The first time I met Amaryllis, I was only seven years old.
I was playing on the edge of the forest, daringly going two or three feet past the boundary my parents had told me I must never cross. But the woods were so beautiful, and the sunlight shone differently between the trees, and my curiosity, even at that age, was in control of my body. But I was afraid also, and that kept me from going so far into the woods so that I couldn't see my home. But on this particular day, I saw a small pink flower, and decided that I must touch the soft petals that were sitting in a beam of sunlight. I ventured farther into the forest than I had ever done before, far enough that the thick trunk of an oak blocked my view of the house. I ignored the pang of fear threatening to twist my stomach into unrecognizable shapes, and instead turned to the flower.
It was small and delicate, with only seven petals, which I took note of since that was my age. At that time in my life, everything that was seven had a special significance. The petals were a dark pink on the very edge and grew lighter until they were almost white where the connected with the bright yellow center. I stroked one petal gently, and it felt softer than any normal flower. It felt as though it was becoming part of my skin as I touched it. My seven year old self was fascinated by the effect it had on me and I wanted to take it home. When I went to pull the stem from the ground, the flower would not budge. I stared at it in surprise and frustration. But then I heard a woman speak.
"I wouldn't do that, if I were you." She said, and I saw a pair of bare feet enter my line of vision. My eyes traveled upward, taking in her pants, which was strange enough as only men wear pants, but started at her ankles to be a deep pink, and gradually became lighter, her flowing tunic continuing the pattern till the fabric at her shoulders was very nearly white. A braid hung over her shoulder and ended an inch above her slender waist. Her hair was black as night, as fear, but there were gold strands too. I had seen my sisters weave gold into their hair, but this was not woven. This gold grew from her head just as the black did. My eyes traveled to her face, and I gasped aloud, for this was no normal woman. Even now, years later, I cannot fully describe what made her so magnificent. Her skin was deeply tanned by the sun, but had no freckles and was not weathered, but perfectly smooth and flawless. Her lips were full, and were a deep, bloodred, but after more examination I realized they shifted colors, going from a pale pink to a red so dark it was nearly black, hitting every shade in between. She had a high forehead, and every feature was immaculate and perfectly symmetrical. But it was her eyes that stunned me into silence. They were green, the brightest, most neon, most striking green I had ever seen. They shimmered with gold in them too, just as her hair. I stared up at this woman in wonder, almost not breathing. She looked coldly down at me.
"That is a special flower, child. You are not to touch it."
"What are you?" I gasped, having finally found my voice. As a child, I was not worried of offending her.
"Perfection." She answered without hesitation. Then she paused. "What is your name, child?"
"Daisy. I am Daisy, daughter of John and Sarah."
Her face broke into a smile, and if I thought she was beautiful before, now she was truly radiant. It was as if the sun shone through her, illuminating her smile.
"Daisy. That is an excellent name. It means innocence, you know."
I just gaped up at her, making her smile more widely. But I heard Julia calling my name in the distance, and the woman turned toward the sound.
"Seems as if it is time for you to go home, Daisy." She said softly. I turned towards my house as well, and when I turned back, both the woman and the pink flower were gone. In their stead was a daisy, the petals perfectly white. I did not move to pick it though, but instead ran towards my house, my face flushed with adventure.