“I always wonder how a stranger would think of me.” Aiyana let legs dangle over the water as their little boat skipped over the waves.
Peter turned the wheel over a couple times before straightening the course. “Meaning?”
“You know,” She swung her legs into the boat and made her way to the seat behind him. “When I pass by someone on the street, I remember them a specific way. Say, the old man we passed earlier. As soon as I saw him, my thought was a hawk among the mountain tops, resting his eyes.”
Peter laughed. “How would you have called me, the day we met?”
“You were an oak tree among the forest vines.” Aiyana closed her eyes and inhaled the ocean air. “Every vine in the forest attempted to take you down, but you were steadfast, and they all fell short. Your branches stretched to cover the weaker trees and your roots ran deep.”
“Wow.” Peter paused for a moment. “All of that on the first day?”
“Of course.” Aiyana smiled and flicked her bangs behind her ear. “But on the second day, I realized that you weren’t an oak tree. At least not entirely”
“You see, you were also a mountain by the ocean.” Aiyana stretched out her hands and pushed at the air as she spoke. “The waves were always trying to chip you away, but you ran deep into the land and stretched far into the sky. In that moment, I was determined to discover the depths of every pebble that composed who you were.”
Peter cut the engine as they drifted into the marina. “You thought all that of me?”
Aiyana nodded and started gathering the rope. “And so, I cannot help but wonder how I appear to others.”
“Peter?” Aiyana stared in amazement at the man taking a seat across from her.
“Ah, so my Dandelion has finally returned to me.” Peter smiled and rose, grasping the back of the seat as the bus hit a turn a little too hard.
“Dandelion?” Aiyana fiddled with her blazer. “What is that supposed to mean?”
“You told me once,” Peter sat down beside her, “that you saw people a certain way. Since that day- no. Since the day you left, I have wondered what you were.”
Aiyana started to speak, but Peter put a hand up.
“On the first day, I was certain that you were a lily. Who could not see your beauty? Even from afar, I was sure that you would always be beautiful.” He chuckled slightly, “And of course I was right. No matter, though. For a few weeks later, I would have called you a rose. Your beauty was delicate and it stretched beyond the first sight. There was no way that I could look at you and see something undesirable. Even in your darkest thoughts, the places that hurt the most in your heart, there was still light and color.”
Tears started welling up in Aiyana’s eyes as she listened. Her right foot was tapping nervously on the floor of the bus.
“However, I finally figured it out. You may have been a lily and a rose, but you were never my lily, nor my rose. See, the truth is simple. You were always my dandelion. You came up in places you never belonged, and you made them your home. You brightened up the simplest of yards, but were rarely recognized or loved for it. As you grew tired, you changed. You were my dandelion, because I made a wish, and then you were gone. That’s the thing about dandelions, though. They don’t simply die away to nothing. They don’t grow back in the same place like an iris either. No, they spread their wings and fly like a bird to some other space between the sidewalk where only the dreamers and the children will ever notice their true beauty.”
Aiyana wiped her eyes and stared at the floor the of bus as it rumbled along the road. As she fidgeted with the ring on her finger, she looked up to meet his eyes, but he was standing at the door.
“My sweet dandelion, to someone else you have become a rose, now blossom beautifully.” And as the door snapped open, he smiled and was gone.