft. After she built the frame, she began installing the doors on the right side and onto the front. She wanted to have easy access points on two of the sides. She also began wiring a switch to the outside to turn on and off the sprinkler that was going to be installed into the ceiling of the greenhouse.

    After she finished the main components, she began putting tarp over the sides and pulling them taught while pinning and stapling them down as she went around the frame. She cut a hole in the left side to put in the ventilation system. It was a small fan which she would have running when she needed. She ran the wire outside and plugged it in to assure that it would work. After she taped off the sides to assure there were no holes in the tarp, she installed a heating system to the left of the ventilation system. She ran that wire to the same plug cord the ventilation system was plugged into. After hours of painstaking work, she finished her greenhouse. She began putting in shelves and different stools to set the plants on inside.

    She shut the door to the greenhouse and began cleaning up the scraps and the mess she made in her yard. She threw the extra materials into her garage and went inside and grabbed her car keys. She wanted to go look at plants and different things that she could grow. She began working on the greenhouse early in the morning and finished that night. It was around nine o’clock and she knew of only one flower shop that was open. It was one of her old friend’s shop until she passed away. Her daughter took over and continued running the shop for her. She turned into the parking lot of the flower shop and parked her car. She walked in and her eyes were immediately drawn to a beautiful purple flower. She walked straight over to it and looked at the tag attached to the vase it was in.

    The flowers she was drawn to were lilacs. They were her mother’s favorite flower, along with hers. She has not seen them since she was only a toddler. She never knew what they were called but she’d always get them for her mother during the holidays. When her mother got sick she was sent to live with her Grandma. Her father and her mother both agreed it would be easier for her to come back when she got better. That way she would not have to deal with the pain of seeing her Mother in the hospital. The house she lives in now used to belong to her grandmother. She passed away when she turned 17. She picked up the vase and grabbed a packet of lilac seeds and went up to the front counter.

    “Hi Hannah. How are you?” Lilian said.

    “I’m good. How are you Lily?” she said. Usually she hates when people call her Lily. Her Mother used to call her that and only people that she is close with or considers family are allowed to. She just assumed that she was one of those people because Lily never said anything about it when she called her by Lily.

    “That will be $25.89 please,” Lily said, smiling and holding her hand out. She pulled out a ten and a twenty and handed it to her.

    “Keep the change,” she said.

    “Thank you,” she smiled. She grabbed the vase full of lilacs and the packets of seeds and headed out back to the car. When she got home she placed her vase on the table and put her things away. Then, she opened her garage and dragged out many empty flower pots. She began to fill the flower pots with dirt that she bought a few weeks ago. She had a lot of flower pots that she needed to fill and it was nearing around ten o’clock. She filled about three of them before she called it a night and went to bed.

    When she woke up the next morning, she got up and took a long hot shower. She got dressed in a t-shirt and shorts and put on her dirty vans and headed outside. She began filling the rest of her flower pots. When she finished filling them, she grabbed her gardening gloves and her trowel and began planting the seeds. After all the seeds were planted, she began moving the plant pots into the greenhouse. After every plant pot was set up the way she liked it, she walked out of the greenhouse and turned on the sprinkler and set a timer for an hour and a half. She went inside and showered to clean up from sweating and dealing with dirt half the day. After she showered she put on her pyjamas and made herself lunch. She made a turkey wrap and poured herself a glass of water. She sat down in her bed and turned on the television and began watching Netflix. The weather for the next few days were going to be in the seventies and decided it would be a good idea to fix up the outside of the greenhouse while it was nice. She planned out the things she needed and what she was going to do in her head and relaxed for the rest of the day.

    The next morning, she went back to the hardware store and bought more wood and large metal sheets. When she got back home she pulled out her tools and began placing the wooden frames against the old ones to make it pop out more for the metal sheets. After the second outer frame was done, she began nailing the metal sheets into the wood, making sure the tarp was covered to insure that it would prevent the risk of getting a tear or breaking apart due to rainfall. She cut a hole in the metal where the ventilation system and the heating system stuck out and for where the door was. After she finished reinforcing the sides of the greenhouse, she grabbed a ladder and began doing the roof. She did the same process with the wood and the metal until she had a metal house in her backyard. It looked a bit bland so she decided to paint the outside with a pretty design. Her idea was to paint lilacs on the outside because that’s what she was planting in the greenhouse.

    She went to the store and bought purple, light purple, blue, darker purpley blue and green. She also grabbed a few large sticks with balls on the end of each. She grabbed a painters brush and paid for her things and then went home. She opened the green paint and began painting the stem and leaves. After she finished the leaves and stems, she opened the dark purple and dipped her dotting stick into the paint and put random dots around the tip to make the flowers. She repeated that process with the other colours until she finished. She stepped back and looked at her painting and it looked beautiful. Of course, she sighed when she realised she had to do it to the other sides as well. It was around noon and she was exhausted. She started painting at eight o’clock and only finished now. She decided to take a break and put her paints to the side after She shut the lids tightly. She leaned the sticks onto a spare tarp She laid on the ground to insure that they would not end up painting the grass.

    She went inside and began making herself a grilled cheese and some youthberry tea. She sat down in her bed and watched Netflix for a few hours. She started cleaning her house and tidying up the place. She wanted to get a pet. She felt like her house was too lonely all of the time and she did not exactly have a boyfriend or a friend to stay with her. She felt better being alone, even if it got sad once in a while. She grabbed her computer and started searching up different breeds of dogs. She looked at golden retrievers, huskies, pugs and labs. She always wanted a pug growing up, after her husky died she did not want to get another dog. She thought it would be too hard on her. She decided that she would get a pug and name her Loca.  She began looking online to see where she could get one from and once she found a place she began making a list of things she needed for the dog in her notebook.

    The next day, she went to the address and picked up the pug. It was a young puppy; she was around five months old. She thanked and paid the man who had the pug and headed to the pet store. She already had a leash and a collar but she wanted to get a new one. She did not want to use her old husky’s things. It did not feel right to her. She bought a puppy bed, a cage, a collar and leash, treats, toys, dog food, dog bowls and some bathroom mats. She figured that if she needed anything else, she could go out and buy it later. When she got home she put the cage together in her room, put the puppy bed inside and put the bathroom mats in the bathroom. She played with Loca for a few hours, to make her comfortable to her new home. Loca kept jumping on her and licking her face while they played.

    At around seven o’clock, she made herself breakfast and put out water and food for Loca near her table. She made herself a turkey sandwich. She sat down at the table and ate. Loca kept looking at her sandwich, wanting what she had instead of her own food.

    “Loca, go eat your food,” she said, pointing at Loca’s food bowl. Loca barked and spun around, her head tilted a bit with her tongue sticking out. Eventually, she gave in and pulled a piece of turkey apart and threw it into Loca’s bowl. Loca turned back to her bowl and began eating her food, whilst she finished her own.

    A few months later, she was walking Loca and the weather was really hot and dry. California was going through a drought at the moment and there were a lot of forest fires. She was not concerned because she had grown up in heat like this. Hannah and Loca walked for twenty minutes before going home. When they got home, she put Loca inside and went to check on her greenhouse. When Hannah got to the door of the greenhouse, her arm touch the metal and it was extremely hot. She shrugged it off, knowing that the sun has been beaming down on it all day. She turned off the sprinkler and walked inside. It was humid and the flowers were still alive. She smiled, touching the dirt in the plants and making sure all of them were getting water. She checked all the plants and headed back inside. She was thirsty and hungry so, she snacked on chips and drank water.

    While Hannah was sitting at her table on her computer she saw a bright light coming from her windows. She got up and pulled the blinds aside more, making it easier to see. When she looked out her entire greenhouse caught fire. She ran outside and grabbed her house. She began spraying her greenhouse but it did not go out. She pulled her phone out and called the fire department. The fire department took ten minutes to get there and a good fifteen minutes to put the fire out. Hannah began crying and was being held back by a firefighter. She wanted to run in to grab her flower before they all died, but they would not let her near it. She eventually gave in and cried into Shane’s chest. He comforted her while the other firefighters did their jobs. After, they left Shane stayed with her to help clean up. Hannah walked over to her greenhouse and walked into the burnt scraps. She fell to her knees and began crying harder. All of her lilacs were dead. Shane walked in behind her and stood silently as he watched. After a few minutes of silence, he said something.

    “If you need any help rebuilding it I can help you,” he said.

    “It’s okay, if you do not want to you do not have to,” she said, wiping the tears from her eyes and the snot from her nose.

    “I do, you look like you might want help,” Shane said.

    “Thank you,” she said. She stood up and began picking up all the burn plastic and sprinkler and conditioners. For the most part, the greenhouse structure was somewhat intact. She knew it was not going to last for long. Hannah began putting the shrapnel into a pile against her garage. She kept crying on and off, when she began picking up the broken pots and the dead flowers. When she picked up the one flower that managed to survive she broke down into tears. Shane walked over to her and gave her a hug. He was taller than her by a few inches, her head was buried into his chest. After a few minutes she stopped crying and looked up at him.

    “Thank you,” she said sniffling.

    “Are you okay?” Shane asked, wiping the tears off her cheeks.

    “Yeah,” she said. They stood there, in the same position for a few minutes. They did not say anything, they just stared at each other. Shane began leaning in, their faces getting closer until Shane grabbed her chin and pulled her into a kiss. Her heart started racing and she felt okay. After they pulled away, Hannah’s face was bright red. She never felt this feeling before. She felt happy and embarrassed, like butterflies were dancing in her stomach.

    “I’m sorry, I-” Shane was cut off when Hannah kissed him again. Hannah pulled away and hugged him before she returned to picking up her things. Shane stood in his place for a second.

    “I think I should go, it’s getting late. Do you want my number?” Shane asked, pulling out his phone.

    “Yeah, if that’s okay. I will need help tomorrow,” Hannah said putting her number into his phone. She gave him her phone and he put his number into hers as well.

    A few years pass and Shane and Hannah are in a relationship. They’ve been dating for four years and Hannah and Shane moved into her house together. They built a better and safer greenhouse together and both take care of the flowers and Loca. Shane still works as a firefighter and Hannah works as a gardener. She sells her lilacs and other flowers that she grows. As another few years pass by of the same old routine, Shane proposes to Hannah on their seven year anniversary. They plan out their marriage and their honeymoon. After they get married and have an amazing honeymoon they decide on having a kid. They were lucky on the first try, after nine months they had a beautiful baby girl, which they named Lilac. Her nickname was Lila.

    After Lilac turned 8, she began learning gardening techniques and helped Hannah in the shop and the greenhouse. Hannah and Shane were proud of their daughter for her work in school and for her work in helping out with the gardening. She was intelligent and was very shy. She had a few close friends but not a lot. She was just like her mother and her father and that made them even prouder. She was caring, sweet and never treated anyone horribly. She loved Loca with her heart and walked her everyday, unless it was too hot for Loca. Lilac did her best in school and had straight A’s and occasionally a few B’s depending on the class. She focused her time into helping her mother garden and work her shop when she wasn’t at school. She cared a lot about her family and friends and wouldn’t do anything to hurt them or lose them. She didn’t like the idea of losing her parents or her dog, but knew it was inevitable for everyone to fall captive to fate. She just enjoyed the time she had and tried her best to make amazing memories to remember when she grows up.

    She was happy for once in her life and it only took her greenhouse burning down to see that she was hiding behind a wall. She opened up and took a risk and luckily she ended up in a good situation. She is happily married and has a happy family and a beautiful growing garden in her new and improved greenhouse. She couldn’t ask for anything more because she had everything that she wanted.

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