G is for Garden Party

“You should have been born a different century.” Her mother exclaimed. Quizzically, the little girl wondered what that meant. Was there something wrong with her?

The weather had steadily warmed and now the lilacs flourished, the rose leaves were greener and the bees hummed to bring sound back to the silent air. The excitement of life was contained in the spring days and Lily wanted to have a garden party. She began to form a mental list of all her favorite school friends in hopes that mother would allow her to set up a table in the backyard.

“No” a long silence sat between mother and daughter.  “Absolutely not!”  she emphasized, just in case Lily kept badgering her long after bed. Twirling the curtain tassels, Lily sat puzzled, as long as mother allowed, which wasn’t long. Soon, she was trudging upstairs to brush her hair and teeth, put on her pajamas and would shortly be sound asleep.

Under her mattress, Lily kept a diary, and tonight she would have much to write. As soon as she heard mother’s bedroom door shut, she realized it was safe to retrieve her secret thoughts, jotting them down in solid form, inside her treasured book. The diary allowed Lily to keep track of her days, which were so long, and trudging through them lately made Lily wish to be older. She was not enjoying her childhood and mother was absolutely too strict. She began writing her list of all the friends she would invite.

May 21, 1997


Oh, how dreadful. Tears fell from her eyes. “What is the use,” she thought aloud to herself. “Mother won’t allow the party. I am just making myself miserable.”

She had heard of a story by K. Mansfield, “The Garden Party”, requested the book from the library, and decided imaging a garden party was just as well.  With a flashlight in hand, the blanket pulled up over her head, Lily began to read the short piece.

Oh, how delightful! Imagining the setting up, the cooking, the flowers, the music, the guests, Lily agreed that like Laura, It all sounded so inviting. How can mother be set against such an endeavor? Yearning to smell the fragrance of the lilacs, Lily jumped out of bed and lifted her bedroom window. The night breeze drifted in, rattled the curtains, and left such a sweet smell upon the pillow.

Returning to bed, she continued reading where she had left off. A sudden twist in the story set her stomach on edge. She dropped the book with a thud, not thinking mother would awake. Mother’s footsteps drew closer and Lily panicked, burying herself deep out of sight. Mother looked about the room and wondered where Lily had taken to. Peering out the window, mother saw a shadow under the moonlight wave goodbye and disappear into the shrubs. “Was that Lily?” she wondered.

“Lily?” mother’s hushed whisper was barely audible, but in earnest she kept repeating her daughter’s name out of the window. “Lily?” Morning was soon upon Mrs. Sheridan, having slept a few minutes here and there throughout the night. Lily still was missing and mother became frantic. Dialing the police, her voice quivered as she recounted the loud thud, the open bedroom window, the lovely smell, the shadows dancing across the lawn and her vigil until morning. The police reassured mother that they would be right over and until then, to take a cup of tea.

The doorbell caught Mrs. Sheridan off guard. She quickly turned to answer the door to find the policeman, dressed in casual clothes. Sorry for the uniform, but I was sent over to investigate a missing child.

“Yes. My daughter Lily…” Mrs. Sheridan’s voice trailed off into the distance. Detective Wilson followed her eyes out towards the backyard.

“Is that where you believe she vanished?” he waited for an answer. Her face was stark white. She could no longer speak.

Years later, Detective Wilson, while riding along the back roads, noticed two figures in the corn fields, dancing and singing.

Lily and Laura
laughing out loud
La, la, la

Like lilacs languish
Lily and Laura
lie low

La, la, la
la, la


2 Samuel 12:23 “But now he is dead. Why should I fast?
Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”
King David regarding his infant son’s death.

“They that love beyond the world cannot be separated by it.
Death cannot kill what never dies.” ~ Williams Penn

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