All month, I’ve noodled ideas for Michelle Barnes’ Ditty of the Month requited/unrequited love poem challenge. And though I’ve played with some ideas, they were too embarrassed to come outside for the whole world to see.
I respected that.
Then, quite unexpectedly, yesterday I saw a solitary Dandelion puff growing alongside the edge of the patio. Not remembering when I last had seen one of my childhood playmates, I rejoiced, and–I guess, in retrospect–I dreamed (of which childhood love I do not know:), awakening today with this poem:
How much I counted on those floral love-meters. And how many times, unsatisfied with the first meter reading, I plucked another flower clean, floral sacrifice to my love-interest need-to-knowing.
As I thought about that childhood ritual and how, on the second try, after reversing the “loves me; loves me not” order, the conclusion was always more favorable, I sought to investigate the phenomenon. Dandelion to dandelion, was the sum of petals always an “even” number? If so, that would explain why reversing the order (starting, counter-intuitively, with “He loves me not”) produced the desired results.
A quick Internet search seemed to belie my supposition. At first disappointed, then I thought. How like grownups I have become, trying to spoil all the spontaneity, all the fun. If there really is a mathematical, sequence-pattern explanation for why the do-over worked, I prefer not to know. I prefer to believe now, as I did then, that the boy I had in mind as I plucked the flowers to the stem truly loved me very much!
What about you? Did you pick petals to find out if he loved you very much? Do little girls still engage in such rituals today? (I hope so; petal-plucking may be transformed someday into a fondly remembered requited/unrequited love poem.)