Em made sure that she and Sinéad were seated far away from Conor because she didn’t want poor Sinéad to be tormented any further. The children had all occupied themselves with the usual songs and games for the short, uneventful ride. It took just over half an hour to reach Drombeg stone circle.
The bus parked in the car park and the children began filing out. Lily was standing outside the bus door with Mrs. McCarthy and directing the stream of human traffic toward the footpath that lead to the stones. High walls of fuchsia grew along either side of the path and their viney branches were already heavy with blossoms.
“Sinéad, look at this!” called Em.
“What is it?” Sinéad was still a few steps behind and dragging her feet. It seemed that Conor had put her in a less than enthusiastic mood and Em was determined to change that. Em remembered a trick her father had shown her once in their garden.
“Watch,” Em said as she reached up and pulled one of the fuchsia blooms from the plant. “Now, taste it,” she said, offering the flower to Sinéad.
“Taste it.” Em held out the blossom more insistently this time, but Sinéad just shook her head.
“I am not tasting a plant,” Sinéad said, scrunching her nose at the very idea.
Lily and Mrs. McCarthy had caught up to them. “What’s going on, girls?” asked Mrs. McCarthy.
“Ah,” Lily said, “I think Em is trying to show Sinéad an old trick from our family.” Lily reached over and took the blossom from Em’s hand and then lifted it to her lips.
Sinéad decided that it must be safe if Mrs. McFadden would try it, so she plucked another flower and Em did as well. Both girls raised the blossoms to their lips and sipped them. The nectar tasted sweet and slightly herbaceous. Sinéad smiled.
“Plenty more to learn up ahead, girls,” urged Mrs. McCarthy, “Come along now.”