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Flash Fiction \

Color in the Garden



Color in the Garden
By SandyMay on 10/19/2010
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“When change occurs,” she told me, “a window opens to growth.” I nodded in agreement, though I wasn’t quite sure what she meant. "And growth is always welcome, isn''t it?"

"Of course," I replied, and hired the prospective new gardener though I was still unsure what she meant by change and growth.

It wasn’t until months later that I discovered exactly what she had in mind by what she set into the ground in the streaming sun of my kitchen garden.

“What I want is blazing color,” I explained during the interview. She nodded, sitting tall and straight as if rooted into the oak chair at my kitchen table. She sipped geranium tea while tapping a shiny spade on her knee.

“I like the vibrant primary hues to excite my eyes, heady perfume to stimulate my senses as I gaze out into the garden through my open window drying dishes or preparing summer’s ratatouille." I pointed sadly at the bland callas, boring white impatiens, white hydrangeas, tree roses.

It’s not that I have an aversion to white. I prefer white sheets on our feather bed, white towels, white underwear. Jasmine rice, filet of sole, and vanilla ices are favored dinner fare. I attend with joy the chaste weddings of a first marriage and celebrate the Chinese New Year.

Yet, white in the garden, depresses me.

“I have the perfect solution,” she announced, and on her next scheduled work day she arrived with twenty skinny pale green stalks. ”Brazilian Manandola Lilies,” she announced, “from my stepmother’s garden. Ten are vivid red, ten, sunny yellow.”

She had an odd expression on her face, a smirk, perhaps a near-wicked smile, as though she held an amusing, though dark secret.

At the front of the embankment where the slope is shallow, she dug deep and planted ten slim stalks announcing they would be red blooms. Down below the knotted pine steps, she planted the yellows. I was intrigued. “How tall will they grow?”

Shrugging her wide shoulders, she dug still deeper and flashing that odd smile, replied in a whisper,

“Very, very tall.”

Several weeks later, after removing the remaining white
periwinkle, she announced that she had made some significant life changes. Uprooting her present husband, she’d plucked a new boyfriend who was flying with her to Paris.

“Besides, my work here is done.” she said with her strange smile.

Today at the kitchen sink, as warm water foams the detergent, I see out the window thick pale green stalks, thick as young elm trunks. Squinting, I gaze up at the Manandolada Lilies, now 70 feet tall. They are still growing.

I will need strong binoculars to see the bright yellow and red blooms if they ever bloom.


© By SandyMay On 10/19/2010 1:25:41 AM
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