Fiona's house looked like any other two story building in the city. The off-white paint was chipped and worn with age. The wooden door and the squeaky back gate led to a tiny walled-in garden. In the garden, the crab grass was usually short and light green, but now it was dotted with tiny pink flowers.
High above a patch of yellow dandelions, and a tall rose bush that didn't have any roses, a tree was in full bloom. Its long branches were strong and dark. They didn't even sway in the breeze. Usually it was the most boring tree in the garden. But today it looked different, almost alien. It was covered from branch to leaf with millions, no, billions of tiny pink flowers.
"Mom would like some of those," Fiona whispered to herself. The only real problem would be picking them. It was a tall tree, almost higher than the house. How could she, who couldn't even reach the cookie jar, pick flowers off one of the branches?
To the left of the pink tree, a swing swayed gently. Fiona thought it was strange because it looked like two stainless steel chains hanging from an upside-down drain pipe.
The swing was only two or three steps from the flowery tree, so Fiona sat down on its rough, unvarnished surface. Her short legs and strong back automatically leaned and stretched, pumping the swing to go faster and higher into the air.
Fiona bent her legs and kicked the ground with her bare feet. Her fingers held the cold metal chain as the swing rose higher and higher. Fiona felt as if she were almost part of the clear blue sky, like the puffy white cloud drifting in the distance.
She was flying, high above the ground, feeling light for an instant before the ground was close again. Then up again, higher and higher, beating the wind at its own game. Fiona's brown hair whipped accross her face, but she didn't care. She was flying in the sky, the wind as her playmate. A smile played upon her open lips.
Smelling city air was like tasting adventure. It was the scent of a million people mixed with the sour stench of car exhaust. All that and so much more were all mixed together in one cool breeze.
Something tickled Fiona's tiny toe. She blinked and looked at the flowery tree. One of its branches had brushed her foot. Maybe that was the answer. Maybe she could pick a branch, not with her hands, but with her feet.
She leaned back and then forwards. "Come on," Fiona urged the swing as one would urge a horse, "Higher, higher!" She pointed her toes and stretched her legs but wasn't close enough to the branches yet.
One more time down and back up and she would have them. Fiona leaned back, her fingers aching from gripping the chain hard for so long. Her cheeks were rosy with excitement. The flowers were so close she could almost smell their bitter scent. Then for an instant the flowers were between her toes. Fiona's strong toes closed over the flowery tree branch. There was a loud snap and the swing began its downward journey.
The flowers felt hard and strange clenched in her toes. She let them drop softly to the short grass. With a small leap, Fiona landed on the ground beside the flowers. They were more beautiful close than far away. Each one was bright pink wiht four tiny petals all meeting in the center.
Fiona sat staring at it for a moment and skipped through the garden, past the rose bush, through the squeaky back gate, and into the house, the flowers in my hand. Her bare feet slapped on the kitchen floor loudly as she ran on the cold tiles. "Mom!" she yelled, her voice full of excitment and pride.
Her mother walked into the small room, her eyes sparkling with curiosity as she saw the flowers in Fiona's hand.
"I picked these for you" Fiona said, her hand open and a smile on her small lips.
Her mother took the flowers into her large, worn hand and hugged Fiona close for an instant, a thank you on her lips.