‘Whatever do you mean, Sunshine?’
It was a simple enough question, really. For simple enough people. She fancied herself elsewise complicated, though she was most certainly uncertain whether that the point or not.
While obsessively ironing the pleat in her dress with her thumb, she pondered the question earnestly.
She dreamt of paper steam-ships. Of tacky label gunwales and wide rule hulls folding above the waves and creasing beneath. Though, that posed quite the logistical quandary. However would paper boats sail? Would they not turn soggy and sink away to the sandy depths? A sour twist captured her face as if she had eaten a whole handful of lemon drops… For surely the waves would need to be paper also! Contented with herself she began to remodel her imagination using the Sunday cartoons for papier-mâché waves; crashing against the runner of the boat with loose pasty scraps. She imagined the sea smelling sweetly of ink, freshly printed so that little black smudges might stain your fingers!
However, no, that was not what she had meant, assuredly.
Try as she may, no amount of fixing was going to fix her dress. It was ruined, and mother would certainly be cross with her. ‘Fine girls coming-into-society ought not play about the wood.’ She imagined her mother saying. ‘Such things are left to boys, and young ones at that.’ The girl chided herself, complete with a stern finger-wagging.
She resigned herself to laying down in a patch of grass which was certain to stain her white satin dress. However, what a chance that would be! White was such a boring color, though, she’d recalled it wasn’t even a color to start. Aye, it was the absence of color, which of course, was the most boring of all. Besides, the grass was such a lovely shade of green. It would certainly be better to have a green dress than a not-colored dress. She set about replacing her not-dress with a pretty green one which contented her so.
She imagined the patch of grass a palette cup loaded up with the most vibrant emerald. She rolled herself back and forth in the paint until her plain white dress transformed in swirled chartreuse and and shamrock and sparkly emerald rhinestones. She spun around like a little green top, admiring her work under the sleepy sun’s stare.
‘And what do you think of my new dress, Mister Sun?’
And so, with a wearied yawn and a stretch, the sun animated. Its sunflower lids bloomed and fluttered awake, eyes beneath resting upon the young girl. A few warm moments passed in which the sun rolled around its cradle in the sky, so that it might get a complete view of the girl’s dress. It spoke nothing but said much, a bright kaleidoscope of expression flared across its facial features.
Tensions were far too much for the young girl to handle.
‘Well, isn’t it marvelous? White isn’t a color and therefore I might disappear from sight!’
‘From here, my dear, you look much like a brunette daisy, a stem of green.’
‘I should think a daisy is a good thing to look like. They are, after all quite pretty.’
‘So true, little one, but you asked my opinion.’ The sun tsked. ‘And it is my opinion that daisies are all quite the same. Have you ever made acquaintance with a particularly special daisy?’
The young girl’s face shriveled with concentration. She’d certainly picked daisies, and smelled them too; even made from them several chains. Though she couldn’t say with any good authority that one was any brighter than the others, or that one smelled much sweeter and of course, the beauty in a daisy chain was the uniformity of them.
‘Oh dear, I suppose you’re correct, though I wish you weren’t.’ The little child frowned, rather unpleased with herself. ‘For now I’m just a daisy!’
The young girl returned to the dress pleat, this time scrubbing away at the green paint as it started to dry. It was no use. She was stuck a daisy.
The sun rolled over in its bed, ready once again for sleep. Rain collected in girl’s eyes.
‘You cannot go anywhere, sun, for, I’m afraid as a daisy, I must go to sleep as well and I’m very far away from my bed!’
‘My darling daisy, you’ve made just a fine bed there, it seems.’
‘Whatever do you mean, Sunshine?’
‘Wake up my dear.’
And the young girl did find herself asleep in the grass, in the warm embrace of the sun. Her dress was white and the ships were steel, and the water was full of salt, and all the humdrum things she had grown to know had stayed as they were, and not as she had changed them.
It was delightful, and so, she ran home as quickly as possible, an answer in mind.