“Those aren’t sunflowers,” Taliah said as she yanked her hand out of mine and pointed at the low plants covered in blooms that were the brightest thing on this gloomy day by far.
I sighed, but only inwardly. To let Taliah hear me sigh would lead to nothing but agony for the next hour. Agony for me, of course.
“Not sunflowers,” I said as I reached into my bag and pulled out the rolled up pouch containing seven slender vials. “Two words. Sun and flower.”
“That’s stupid.” She looked up at me, her braid almost lashing her in her face at her sudden movement. “Who’d name them the same thing?”
“They’re….” I stopped myself. There was no talking with her when she was in this type of mood. The one that said Momma could make her go with me and start to learn what she needed to become a grown woman who could be a useful member of the village, but she didn’t have to do anything else.
I unscrewed the top from the first vial and began the painstaking process of collecting the raindrops from the sun flowers’ petals. Each drop shimmered as it slid into the vial and I ignored Taliah’s dramatic huffs behind me as she kicked rocks into the overfull creek. I ignored her. It was best. Someday she might even need some of what was held in the vials I carefully placed back in my pouch. Perhaps someday she might even grow up. But perhaps that was too much to hope for and I alone would be left tending the village when Momma was gone.
The sun pierced the grey clouds and the sun flowers’ shook as one, the rain drops flying like gems in the sky and I sighed, audibly. One vial was better than none.
“Can we go now?”
I turned around and saw Taliah with her hands on her hips and I couldn’t avert the wave of anger I felt flash hot white like a sparking coal. If she’d helped we’d have two vials. She shrank back as I stood and said nothing as I began walking back towards the village. I’d never hurt her, but it didn’t mean I couldn’t be cross at her for being overindulged and self-absorbed. It might one day cost more than a vial of sun flower’s dew.