by Hanna Tinsio
When I chased after the dandelion seeds, I didn’t intend to catch them. It was one of those days, the sun trudging down the horizon, when I picked up a dandelion on the edge of 24th and Lamar. I don’t know why I stopped, maybe the yellow sunlight was becoming too bright or the car honks started to grow deafening, but I glanced up with wide eyes and spotted a dandelion tuft, its long, skinny stem reaching out at a strange angle, stubborn and alien in the cityscape. I plucked it mechanically, an old habit, and stared at it for a moment. When nothing came to mind, I blew anyways, a hot, frustrated sigh. Just as the dandelion head dissolved into seeds, I panicked. Here my wish was rising away from me, wasted. Instinctively, I leapt to capture it. A cool breeze tugged it just out of reach, and I pounced forward again. I must have looked ridiculous to the cars flooding the intersection, but all I could see at the moment was the mocking dance of the dandelion seeds, and I ran. Fear gripped me like the wind piercing through my jacket, as I jumped into traffic, whirled past cars, my eyes fixed on the white fluffs spinning away. I was sprinting now, my breathing shallow and my arms pumping, and all my surroundings blurred into the background. Somehow, I never lost sight of the dandelion seeds.
At the point where I felt my heart about to burst from exertion, the dandelion seeds finally began a slow descent, floating down like miniature angels. My hand plucked three white-haired seeds out of the sky, and I laughed: a maniacal sound in the silence that now surrounded me. I doubled over, sweat dripping down my forehead, and finally noticed the thick green and yellow that crouched around my shoes.
For the first time I glanced around, horrified to find myself in a sea of yellow. Dense stalks of weeds gave way to golden heads stretching waist high – a lifetime of wishes reborn. The flowers seemed to point at me, like thousands of knowing eyes. My head spun with the thick aroma; with every inhale more pollen scratched the inside of my throat, my nostrils. Wind rippled through the field like a shudder, like a voice familiar and forgotten. It seemed as if the plants were growing, higher and higher, choking out the blue of the sky, until I realized that, actually, I was sinking, pulled farther into the weeds and the pointed leaves, the vines tangling around my limbs. They tore at my flesh and my clothes, my eyes watered. With every jerk and kick, I found myself more and more entangled in the living web. Memories flashed through my mind; my heart pounded against my chest. Eventually I couldn’t fight any longer. I relaxed my body. I let the pollen coat my lungs. With a sigh, I released my closed fist and let loose the dandelion seeds.
Slowly the dandelion stalks began to unravel all at once, rustling with the sound of whispers. The flowers gave way to a sunset more brilliant than I’d ever seen, the pollen haze scattering light into a million different colors. As I caught my breath, the field rose and fell with a warm breeze. A fresh, sweet scent filled the air. The plants had swallowed up my shoes, so as I lay there, I discovered the cold dark dirt under my feet for the first time. I buried my toes into the soil, and stood, surrounded by a field of suns, watching the seeds float by.