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Scattered Fake Sunflowers

He remembered walking away. So sure of himself, so sure he was meant for better things, Sully packed his favorite clothes, his baseball with signatures, and his signed photo of Richard Petty, and left everything else. What did he need with hand-me-down boots and work gloves? He was having no more of that kind of life. He was going to build things and make his name bigger than Frank Lloyd Wright’s.

Yes, he was quite determined never to return. He was so determined, in fact, that before shoving through the swinging gate – ‘cause if you didn’t shove it, the crookedness wouldn’t let it open – he proved his determination not to return by stomping down all of the mostly blooming sunflowers planted along the fence.

He almost felt guilty, knowing how his momma had spent so much time keeping the bugs from eating their leaves and staking them when they seemed ready to bend too far and watering them with water she had to hand pump from the well during the drought while their neighbors said it was a waste to throw water onto scraggly flowers when it could be better used elsewhere. Yes, he was almost guilty, but he wasn’t quite. After all, she had smashed his dreams, too. She said he wasn’t, either, too good to get his hands dirty pulling weeds from the garden or to have to smell the nasty old cows while he raked their mess from beneath them. What did she know? He would prove it. He would prove he was, too, better than that.

Putting on his brother’s jacket and the hat his grandpa left him for when “he was man enough to fill it,” Sully grabbed his suitcase (that it was his uncle’s suitcase his momma had borrowed to go visit her only friend who didn’t live within walking distance didn’t register as stealing since he would give it back when he had money to buy a hundred just like it) and crept out the back door. His poppa was out in the field, too far away to see him. Momma was taking care of the baby who would never stop crying. Grams never saw nothin’ but who was in her fridge.

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