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

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Fiction Drama Teens & Young Adult


Zuri watched the deep blue sea intensely, the sun cast its reflection on the water that danced to the rhythm of the small waves. She sat on a hammock in the garden, which was tightly knotted between two big pine trees in their beach house, serving as a perfect shadow and a relaxation spot. She sipped her juice lost in thoughts. The small waves obeyed the direction of the wind, creating a wonderful breeze needed for a hot and humid climate. There was a fish-like smell wafting in the air from the wind and the breeze garnish coming from the sea.

It was so hot as if the sun had the extra heat knob turned to the maximum. She shuddered at the thought of being out in the sea at that hour. From Zuri’s hammock, she had a perfect view of the beach and lived for the breeze. She focused her gaze on four fishermen rowing a wooden locally-made fishing boat.

It was so hot that two of them were shirtless and they all had short shorts. She imagined how hard they had to work in the hot weather and couldn’t afford to relax- many people would choose to. She would’ve chosen to rest if she’d had to work under those conditions. She’d have picked a later time when the sun wasn’t aggressively announcing its presence and the humidity was bearable, not bent on being an enemy of the people.

Lazy! That’s a lazy mindset! She could almost hear her boyfriend, Leo in her head whispering that.

She let her eyes roam across the sea, flying kites and jet skis didn’t catch her attention long enough before she stopped at the fishermen again. 

They rowed their boats a bit further from her, determination hanging over their heads. They initially used one net but when they rowed further, they split into two groups of two. One group cast the net on the right while the other on the left. She was impressed by how driven they were to catch fish and in plenty as it seemed.

Despite the breeze and the shadowy spot, she made herself comfortable in, she couldn’t beat the sweat glands. They were in an accelerated motion to overproduce sweat. She had a bottle of drinking water beside her and decided to pour it on her face. She sighed and thought of how the fishermen could keep at it. “They should take a break,” she said. 

She imagined how Leo would react to her sentiments. He often thought she was lazy, didn’t put enough effort into something, or just gave up too quickly. She thought he was too goal-oriented and had to find a way of accomplishing anything under whichever circumstances. He could easily get carried away to a breaking point, but she’d be faced with a ‘that’s not a winning spirit,’ speech if she pointed that out. 

The fishermen had rowed a bit further but not too far, one was seated at the back of the boat and his partner seemed furious by the number of hand motions displayed and the yelling that mostly was swallowed by the wind.

“What are you up to?” Leo said. He’d moved towards her quietly and she was startled. She filled him in on her two-cent thoughts about the fishermen. He didn’t comment on it. He changed the subject into one that recently had been one of their never-ending battles. He asked if she had got around to buying any house plant for their new house as they had agreed. “Plain is a bad shade for a brilliant and talented interior designer like yourself,” he added.

His question and comment were embraced by silence and an eye roll. She promised she would get to it but he should back off or get it himself. “It’s no emergency, cut me some slack. Do you feel how hot it is? I’d melt if I went out shopping now! Trust me if it’s harboring the oxygen you’ll use tomorrow, I’ll have it by then. You’ll survive,” she rambled.

He immediately jumped in with comments on how little effort she put into doing anything. She should’ve purchased a plant already. The time she had wasted staring out in the sea would’ve been invested more into plant shopping. She’d postponed it long enough.

He looked at the four fishermen and one of them was still seated, as the others struggled with the nets. He darted his eyes between them and his girlfriend for a few seconds and cleared his throat dramatically. “You’re the sitting fisherman you know, that could easily translate into laziness disguised in a break or relaxation. I am not saying one shouldn’t relax, but don’t you think it’s more worth it after a good amount of effort is applied to doing something? Is laziness your mantra? Is it too much to ask for beautiful house plants? Anything but a cactus of course,” he questioned.

“Wow and here I thought buying a house next to the beach would bring me peace. I’d need to live on an island alone if this is the closest I’ll get to peace,” she said.

She looked at him a bit longer and shook her head before she started to walk away. She stopped mid stomping and looked at him again. She took one last sip of her juice, bit her quivering lip and was ready to let him have it some more.

“You know what you are, Leo?” she started but paused for a while before muttering, “Never mind.” And walked away, sulky.

Sooner than later, Zuri got into her car and drove away maniacally. She stopped at the first indoor plant vendor she came across. The roadside seemed to be a home for many of the plants. From money tree, rubber plant, peace lily- all beautiful plants she could settle for, she smiled at the cacti zone.

“Let’s see how you like your new thick, herbaceous, thorny and succulent home décor Leo!” she thought. She pointed at one big cactus before telling the vendor, “she’s coming home with me.”

April 28, 2022 06:53

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1 comment

Tricia Shulist
13:29 May 01, 2022

That was an interesting story. Apparently living with a person who has the opposite as yourself inclination can be troublesome. Thanks for this.


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