Meet the heroine – Lily
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“Are you sure, Lily?” My mom squeezed me harder until breathing became difficult. I’d die unless she loosened up soon.
I stepped away, putting space between us. “This is the right choice.”
She had to believe me so I’d believe myself. I’d been saying the same words for the last month, but from the look of her pressed lips, she still didn’t believe my answer. “This whole thing is crazy. Who picks up and moves to Maine at twenty-five?”
I did. At least I was trying. If she’d ever let me out of the driveway.
I sighed and rested my hand on the car door, inching closer to my escape. “I need to do this, mom, but I’ll come home to visit soon.”
The winter holidays would be here before either of us knew it, and I’d make the drive back to Michigan to see everyone. If I didn’t, they’d probably hunt me down and drag me back against my will.
My mother reached out as if she wanted to hold on to me, but eventually her hand dropped and she watched as I got into my car and shut the door. We waved goodbye, and I backed out of the driveway. My excitement grew as I turned onto the highway, taking me to my new life and adventure.
I never knew my grandmother on my father’s side well. My memories of her ended around the age of eight after my parents divorced and my father’s new family moved to California. Since then, my mother and I had basically no contact with my father. My grandmother Rose tried the hardest to stay in touch. She always had a card or a video call. We talked plants and she told me crazy made-up stories of life in Pelican Bay. It sounded perfect.
When I received the phone call my grandmother died, I never expected to inherit the small flower shop she ran in Pelican Bay, Maine. At first my family urged me to sell the building and use the money to buy a home in Michigan, but I couldn’t ignore the fantastic idea of taking over the shop and running it myself. Running a flower shop in a small town was basically a Hallmark movie come to life. Maybe I’d even meet a rugged lumberjack or a city CEO, who’d sweep me off my feet.
I laughed at the thought. Hardly.
Even though I knew nothing about owning a flower shop, I wondered at my ability to venture out on my own and do something unplanned. Something with adventure and growth. New friends and places. Who didn’t look forward to an amazing adventure?
Nothing in my life was wild or unplanned. My mother had calculated every move since middle school. I couldn’t turn down my first opportunity to shake things up a little, even if that meant leaving my mother behind while I searched for myself on the East Coast.
I couldn’t continue to lead the life my mother planned for me. The only person who hadn’t gotten a say in what my future looked like until that point was me. I didn’t know for sure what I wanted to be when I grew up, but the longer I worked at my boring job, I suspected it wasn’t the main floor receptionist at Valiant Industries.
Four years of business school to answer phones? I was wasting away in Michigan.
Maybe it was all hogwash like my mother said, but one of my most vivid memories as a child was my grandmother Rose teaching me each plant was special. She named every single one in her shop, and as I glanced in the seat next to me where I buckled in my most precious cargo, I smiled.
“Are you ready for what’s next?” I asked Lily Junior, the overgrown ivy plant my grandmother sent as a high school graduation gift. I’d kept it alive all these years, so surely I could handle a few more in my super cool small-town shop. Right?