We grew up together, her and I. Planted in the ground at the same time. From little seedlings to where we are now. Growing up next to her made it impossible for me to be seen. Everyone saw her first because she stood out more than I ever could. When we were little, we were not too different, but now she is tall, and I am short. She is beautiful, and I am not. She is bold, and I am timid. She is strong, and I am weak.
She has big yellow petals that are full and thickly layered. I have small dainty white petals, and a few fall off every now and again. I know we are different kinds, but we are both still flowers. How can I not compare myself to her when we are the same? But I know we will never look the same—not in color, shape, or size. We will never look the same. I will forever live her in shadow until the winter comes and I am gone.
She is a sunflower growing tall and doing her best to be seen. I am merely a daisy standing short in her shadow. She towers over me where I cannot see the sun. Everything I do, she must do better. Her petals are much larger than mine. Her stem is taller and sturdier. A strong wind cannot knock her over, but a light breeze could chisel away at my petals.
One day, she will be picked. Everyone looks at her before me, and they trample all over my roots to get to her and stand by her. No one notices me like they notice her. No one looks at me and sees anything special. What is wrong with how I look? What can I do to grow taller and be prettier? She never looks back at me, but I am forced to look up and stare at her all day. Every slow, hot, miserable day that passes, I am forced to look at her.
One day, everything changes. Someone walks over to see her. They walk over and look at her large petals and massive stalk of a stem. Then, they pick her straight out of the ground. Finally, I am in the sun. I can feel the rays, and I am the only flower around to be seen. It does not take long for people to start to notice me. Someone walks by, and to my surprise, the person picks me up and pulls me out of the ground just like they did with her. They take me to their home. For once, someone chose me.
I began to wilt. My petals shriveled up, and some fell off. I started facing the ground. I was dying, and I knew it. In my last minute, I began to think back to being in the sunflower’s shadow. No one wanted me while they could see her. She stood in between me and the wondering eyes. Every year, we’d die and come back, and every year, she would tower over me. She was not trying to outshine me. She was protecting me. She loved me and never wanted me to experience the slow and painful death of being someone’s decoration, never being able to come back in the spring. All that time she protected me, and I compared myself to her. Now she is suffering the same fate I am, and she’ll never know how thankful I am for her.