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From an Oleanders View


Camille Murray

The preschool kids have just now returned to school, disrupting my year of quietness given to me by the pandemic. The sound of basketballs bouncing and chains swinging and crashing into backboards. The clicking of skateboards and scooters going in and out of the cracks of the sidewalks. Women walk their babies, and families walk their new puppies. The sun is shining on everyone, giving the kids at the public pool sunburns. I can hear screams of happiness and see a handful of children sliding down slides and swinging on swings until the sight of the park gets blocked. I see a large figure sprinting towards me; the happiness in its face warns me that the figure is interested in me. I start shaking as the heavy footsteps approach me; leaves slowly fall from my branches, letting me know it was their time to go. The figure gets close enough to where I can see that it is one of the preschoolers who found a way to get out of the gated playground and past the supervision. The child collapses on her knees and examines my petals like a scientist. Her golden hair shines in the sun, and I can see each highlight of yellows and blonds flowing in the wind. The annoyance fills me up because I know she will pick my pink petals, and she does not know that I am poisonous to her. The sharp pain I experienced as a piece of my stem is pulled off, and the shocked look the girl had on her face after she felt the itchiness of the petals. She takes off running towards the gated playground and explains to her teachers that her fingers were red and puffy. A warning is spread around the preschool children about my dangerous presence, but it is not spread far enough throughout the park; someone new always finds me attractive and gets too comfortable with my looks.

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