Grandma has always enjoyed gardening. She now digs up other people’s gardens when they’re not looking.She prefers lilies.
She had a best friend called Lily. Lily died before her 16th birthday. After Lily died, Grandma would never visit Lily at her gravestone. She would plant flowers instead.
Today she plants daisies when she thinks she is planting lilies.
At number 52, Mr. Robinson prepares his steaks. Sally, his teen daughter is frowning because she’s vegetarian and Mrs. Robinson is yelling at her sons because they are swinging on the Hills Hoist. In the meantime, Grandma gets her trowel, hand fork and her flowers, which have bloomed elsewhere, and starts digging. The Robinsons say nothing.
She lost Grandpa from the big C two years ago. She plants flowers for him too.
Ms. Smith, at number 50, doesn’t mind Grandma digging up her garden because Ms. Smith doesn’t have a green thumb.
The neighbours talk about the weather, football, the affair at number 54, but no one talks about Grandma’s trespassing.
Trespassing or surviving: matter of perspective.
Grandma has watched people in her street give life, raise children and watch them go. Home is also other people’s gardens—from above, the neighbourhood is a floral bouquet.
She talks often about living in the present, but she is constantly time travelling, taking me with her. She transports me to a park, 1925, with cast iron benches, weeping willows and chestnut trees. I sit with Lily and Grandma squashing the tall blades of grass, sipping invisible tea. Tears and laughter mingle when our men return minus an arm, leg, or eye. I catch the flowers at my Grandma’s wedding.
Tomorrow, they’ll take her away.
I’m wearing Grandma’s favourite blue cardigan with blue and white stripes. I walk along the street and I’m happy to report that the flowers that grandma planted are still there.
Story by Isabelle B.L
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