June 6, 2012

Alex Pruteanu

It Could Be

“What’s this?” she said. But she knew.

“It’s a dandelion.”

“Yes. And what’s this?” But she knew.

“It’s another dandelion. Only with this one, you can blow off its little filaments. You know filaments?”

“Yes.” But she didn’t.

“It’s called a dandelion clock. This one. The one you can blow off. They’re like little parachutes.”

“Yes. Little parachutes.”

When she said “little” she pronounced the Ts slowly and carefully. I loved that.

“Do you know parachutes?”


But she didn’t. She handed me the small, yellow plant.

“This could be a little sunflower,” she said.

“It could. It could be.”


I let her think about it.

“…it could be just the Sun. The planet Sun.”

“The planet Sun?”


“It could be.”


“Yes. Smiling at you.”


I let her think.

“It could be the Moon.”

“It could be.”

She liked that. She liked the idea of it being the Moon.

“You can have this one. You can have the Moon.”

I put the flower in my shirt pocket.

“I’ll keep this until you come back to see me,” I said.

“Yes. You can keep the Moon until I come back.”

What she loved most was seeing the Moon in the daytime sky. She called it Luna. We had all kinds of good stories about Luna showing up in the daytime.

She would say: “…tell me about the story about how Luna follows us around with a slice of Swiss cheese.”

And I’d pretend I didn’t know that one, so she’d have to make it up, tripping over her words because her ideas were coming out too fast. Every time I prodded her, she’d make up a different story. And then I’d recount it back to her, only there was something fresh that she found in that, when I told it. Even though it was pretty much the same story, she loved hearing it from me.

Come on Livvy, let’s go. Get strapped in.

She climbed inside the back seat, still talking feverishly about something. She never stopped talking. I loved that. When the car pulled out, I could still see her mouth moving. I went inside and sat at the kitchen table. There was light coming in from behind me, shining on the French doors leading into the dining room. On the lower glass rectangles there were small prints, smudges really, of her tiny hands where she had pushed to open the doors. I took out the dandelion and set it on the counter, by the coffee machine. It had already wilted from the heat.


Since emigrating to the United States from Romania in 1980 Alex Pruteanu has worked as a day laborer, a film projectionist, a music store clerk, a journalist/news writer for the U.S. Information Agency (Voice of America English Broadcasts), a TV director for MSNBC and CNBC, and a freelance writer. Currently he is on staff at NC State University.

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