Listen to the wisdom of plants

Submitted into Contest #143 in response to: Start or end your story with a person buying a house plant. ... view prompt


Contemporary Fiction LGBTQ+

It was time to do it. To move on. A punch on my stomach, a metallic taste in my mouth, the smell of something disgusting. As repulsive as the inside call. What was it? Just blurry feelings that make one enter an anxious spiral. “Go away, gooooo awaaaay!” I thought. But the feeling started pushing even more. “OK, done, you win. I will have to live with myself for at least 40 more years, then give me a break.” 

“Jane, did you go and see your grandma?” Oh, not again please, I have enough with myself to go and stand that old cat. However, no one can escape from the family duties, those unbreakable golden rules. Who invented those? Even happy Peppa Pig’s ideal family ends up chopped into bacon. Yet no superpower can beat a fierce mum’s look together with an exaggerated intonation of one’s name: “Jaaaaaaaaane, I told you it is needed to make some company to grandma time to time.” she stated. “Why are you sending me instead of going yourself? Because you cannot cope with ending up altered by your mum, or maybe because you get disgusted by seeing yourself reflected in the forthcoming future?” Ok, that was too much. It was time to go and see grandma before mum imploded. Hey, wait, the bloated intestines went away. Must be that I needed to take out some anger by releasing all that accumulated tension. At least it was over till the next time.

Once I arrived, only the little annoying Yorkshire came to greet me. Grandma was hypnotized by watching TV like always as if she was waiting for Saint Peter to come downstairs, pick her hand, and take her to the highway to Heaven. “Hi, how are you darling? Do you have a boyfriend?” Oh, not again this question… I wish I could tell grandma: “Yes, I do have but she is a girlfriend, yet we split up because we do not have a clue where the relationship goes.” Instead, “Oh grandma,” I said rolling my eyes. The butterflies started arising again, but their wings were not made of soft silk but sharp knives skimming my guts. “Hey, what’s that anger lady! Do you think you can just enter with that behavior and cut my afternoon TV show, which is more sacred than church on Sundays? Your awkward stage passed time ago. At your age, I already had two kids.” Hey, no one can beat that statement, even less if you are a single woman. “Look grandma, I have had a tough week and sometimes I get tired of being human and incomplete, so I gave up on the quest of finding ‘the other half’” Impressively, I thought that ironic sentence would sink the conversation but a spark on her eyes lit up and a soft smile appeared on her lips. Yet I must confess that reaction added up a bit of humor to my exaggerated drama. Suddenly, she got up from the couch and made a gesture with her hand for me to follow her. I still did not get recovered from her last statement, so I stayed in a fight or flight position. That house was dark and smelled like an old person. The hall was filled with old statues of Greek gods and goddesses with that gaze without iris, which makes them even more creepy. Every corner of that house was filled with memories and brought me nostalgia. I still remember playing hide and seek with my cousins… until the day we found out about grandpa’s erotic magazines. “Jane, do you know the importance of caring about your house plants?” she asked. “No grandma, I do not have any in my flat,” I answered. “Maybe this is where the problem arises. Do you know the importance of living together with plants? Your ancestors, and the ones before those ancestors, used to live in the fields, synchronized with the seasons, with the moon stages and their effects, knowing how to differentiate types of green, rainy clouds, the winds from the north, or the west…How much knowledge we have lost, yet for more city dwellers addicted to screens we turn, we cannot deny our symbiosis with plants. Girl, the best medicine against current anxieties and individualism is to breathe plants. If you give it a try you will start feeling differently, even if you dislike them in your dish.” She paused to take some air while in my mind the walls of prejudice fell apart. The little devil-me was whipping my insides for thinking that grandma just knew about soap operas, while I am the one basing my knowledge on social network sources and trendy lifestyles. Indeed, I already heard something called Forest Bathing as a therapeutic practice in Japan, yet those Japanese can be weird sometimes. “Look, a plant will teach you more than a human. The art of patiently growing and the respect for oneself and others. If you try to water it too much, it will be drawn. If you do it little, it will dry. You will learn to stop imposing what you think is best but to start listening to the plant. The plant will show you how to synchronize with all seasons and life cycles. How to care and attend when the disease comes. And how to accept that the plant won’t be always there, even if you want it to give you always beautiful flowers and fruits for eternity.” She kept on talking and giving me gardening tips, yet my mind had already flown to the continuum of thoughts. I just experienced an internal click moment, those that leave the printing press of understanding within you.

It was time to do it. To move on. To listen with my brain, heart, and body, myself and my partner, instead of automatically reacting with blurred actions. To deal with change by accepting patientlythe timings and seasons of all things. To bring my sight off from my belly button and to care for other beings. And to reconnect with Nature, who is our best guide in this crazy life. So, on my way back home I bought a gardenia from the florist and placed it next to the television, to remind me every day of the teachings learned and the ones to come.

April 28, 2022 08:37

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.