Underwater: THE TULIP

by Dina Toyoda

read it in the correct order


The feet churn the brown sludge that was once white snow. Bodies dodge each other. Among all of them I’m alone. Tiny puffs of smoke waft out of each mouth and disappear into the wet air. 

I imagine a high wire, stretching between me and where I’m going. Balancing on it, I carefully put one foot in front of another. Step, step, step.

A flash of color makes me step off to the side to stare. Dying on the ground is a small, red tulip. I can’t believe, no one else noticed or picked it up! Now it’s mine. I carry it by a broken stem, as I walk into a movie theater. Somehow, carrying this flower that no one gave me makes me feel even lonelier than before.

I watch the film. My shoulders press against the others. In the last moments the screen fills with a sea of red flowers, swaying in the field, and the story is finished. Wiping tears, I blink, as the lights go on. People file out of the doors. I sit still, peering at a miracle in my lap.

Where there once was a small bud, a glorious red blossom fills my hands! Did it bloom in the heat of the theater? Did it jump into my hands off of the movie screen? The tulip’s brilliant yellow heart smiles at me as if to say…


-“She is crying, she’s crying, come, look, she must be waking up!”

The patient’s daughter pulls the nurse by the hand into the darkened room.

The nurse peers at a figure on the bed. It’s true, there are tears running down the patient’s face. The nurse checks her pulse, while looking at the monitor.

-“I’ll call the doctor” – she says and leaves the room.




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