The day I brought home a pack of freesia bulbs, I immediately scooped you up from the crib and plopped you on the earth as I dug a plot in our barren yard. The freesias seemed like a nice starter plant for our new home. They reminded me of watercolors and were easy enough to maintain. I carefully transferred the bulbs to their new earthy home while simultaneously watching you to make sure that your wobbly legs didn’t lead you astray. But you were good. And you never left my sight. Instead, you were observing the enormous world that engulfed you.

I secured the bulbs and patted down a layer of fresh, wet soil. I was about to call your name but I noticed you in a state of awe. I followed the direction of your gaze and saw two snails heading towards my freesias, my babies. I grabbed a salt shaker from the kitchen and sprinkled it over the snails and they fizzled like a freshly opened can of soda pop. The wonder in your eyes melted into sadness. I picked you up and we danced in our new garden.

I miss you every day, even though you’re resting beneath the center of the garden that I grew just for you. Your father stays inside and watches westerns until he dozes off, laying so still on the couch that I’m too scared to check for his breath. I stare at his immobile body, silently commanding a knee jerk or an undignified snore. I know that he’s still with me, at least for today. I’ll turn off the television for him and quietly return to you. I’ll see a few snails here and there. I watch them crawl and leave slime on the leaves. Let them live. For you.

Story by Andie Park

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