Sanya killed them all. The petunias, the impatients, the short, hardy marigolds. The snapdragons snapped in half. The aloe dried out. She would have murdered the hydrangeas too, probably, had not her mother eventually intervened, unable to see a perfectly healthy garden go to waste.
It wasn't that she was doing anything wrong, exactly. It must have been a problem with over-watering, or under watering, or maybe water quality...one could never be too careful. Or a fluke of the weather. She'd read about microbursts once; perhaps a micro-microburst was to blame, localized over the little patch of earth she'd specifically requested in their backyard. It was a dry brown blemish in the otherwise lush flora, so miserably visible from her bedroom window. She looked down on it in shame and abhorrence, and left her little blue watering can in the garden shed, and her yellow trowel, and she'd never been allowed near the shears in the first place.
The garden seemed pleased anyway, and immediately after her tending ceased the brown blemish began to show the first sign of promise. But she was miserable and her mother could see that. It's bulb season, she told her. Why don't you plant some bulbs?
It didn't get a rise out of her at all, so at last Samanthe dug five expert pits with her trowel, and seeing a betraying flicker of interest in her daughters eyes, merely left the bulbs in a pile and returned inside the house.
Like a cat, her curiosity unable to stay itself, she moseyed reluctantly outside to observe the holes. Stupid holes, she said. Stupid bulbs. Stupid micro-microbursts.
She kicked one of the bulbs. It rolled near the hole. She frowned and kicked it again. That'll show it. Then she kicked them all inside a hole, and the dirt over it, all very reluctantly of course. Stupid garden. She used her mother's watering can to sprinkle it a little bit, not really enough to matter, then went to her room and forgot about it.
Days later, she returns home to find her bedroom window wide open and, peering down onto the yard below, five hardy purple flowers bursting through the earth. She sprints outside to see if they're real, pokes them, touches their petals lightly in disbelieving. She calls her mother outside.
Never seen violets sprout so fast, she says. You've got a magic touch.
A magic touch!
Sanya shuffles inside, trying to swallow the beaming smile peaking through her teeth. Samanthe stays outside to tend the garden. Five for ten dollars, she thought, you can't beat it. They were a nice addition of color besides.
10 October 2007
only violets remain