There were lavender bushes across the entrance to her college
With grey stone steps up the middle.
She traced the bushes with both hands whenever she went in,
sometimes breaking the soft green stems or crumbling the flowers
Between her fingers as she ascended.
In the garden she walked by in the afternoons was another bush,
A different type, with the flowers on top of the spikes.
Her brother would ignore it, full of chatter as they went together to the play park
Yet a sudden interest would spark on the way back
As he tried to delay going home
And he would stare avidly at the bees bustling about near his nose.
One winter their Dad spent a month in Provence,
Missing both their birthdays which fell eight years and six days apart.
When he came back he gave her a thick glass bottle of lavender oil
Which she sprinkled on her pillow some nights
To soothe her, then on her wrists some days
To remind her of who she was.
One day she made a lavender tart from a stained French recipe book,
Doubling her ingredients so that she used up all the eggs
But the tart was too strong and bitter
Because she used dried lavender instead of the fresh sprigs she saw every day.