Saving A Life

The plant was $12.99 a full three dollars over her limit on “extras,” but she’d been dreaming about this plant for weeks and finally found it and it seemed dangerous to ignore her dream. It didn’t look as healthy as she would have liked, especially not for three dollars more than her limit. Still, dreams were powerful things, who was she to begin to ignore them. She splurged and bought it.

Bringing it home she immediately transferred it from the cheap plastic pot it had been in to her favorite Mexican painted planter, adding fresh soil and watering it just enough. She angled the pot so the plant would catch light from the window, though not directly, and made a reminder in her phones calendar for a week out to turn it.

For weeks she watered, turned, and appreciated the plant. It’s location was prime for daily viewing. She watched as it appeared to thrive, losing a couple of leaves that hadn’t looked good at the nursery and growing in their place several stunningly beautiful leaves with lovely variegation. She hadn’t even realized there was a variegated variety to these plants, but apparently so, and she had one.

She’d taken a picture of it in the pot the day she brought it home and now made a point of taking a new picture once a month, also noted in her phone’s calendar as a reminder, although she didn’t really need the reminders. She looked forward to watering, turning, and photographing the plant and caught herself singing to it on several occasions. One morning she’d even said “good morning,” to the plant, not thinking, and yet somehow expecting an answer. “But that’s silly. This isn’t Little Shop of Horrors.”

It wasn’t long before she had a good dozen photos of the plant, just shy of one year actually, and she decided to find a way to put them together as a sort of slide show or time lapsed photography show. She didn’t know much about computers or techie stuff in general, but this seemed like something she should be able to figure out relatively easily. And it was. A Google search here, and another there for words she didn’t understand in the instructions from the original search, and voila.

She viewed the new video, though short, with pride. Marveled at how quickly the plant had grown, and decided that if her friends could share pictures and videos of their kids and dogs and cats online, that she could very well share the video of her plant. She shared it expecting at least a couple people to like it, the usual people: her mom and best friend. So she was surprised to note a few days later that the video had garnered more attention than anything she’d ever posted. She began to think the plant was more popular than she was.

She considered creating an account for the plant. That way all these people who seemed to adore it would have a place to follow it, and therefore she’d also be able to keep her own life a bit more private if it came to it. But it was just a plant. How many accounts could she create for it? What would a plant Tweet? You can only change pots and locations so many times before Instagrammers would be bored by the plant, surely. No, this was just a fluke and she’d leave very well enough alone.

After the “online incident,” as she now referred to it, she went back to her usual posts, nothing about the plant, and her likes went back to being the usual couple to few. She began to forget her watering and turning days, relying on the reminder in her phone. She noticed she no longer looked forward to picture day, but continued to do it with a bit of disdain.

By the time another year had nearly passed she realized she had a new set of photos to add to the video, but they told a much less pleasant story. In fact, reviewing the photos she realized the plant hardly looked like anything she’d be willing to pay $12.99 for. She’d stopped singing and speaking to the plant, and realized, perusing the photos, that she missed that interaction, even if it was a bit one-sided. The new photos were a disgrace, an embarrassment, and she nearly deleted them for the shame they wrought.

She finally decided, however, that it was better to confess to the near planticide that had occurred and promise to try her best to fix it and bring it back to life. She posted everything online so as to confer a sense of accountability to the project. She edited all her alarms to ring the day before in addition to the day of so she’d be sure not to forget. She taped a note to her bathroom mirror: “Talk to the plant,” and found herself getting ready for bed and taking a bee line through the house to say “good night” to the plant, or getting ready to leave in the morning and making her way to say “good morning,” before going on her way.

Her watering and turning routine became so engraved in her muscle memory, so habitual, that she once again found the alarms to be unnecessary and mostly annoying. Though she left them, more as a reminder to herself of what she’d done than as a reminder of what she needed to do.

As expected the plant came back, and it came back with a vengeance. It nearly doubled in size over the next six months and the variegations became tri-colored instead of bi-colored. She once again took intense pride in the plant, grateful for her three dollar splurge.

Despite her promise to her online community of posting photos of the plant, she found she never quite got around to it. Each month when she took the photo she’d spend a minute checking her feed or responding to comments, or dusting the leaves rather than share the picture she’d just taken. Not surprisingly, her community never asked for photos either. It was as though none of them had really cared to begin with, or maybe they forgot they were supposed to be holding her accountable. It seemed odd that the video that got so many hits should dissolve so completely into anonymity. She couldn’t remember why she’d been so upset by it in the first place.

By the end of their third year together, she and the plant had a lovely routine going, they seemed to look forward to their “good mornings” and their “good nights,” they both seemed eager for water and turn day and especially photo day. Their third year together and she’d brought the plant back to life twice, by her estimation, the first time by purchasing it from the store where it was clearly not perfectly happy, and then the second time, which true was by her own fault, but still, she counted it. Saving a life was saving a life after all.

~~~That’s one hour~~~

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