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Beginning

The Sunflower Effect

My toes skim my reflection in the water, turning me into a smudge of myself. As the water stills, I see the shape of my upper body. Pale, of average build, leading up to a normal round face, framed by normal brown hair. Boring, really, except for my eyes, which the water, try as it might, couldn't capture. A mixture of blue and green, like a stormy ocean. Though I have never actually seen the ocean, its what my parents tell me.

I toss the golden petals of a sunflower onto my reflection... once again obscuring the unremarkable thing there. The pure color of the petals is almost overwhelming. But it only lasts a few seconds before they float away, or sink beneath the gray water.

I now hold a very naked sunflower, its golden glory gone, exposing the brown core. It seemed to be a metaphor for my life. It's as if my parents knew what was in store for the future of their child. And in an effort to brighten the gloom they envisioned, they dubbed me with a name that no one but a certain flower ever had.

Helianthus Annuus. That's me. Inspired by the botanical name for the sunflower. And while the beginning years of my life were as golden as my namesake, a piece of me is lost everyday. Plucked off and drowned by reality and normality.

With such a fantastically uncommon name, I refer to myself as Ann when in public, to make sure my peers don't explode from being exposed to anything but "normal." That's how this town wants it. Normal. And up until recently, it's how I wanted things too.

The dock I sit on creaks beneath my weight. It's old, and tired from years of wear and tear... its warped boards are the only reminder that it had been a witness to so much. To summer days full of laughing and splashing, and swan dives. Something happy. But like I said... it's only a memory. No one really comes here anymore. Which is why I do. Solitude. The lake has some kind of untapped energy, pulsing in the depths of it... this energy seems to seep through my toes, and wind up to touch the light of the setting sun on my head. A breeze chases stands of my hair, lifts them and tickles my nose. The golden light seems to bring things to life around me, the gray lake turns a vibrant, but noble blue, the trees a rich green. Frogs croak and sing their songs to the fireflies drifting around the shore, hoping to lure them into their hungry mouths. Its like time is reviewing over a chapter of a day it wishes to go back to, but it cant. Its all too fleeting.

I take a deep breath and close my eyes, trapping the scene behind my eyelids. And I hold it in. My breath, the moment. And a huge part of me doesn't want to let it out. Because when I do, this moment in time will pass and I will have to move on to the the next.

Thats what breaths are you know... moments. The faster you breathe them up, the faster they are gone.

I hold it in until my body forces me to take another breath and sigh. The sun has gone behind the trees. The magic I feel fades back into the water. Seeming to suck me dry.

I feel my face twist into a sneer that only seems to make appearances when I'm alone.

I look into the darkening sky, and send a thought to whatever was up there, though I know it wont listen.

Is this what you want? Is this really how it's supposed to be?

Of course it is. No one here seems to think otherwise, besides my parents maybe. They are after all, the ones who named me something more. Something more than this place could ever contain. Something outside of normal. Something that, in my heart of hearts, told me that there was more than this.

I feel a hot tear roll down the side of my nose. I wipe it off angrily. And with a new, and fledgling determination, make my way home.

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