It was in May 1959. I had just turned ten years old. I spent hours trying to find the most perfect flowers to place in my hair. My mama called me a flower child. It was the first time I’ve ever heard that name. I assumed it was because of all the daisies scattered in my knotted hair. I remember running in my backyard. It seemed like a giant field then. I would run and run before I fell to the grass to watch the clouds go by. No one would ever catch me inside. In there, the news was on. Always showing war and violence. My papa would only yell at the screen. I would have the biggest frown and mama would have to tickle me until I smiled again. She would then pull me outside to lie in the grass to watch the stars appear and for the crickets to sing. She would say, “Be bold, my little flower child. You can change the world.”
1963 was the worst year of my life. It was April when I heard my parents yelling from inside. I knew I shouldn’t have gone in, but I had to. My mama was screaming on the couch while papa was showing her his new shotgun. He had it aimed right at her. I walked closer, pulling a daisy out of my hair. I placed the small delicate flower in the barrel. I didn’t think he was gonna shoot… but he did… twice. Once in my shoulder. Once in mama’s head. I remember lying on the floor, watching my little daisy burn to ashes. I don’t think I saw him again after that.
I was 18 now. The year was 1967. The crowd was full of people that looked like me. We were screaming, “make love, not war!” over and over again. The police had come to break us up. They were stood in a line. No one stopped screaming the chant when I walked closer to the man in uniform. His gun was pointed towards me. His blue eyes were growing wide with every step I took. I pulled the single daisy I had from behind my ear. I placed it in the barrel. He didn’t shoot this time… instead, he smiled and lowered his gun, “You’re bold, flower child.” I laughed, “I know. I learned from my mama.”
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