I was, like, OMG, OBSESSED with sunflowers the summer I turned 14.

My first tight baby-Tshirt had a sunflower splayed across the front, a sunflower that stretched and stretched the entire summer until my mother said “isn’t that shirt a little tight?”

My first perfume was Elizabeth Arden’s Sunflowers, that my cousin Devi — the only one who REALLY got me — sent all the way from Hawaii. The scent lingering on warm skin, untouched but aching, chaste but hungry.

They grew, these sunflowers, in that too-short blooming between wearing Laura Ashley dresses and black lace thongs, between the Little Mermaid soundtrack and Nirvana Unplugged, between having a raging crush on Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables, and getting crushed for realz by my first love.

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And so, when I turned the corner just last evening, when I saw them growing in that middle space between home and highway, their golden heads bent against the setting sun, I think I maybe caught a glimpse of myself from that summer, vulnerable and defiant, dancing in between the rows.

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