Saturday 24 June 2023

'Kiss-Me-Quick' by Kayleigh Cassidy

I first discovered the red valerian, a long-stemmed plant with a pink tear drop shape, out running the fields with Lily.  We’d never find them in gardens, only out in the wild, along the roads and in random tufts of grass. Because it grew by chance, I assumed it was a weed. Until Lily told me otherwise.

‘It’s actually a plant with lots of different names. Centranthus ruber is latin,’ she held up her small hand and touched each finger as she listed. ‘Fox’s brush, devil’s beard, Jupiter’s beard and… kiss-me-quick.’

Her hand reached over her mouth as she giggled.

‘Kiss-me quick?’ I repeated. ‘How do you know that?’

Her face dropped and her cheeks grew pink. She stepped forward, gazing into me.

‘I don’t, I just made it up because… it’s what I want you to do to me.’

I looked up, the sky was filled with marshmallow clouds. Light and fluffy like the feelings blossoming inside me. A patch passed by that resembled a love heart. My mind filled with words. We were just two girls, Irish, friends. I looked at the grass and the kiss-me quicks, my cheeks feeling a similar shade. Then, my eyes found hers. I suddenly realised what colour they were, not green, not brown but hazel.

‘I like that name the best,’ I said, stepping forward into her sweet, cherry cola breath.


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