The Allotment

Three days had passed, since she visited her allotment last. She felt guilty for neglecting her parsnips, turnips, carrots, kale and cabbages. She hoped she would have prizewinners this year. She hoped for better than the disaster eleven months prior. The autumn she had succumbed to the fall. The weather had been exceptionally unkind. She was browbeaten by the wind and rain; and the fog still invaded her dreams at times.

She was adamant this year would be different. She would feign from hiding at home and letting indifference reign. And yet here she was again. The moment the sun had disappeared and waved goodbye to every colour of the rainbow in the flowerbeds; she too had taken to bed.

The guilt this time was unparalleled. In fact, she wondered if she would ever step back through the door. Whatever the weather. It didn’t matter that some days the sun was wont to shine. One day in five wasn’t enough to fight the ceaseless rain in her brain. Monsoon manacles which always chose shelter over pain. Her nights weaved images of wilting stems and curling leaves; tragic operatic notes blaring in every channel of her mind. Her mornings built her worries as high and thick as the metal fences and gates which were meant to keep her produce safe. But in her anxious day dreams she heard the sniffling of foxes and scratching of bugs; she heard the inevitable death of everything she loves.

Three days had passed in the vacuum of self-made eternity. She wondered if they missed her, as greenery turned to brown, folding over into the soil she had picked especially for a prosperous year. She wondered if plants felt betrayal; if they scowled as they gave her oxygen to breathe deep and calm but she choked and gasped, drowning on her future.

It took a nightmare flood to rip the bedsheets from her limbs. A wave of regret had swelled in the distance and rumbled down the road, before swishing gallantly around the corner to face the allotment baring menacing sea foam bubbled teeth. The wave rolled forth; ripping trees from root, flattening shrubs and drowning flourishing vegetables and sleeping flowers.

The fourth day following a sleepless night brought her to the allotment gate. Greenery remained; flower buds bent in the breeze but were not bruised; leaves stretched toward the sun and did not curl inward nor downward. Her absence was not tragic at all. Her return was welcomed kindly as her fingertips stroked the shrubs and tall, reaching plants as she passed. She sunk to her knees before the vegetable patch. She began to pull, gently and nervously.

Each pull revealed a result of her labour and love. Her hands were never left with just stalks and stems but were filled with hope and heavy with life. The weather had been bad but it had not been brutal. Her dreams had been savage but they had not ruined the cabbage. Three days had passed but here she was at last. A survivor and a giver. Another year of lessons tucked mindfully into her gardening belt.

© Kristiana Reed 2018

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