Sunday, March 27, 2011
Your plants made the small house smaller. And they dropped leaves and needed water or had too much water and sometimes they’d drip water all over the console stereo that Dee bought at Gimbel's with her first paycheck. Dad took the stereo part out years ago and turned it into a cabinet where you kept Golden Books and extra napkins and plants on top. And others hanging above. The ones that dripped.
When I’d visit you’d want to show me something new. A bud. A brown leaf that confounded you. A macramé hanger that Roseann made. I lived in the small house with the plants long enough to know their vagaries, I even knew individuals and remember their arrival. Mother-in-Law’s tongue from your father’s funeral and Boston Fern from the Philadelphia Flower Show. Wandering Jews that escaped and set roots in the Weeping Fig and an amaryllis that Grandmom found in an alley in the 1930’s. Mistaken for an onion set she was deeply disappointed by flowers at Christmas instead of food.
The disappearance of philodendron was a good sign. Big Mark could finally fit on the end chair at the dining room table. Then silence and the missing bromeliad. The stereo console turned into cabinet top was clear and the few hanging plants struggled with something. You weren’t sure what it was. No ideas. No talk of spider mites or mealy bugs or root bound problems. The dining room surprises me in March, awash in a new light after all the hanging plants are gone. Indifferently, I ask why because I kind of like the emptiness. Your answer doesn’t bring me any closer to knowing but I am trying to find a missing Golden Book and little Mark is rummaging through a cereal box to find the surprise inside. Distracted, we are satisfied.