To May, the home-made cures of Julia’s parents didn’t quite make sense. At
least, Julia’s parents didn’t try the popular cure of hemlock. She knew that
its leaves were poison! One day, May slipped into Julia’s room and
“I don’t see why your parents are trying things which aren’t doing anything to…”
voice trailed off as soon as she saw the hurt look in Julia’s peaked, tired
Julia struggled to sit up as she
said, “But Mama and Papa are trying their very best.”
May instantly regretted her words and
said, “I’m sorry, Julia. I didn’t mean to cast blame on them of all people. I
only meant… I miss you and our time together.”
As May sat by Julia’s bedside and looked into
her friend’s face, she thought of how much she wanted Julia to rejoice in each
chapter of childhood, running, laughing, and singing outside like a fawn. Death
would make an almost permanent blot on these unturned pages.
May went about her springtime duties, testing the honeyed concoctions of
successful bees, supervising animal nurseries in the red cedar grove, and
putting silver and gold on leaves, she decided something. If she was
responsible for all the life that thrived in the springtime, how could she be any
less responsible for the life of a human friend? Julia needed May’s aid.
throughout the springtime, May tried a variety of different methods in an
effort to make Julia better. She brought in cherry blossoms from outside.
Julia’s face lit up.
smiled. She hoped that their sweet aroma would freshen up Julia’s room and
perhaps vanquish any germs that might be lingering in the air; Julia’s bedroom
was extremely stuffy.
made May want to hold her nose; Julia’s mother had completed another vinegar
room fairly reeked of it. But May pretended not to notice as she scattered the
delicate, pink-white flowers on Julia’s bed. Julia seemed to appreciate them;
she smiled with her pretty teeth.
eventually, Julia coughed. Sometimes, Julia even coughed up blood. It would
leave dark stains on embroidered handkerchiefs. May placed the cherry buds
under Julia’s nose.