“Noooooo!” I yell at the dying plant on my kitchen table. I see that it’s leaves have turned that awful shade of ochre yellow.
“You have to live. You are the only thing I have left of her. I’m sorry I don’t have her green thumb or the time to talk to you the way she did. You need to stay with me. I couldn’t save her, but I’ll be damned if I won’t save you.”
I rush the plant to the kitchen sink giving it a healthy dose of water before sitting it on the window sill that gets the most light during the day. I hop up to sit on the counter next to it to talk to the only thing I have left of hers.
“You know, I need you, don’t you? I’m not ready yet.” I pause as if it’s going to talk back to me. Though I know, it won’t. I feel as though it is trying to tell me it’s time to let go and not cling to a lifeless houseplant pretending that taking care of it will save her. I look at the plant seeing its leaves shake a bit.
“Are you going to come back to me. I can’t let her go. You know that you’ve seen the way I have mourned her in front of you. Not only in that first month but the days that are special and I knew I would have seen her then. I sit there at that kitchen table, with you always in the middle and hold onto one of your tiny leaves as if it was her hand and sob, cause you are the only thing I have left of her. Please don’t take that away.”
I watch the plant wiggle some more before deciding that I better leave it alone before I drown it in my self-pity. I hop off the counter and start to walk out of the kitchen and into the living room of my apartment before turning back to look at the plant.
“You know I love you right?” I say to that houseplant wishing I had told it to her more often.
I finish walking into the living room and then into my bedroom to get dressed for work. After I finished dressing, I walk to the front door, giving a look of dread to my dying plant before I leave the house for work.
At work, I just kind of stare into space the whole day, eyes glazed over, diverting as my eyes from my computer to the picture I still have of her on my desk, in that dress that I always loved. I think about how in her life she was like a plant always rooted in her life, her need to be watered with something whether it was love or just aimless affection. Her hunger to be fed whether it be with knowledge or actual food, she loved food all types; exotic to homey that’s what she was, she was everything. Everything that, that African violet represented. I couldn’t take it if I let that poor helpless flower die in my care, again.
After work, I sluggishly return home knowing that I was going to return to another letdown, knowing I have once again failed. I have been unable to keep the only thing I have left of her alive. I throw my bag on the chair next to the door and kick my shoes off. I walk through the living room and into my bedroom to change, not wanting to face the plant that I had let down like I had let her down. I take off my work clothes and flop on my bed, devastated with the day. I lie there on my Serpa blanket trying to decide if I am ready to face the plant as I fix dinner or skip it all together and just curl up and forget the day.
After about thirty minutes I decide to face the facts and walk into the kitchen.
“Have you left me too?” I ask the plant while not looking at it yet in the window sill. I finally look up to it and see that the leaves have turned a bit greener, which lights the fire of hope deep in my belly.
“I saved you. Or did you decide not to leave because I’m such a hopeless mess without her?” I look at the plant pretending that it was the later because that was the truest in my mind because I genuinely am a hopeless mess without her. I can’t get the same stains out of my clothes that she could. My cooking skills are limited to what I can microwave. Which causes my freezer to have a shit ton of boxed food in it and my fridge to be packed with takeout boxes and beer.
“You’re such a typical dude.” She used to tell me.
I was, but I was her dude though, but that was until she up and left me for something that could never give her warmth or safety. Just lonely dark dampness for us both. A hole that will forever be inside, she could have had it all. In the end, she chose a past that I wasn’t a part of over a future we could have had.