When she looked at that jacaranda she did not see what they saw.
She did not see it’s lush, creamy periwinkle petals that floated in the hot Santa Ana winds, thrusting their sweet perfume into the air, everything scented in purple, jacaranda purple. She didn’t see it’s young, springing beauty, how the delicate buds opened up oh so gently after cooking long and slow in the summer heat. She never noticed the buoyant bees and butterflies, bumping lustingly into each other, swarming around the bounty that the jacaranda offered them.
No, she didn’t see that at all.
Young couples, old couples, children, animals, bugs and the eggs of the bugs all fed off of the intoxicating joy the jacaranda seemed to offer, each one of them swelled from the intensity of its incense as it swept them through the summer.
But she just saw the trees steaming in the summer, cooking in the thick heat. She saw pounds of petals dumped on the roof of her car, the sticky smear they left on her windshield, the perfect glue for those curious bugs that craved the jacaranda so badly. The blossoms filled up entire sidewalks, entire streets, and when they rotted she slipped in the black sludge they left behind, the sickeningly sweet scent mocking her wherever she went as it clung to her shoes.
She watched their fruit grow dry and dusty before they inevitably plummeted to the ground, waiting, wanting to be stepped on to release a heartbreaking and discouraging snap.
And the twisted branches, she saw them too, especially in the late afternoon, when their shadows stretched across her street as if melting in the sun. She felt the pollen invade her, clinging to the sides of her nose and watering her eyes, turning them red and angry, and like a sunburn they blistered through the summer. And when she saw the baby buds just beginning to sprout she felt them urging her to cut them all off, to end their life before they can become beautiful, before they can lose that beauty and become simply another nuisance in her life.
The jacaranda taunted her, reminded her of how blinded people can be by beauty, how blinded they are when they see those hot, periwinkle flowers, how blinded she used to be. How she used to walk under the jacarandas and smile ignorantly up at their charming flowers. How she would hold hands and be lead her through the raining petals, seeing only the beauty, the charm. She did not smell the rotting perfume, she did not taste the sweet tar. She always thought they were blooming together, not realizing that summer was ending and they were being overcooked.
She now knew the truth that good things don’t last.
But the people didn’t see what she saw, and she watched as they walked merrily through the raining blossoms of the jacaranda, waiting for them to slip in the hot, black sludge, and she wanted to watch them sit in it.
Colette Estelle McCormick has been writing creative fiction seriously for about 4 years. She studies at Sarah Lawrence college, where she am currently a Junior. Colette's writing generally focuses on strange, detached voices. She enjoy playing with vocabulary, using surprising verbs and "zooming into" her scenes with extremely detailed language. She is excited to begin to put her writing out into the world.