“I need something sturdy. Something with some constitution.” Kevin said to the cashier.
“Something that isn’t just going to drop dead?” She said with a chuckle. “I got you, don’t worry.” She led Kevin down an aisle, passing many tropical plants on either side. Kevin followed, shoulders slouched, gazing at her heels making sure not to step on them.
“Here we are. This is a ZZ plant. It is nigh unkillable. It would take an impressive level of neglect on your part to let this one die.” The girl looked at Kevin with a grin which quickly faded into an eye roll as she realized he wasn’t acknowledging her joke, or seemingly paying attention to her at all.
“That sounds great,” muttered Kevin, “I’ll take it, thanks.”
The girl brought the plant up to the front register with Kevin in tow. She rang up his purchase and handed him the card terminal to pay.
“Is this your first plant baby?”
“Oh. Umm, yes it is.” Kevin said while inputting his credit card pin.
“Amazing. You should name it.”
“It’s your first child. Probably of many. You should give it a name.”
Kevin thought for a second as she wrapped the plant.
“How about Pete?”
“Pete?” the cashier said, raising an eyebrow.
“Yes. Pete Moss.”
Kevin put Pete on the floor of the passenger side of his car and drove home from the plant shop. When he got home he went into his kitchen and set Pete down on the counter before retiring to his bedroom to play video games. Kevin removed the clothes he had worn out and tossed them onto the corner of his bed, changing into an old hooded sweater and a pair of flannel sweatpants. This was the same outfit he had worn for the last week at least, he couldn’t really remember at this point. Kevin had been laid off from his job about a month ago due to department cuts and so now he spent most of his time at home, in his room, and in this outfit.
Hours had gone by and the family sized bag of chips and two litre jug of diet cola Kevin had been surviving off of were no longer enough. He stood up out of his gaming chair with a groan and went to the kitchen. He grabbed a couple of pizza pops from the freezer and popped them into the microwave. He read the clock as he went to set the timer for his food.
“Jesus, it’s already that late.” Kevin thought to himself as he pressed start on the microwave. Waiting for the pops to heat up, Kevin looked around the kitchen. There were some dishes piled up pretty much everywhere around the sink. Most of the real estate on his kitchen counter were taken up by a couple of pizza boxes and some old take out bags. The garbage can under his sink was full and Kevin hadn’t bothered to change it out yet, so most of the waste had to wait it’s turn on the counter. Next to the pizza boxes sat Pete.
“You’re never gonna make it buddy.” Kevin said, staring at the plant. His food beeped and Kevin grabbed a couple of take out napkins from amidst the clutter on his counter and took them into his room.
Kevin woke up and rubbed his eyes. He was still sitting in his gaming chair where he must have fallen asleep, though he couldn’t remember what time. Kevin had purchased blackout curtains for his room to help keep the sun out so he wasn’t sure if it was morning or not. He reached around the area looking for his phone. Locating it was in vain however as he had forgotten to charge it the night before and it was dead. He sat there for a moment or two longer before getting up to use the bathroom. He walked out into the kitchen afterwards and stared into space. He noticed the sun peeking in through the window behind a curtain and looked at the time.
“Jesus.” This was becoming a routine of his. He looked at the counter and saw his plant right where he’d left. Next to the plant he noticed his coffee pot still had some old coffee left inside and he decided he didn’t have the energy to clean it yet, mostly because he hadn’t had any coffee. What a conundrum. Kevin went back to his room and changed into the clothes he had worn the day before to the plant store. He figured he’d only worn them for about an hour or so anyway so they were still good to go. He grabbed his wallet and left the apartment to get coffee.
Kevin returned shortly after with a coffee and a breakfast sandwich from the cafe around the corner. He sat at one of his kitchen stools and shoved some trash to the side to make himself some room. While eating his sandwich, he looked over at Pete Moss and remembered the plant lady saying these plants liked indirect lighting. Kevin lived in a first floor apartment that didn’t get a ton of light but the window sill in his kitchen got enough during the day. Unfortunately it was behind a large stack of dishes and had some trash piled up on top of it. He looked at the clutter, then back to the plant.
“Okay.” Kevin finished his sandwich and went over to the window above his sink. He stared at the dishes for a while before reaching into the cabinet under the sink for a sponge and some soap and got to work.
It didn’t take very long at all to clear up all the dishes and even gather up some of the trash together, but Kevin had made a spot for Pete. He set him up on the sill and opened up the curtains letting the light in. Kevin was pretty happy with himself for cleaning up the dishes and decided he would relax and play some games. He went back to his room and changed out of his clothes. As he was about to throw them on the end of his bed he looked around at all the clothes everywhere. Feeling somewhat inspired, he collected everything off of his bed and his floor and tossed it all in a hamper. Kevin threw on some fresh clothes and dragged his hamper down the hall to the laundry and started a load. Kevin walked back into his room and saw his phone, dead, sitting on his chair. He grabbed it and went back out to the kitchen where he’d left his charger and plugged it in.
“Okay, maybe now I’ll play some games.” He thought to himself as he looked around at the trash all over the place.
“Well, I guess I could clean this up while I’m waiting for this thing to charge.” And with that Kevin set to work collecting all of the trash and recycling and taking it out to the bins behind his apartment. He headed back inside and gave his countertops a quick clean using some disinfectant he had underneath his sink.
Kevin looked around at the room and couldn’t remember the last time it had looked so tidy. He looked over at his new plant and remembered he hadn’t watered it yet. He filled up a glass from the tap and poured a bit into Pete’s pot. He looked at the glass for a second and couldn’t remember the last time he’d had a glass of water and refilled it for himself.
Kevin’s phone had finished charging enough and buzzed from the other side of the room. He checked it and he had a few notifications from his friend Mike.
“Hey Kev, what are you up to? You still off work buddy? Listen, playoffs start tonight, I’m gonna grab beer if you wanna watch it at yours?”
Kevin hadn’t hung out with anyone for a few weeks, but now that his place wasn’t a complete mess, something inside him said he should accept the invite.
“Hey man, yeah that sounds great. I’ll order pizza and wings.”
“Cool. See you then.”
Kevin sat down and starting browsing an online job board.
A few hours went by and Mike sent Kevin a text letting him know he was outside. Kevin greeted him at the door and showed him inside. Mike set the beer down on the counter and looked around the kitchen.
“You should get some more plants in here,” Mike concluded.
Kevin smiled and nodded in agreement.