My Name was Supposed to be Elizabeth Ann

— Stories from the Roads (Not) Taken

“The Daffodils” began a few years ago as an assignment for an online creative writing class through Gotham Writers Workshop. The details are vague, but I remember a map of a fictional town and instructions to write a story of no more than 750 words, which then and now is very difficult for me. In fact, its published version, the product of repeated revision, is nearly 100 words over.

I remember the daffodils more clearly. Shortly after we moved into our house, I had bought and planted a collection of daffodil bulbs whose colors and bloom times varied between late March and early May. And for several years they did just that, bloomed when and how nature dictated so that when I peered through my living room window as winter gave way to spring I was cheered both by their beauty and their promise. That winter will always end, just as the sun will inevitably rise.

But what if they didn’t?

One year, the daffodils poked their green fingers through the soil in February. The next year, even earlier. And as I contemplated what on earth I could possibly write about for my class, somehow the story map and my flowers became synonymous.

There are those who say climate change is a hoax. That the changes we see and feel and experience on Mother Earth are nothing more than a natural stage of a natural process.

I am not one of those people.

However, the adults in “The Daffodils” are.

Wait a minute, you say. That’s not even what the story’s about.

To which I say, Yes it is. On one level, at least. Seven hundred fifty words is nowhere near enough to depict the end of the world as we know it. Thus, the planet becomes the plant. The deniers become the town. The victims become Callie.

And her mother, who knows but neither says nor acts?

You’ll have to read it to find out.

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