A spur of the moment story; I decided that it would be a waste to NOT to post it.


PAPER DANDELIONS

Leora had been toting around the same yellow, paper dandelion for days.


Takashi couldn't understand the reason behind it. Leora had been toting around the same yellow, paper dandelion for days. She had of yet to put it away or absently place it somewhere like she usually did. He didn't bother questioning her motives, because he figured that either Taisuke had given it to her, demanding that she keep it with her at all times, and also because he was too busy to even ask her what it was for. The more she carried it around, the more curious he became.

It seemed the longer she held the dandelion, the more somber she became. She had already looked horrible the first day he had noticed her carrying it and she particularly became worse and worse as the days passed by. Leora would flash him the occasional smile, but most of the time she was either frowning or looking weary; her eyes were blank, and she hardly even bothered him with her silly love games anymore. Sure, it had been nice to sit peacefully through a few nights reading his new medical book, but it had become unsettling.

The most she did was cook, clean, make a forced smile, and then retreat to bed, falling asleep as soon as her head lowered down upon the pillow. Several times, he had found himself staring down at her in a trance; he wanted to ask her what was wrong, but at the same time continuously decided against it because his wife had a way of being quite the Drama Queen toward the smallest things. He would hate to worry about her, and then come to find out that she had been moping around the house all day just because she had lost something unimportant that had a link to the paper flower.

Now, it had been nearly 10 days since she had been toting around the same paper dandelion. (It seemed to look different each day...) It had finally gotten to the point where Taka had gotten annoyed by the site of the dandelion. Aggravated, and knowing that he wouldn't be able to take it any longer, he decided that he would take the flower and hide it away whenever she placed it away for safe keeping. A few hours after that, he watched as she slipped it into the nightstand and walked into the bathroom to take a shower; as soon as he heard the creaking of the shower door, he dropped his medical book and opened the nightstand drawer.

Instead of there only being one paper dandelion, there were up to fourteen. He took all of them and hid them underneath the nightstand that sat next to his side of the bed. Calmly, he went back to reading, and showed no signs that he had anything to hide when Leora appeared back into the bedroom. Instead of checking the drawer like she usually did, she plummeted onto the bed and fell asleep just minutes afterwards.

The next day, Takashi awoke to sobbing. Confused, he rolled over and rubbed his eyes, trying to figure out the source of the sound. As his eyes focused, he realized that Leora's legs were curled up against her chest as she sat on the bed; she was sobbing uncontrollably. He saw, through the crevice between her body and the pillow, that one of the nightstand drawers was slightly ajar. Alarmed, he sat up, suddenly feeling extremely guilty about taking the dandelions away.

"Leora, what's wrong?" He asked, crawling to her.

At first, he could hardly understand her. But as her voice cleared and she stopped sobbing so much, he could finally realize what she was saying.

"My dandelions—I can't find them! I don't know where they are! I thought I put them in the drawer because I could have sworn I saw them here last night, but maybe I misplaced them. I've been so stressed and unorganized lately, and everything has been turning up in different places when I thought they were somewhere else! I've looked everywhere! In the kitchen, under the couch, in the kids' room—everywhere! I can't find them, I can't find them!"

Frustrated, she punched at the bed.

"And then I nearly was suspended from work because I accidentally placed a patient's information in the wrong place. How I supposed to help children if I can't even help myself?" She looked up at him, tears in her eyes.

Takashi was overwhelmed, but managed not to give in so quickly. In any case, he was still slightly annoyed: what was so important about these paper dandelions, and why was she so upset about "losing" them? He moved closely to her, wrapping his arm around her and tugging her against him. She clutched onto him tightly, shaking hysterically.

"What's so important about these dandelions?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.

Leora hiccupped and wiped her tears away (to no avail, considering how fast they were coming.)

"T-They were my p-patient's dandelions," she began, "They use to be her's. She made them throughout the time she spent in the hospital."

Takashi nodded his head, and was about to speak once again, before he was interrupted.

"A week ago, her condition worsened, even though she had been doing really well for the last month. A few days later, she passed away." Her tears became stronger again. "I understand that as a doctor, you aren't supposed to get attached to your patients, but how, after caring for them and getting to know them, can you just not have any emotional attachment? She was such a good little girl, and she was always wondering where I was and how I was doing, or when I would come to visit, or— and she said she wanted me to have all of her dandelions when she left the hospital so I wouldn't forget her— but instead she dies and doesn't even get the chance to—"

She began to sob once again. Taka sat there in a state of shock and remorse.

Because she had not been able to positively get over the death of one of her patients, and because he had decided to take away the paper dandelions himself, his own wife had pretty much buried herself into a dark, depressing hole. He released her, leaning to take the paper dandelions from under the nightstand. After he retrieved them, Taka embraced her once again.

"I'm sorry, it's my fault; don't cry."

"How is it your fault?" She asked her face buried in her hands.

"I took them," he sighed, "I took them because I was being stupid. I hid them so I wouldn't have to see you carrying them around anymore. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry."

He placed them on the bed as she gazed at the hand that was holding the dandelions. At first, he imagined that she would scream and cry more because of what he had done. But instead, all she did was smile and gaze up at him.

"W-Were you annoyed that I wasn't paying as much attention to you?"

Takashi blushed.

"N-No—"

"I'm sorry. I was just being weak—I shouldn't let my work life mess with my home life."

He shook his head, hugging her closely.

"No, it was me. It was all me."

He apologized several times more before Leora moved away from him, picking up the paper dandelions and disappearing from the room. She came back several minutes later without the dandelions and lied down next to him; wondering where the dandelions were, Taka pulled her closely and held her until she felt asleep. After he was sure that she had drifted off, he walked downstairs and stopped at the bottom step of the stairway.

Sitting upon the window sill, in a pure white vase, sat the paper dandelions—illuminating in the sunlight as if they had been made by angels. And for some odd reason, the vision of a sleepy smile appearing upon Leora's face appeared within his head.

How could such simple things bring such sadness and joy?


FIN.