Stealing Lilacs

The air feels sticky inside the three bed-roomed house. Some may find the humidity miserable, but I welcome the dampness beginning to form on my skin. It’s during these hot summer days I feel the most alive. No longer trapped. Suffocated inside. 

I ignore the sippy cup left outside from today’s play and admire the fresh-bloomed lilacs against the fence line. I inhale their sweet aroma and find which soft petal to stroke. Within this moment, the tension in my shoulders, lessen. The weight of motherhood, lighter. The responsibilities of life, forgotten. 

I don’t require much to reach peace. The sunlight beaming across my face and body is enough. Or, being able to watch a bumblebee's flight; landing on a small flower, the weight nearly bending it in half.  

A light breeze tickles my skin. I close my eyes and imagine the petals swaying in unison with the wind.  Inhale. Exhale. With feet planted, there’s no need to remain in flight. 

Not long but long enough, time passes. Time to leave the lilacs and head back inside. Should I pluck a few to take with? No, I suppose not. Their beauty wouldn’t last the elements inside. Besides, how cruel of me to take advantage of such vulnerability. 

I don’t need to look to know I’m being searched for. I’ve heard the rusty hinges of the screen door creek open and close thousands of times before.  I make my way across the lawn to the misplaced sippy cup lying in the sun. 

As I approach the back steps, I release the stolen petals grasped between my thumb and fingertips. I watch them flutter and disperse. Their journey now at the mercy of the breeze.  


Inside, two covered in permanent marker and the third clumsily walking in diapers, greet me with nonsensical chatter.

The allowance of forgiveness, granted. The role of perfectionism, destroyed. The shackles of guilt, freed. 

The first one is deep but the rest of my breath, now steady.  

Small moments provided by summer’s bounty allow me to regain my identity so often lost or missing. Within these precious minutes, nothing else exists, or matters. 


Milwaukee, WI, USA. Katie Vinson is an emerging writer. Currently writing flash nonfiction, memoir, personal essays and poetry.

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