I looked down at the broken sidewalk, the broken pieces of my life. The violence. No family. A child with special needs. Why did this have to happen to me? Was I so horrible a child to warrant such a life? The state could take care of Rose as it had thus far, and I had no other family to worry about. Would she even know? Would she even care?
“Oooooh – look!” exclaimed Rose. I looked at the area where she was pointing, but I could not see anything. “Look. Pretty,” she cooed, tensely awaiting my reply. I could only see more weeds, trash, and a pair of small trees, dying from lack of water. Litter, empty cans, and parts of an old newspaper lay scattered by the sidewalk. What could she be seeing that I couldn’t?
She slowly teetered over to the trees and reached down in her own faltering way. Moving her awkward hand toward the base of the tree, she moved some of the weeds aside. A scattered patch of wildflowers graced the area; a bright pink one stood out of the otherwise beauty-barren sidewalk. Rose fumbled and picked out the single blossom and handed it to me. “Momma, this is me.”
I gently took the flower and looked at it closely. It was an ordinary flower, the kind that grows wild throughout the city, yet different from all the others I had seen before. The face of the flower seemed strong, resilient, as if it were defiant to live despite its surroundings. I gazed at Rose, my wildflower, and she was smiling at me. Did she really know? I took her small hand and felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. My Rose was beautiful, and I’d never noticed. I never even stopped to look.
“Thank you,” I told her, and placed the flower in my shirt pocket so it peeked out at the world, a reminder of this epiphany. “Thank you.”
And we continued our slow walk, down around the block, holding hands and smiling, looking at the world in new and miraculous ways.