My mother likes to garden, but not enough to call herself a gardener.
There was this one day in summer—back when I could call New Jersey
home—she told me she wanted to plant flowers in the backyard. “I’ll help
you,” I said. She came back from the nursery, arms coiled around two potted
plants I can’t remember the name of. She carried them like crying children,
placed them on the counter. She bought us matching gardening gloves.
She waited for me to come downstairs to help, because I said I would. I
stayed upstairs, bedroom door locked, where I learned the garden state,
how to pull my own heart from it, where I painted my nails black, hoping
she wouldn’t call my name, hoping I wouldn’t hear her steps up the stairs.
“It’s okay that you forgot,” she said, smiling, sad.
Paige Chaplin is a writer/musician/fleetwood mac nerd
and also she’s from the moon or something. Listen to her music at https://paigechaplin.bandcamp.com/