…His mom had a dream.
She stood barefoot in the middle of an enormous field of sunflowers, many of them taller than her, and they resembled parasols. The sun was just rising as she walked between the fuzzy stalks, separating them with her hands, feeling as though this flowery forest would go on forever. She pulled one of the big sunflowers, round as a plate, down to her face and inhaled deeply. It smelled sweetly of freshness and dormant seeds. She was about to tear it off its stalk, when suddenly the voice of a child stopped her.
“Don’t do that! It’ll hurt me!”
She looked down at her hand and saw a tiny five-year-old, about the size of a sunflower seed, sitting on her index finger. Startled and frightened, she threw it onto the ground. Then, realizing she’d done something terrible, she started crawling around on all fours, looking for the little seed. Suddenly, she thought she could hear a child sobbing. She kept groping around on the ground, getting dirt all over her hands, but finding nothing.
Then she ran through the sunflower field for a long time, separating the stalks as she went, hearing the little voice saying, “It’ll hurt me!” over and over. Bending another stalk, Masha looked closely at each of the seeds, but they were all just ordinary. She sat down on the ground in utter despair, and suddenly felt she was being raised upwards by some indeterminate force. To her surprise, she realized she was sitting on a huge sunflower that was growing terrifyingly quickly, soaring straight up to the clouds. For some reason, she wasn’t frightened at all, as though what was happening were perfectly normal…
Read more in chapter 12.
Translation: Krystyna Steiger
Illustration: Julia Kosivchuk