Plant sitters


beardediris1“I bet it’s the one with the beard,” she said, and she pointed at an iris sitting in a planter near the door. The walls of the kitchen were painted a rich egg yellow, and the iris was in full bloom; the colors stood out against one another, hot, almost jarring. The house was awkward, hallways leading nowhere, doors that appeared to be ordinary at a distance but up close were too small, or didn’t open, or didn’t close. 

Mary said, “I think maybe they aren’t home,” and looked around the corner. She walked past the iris, through the kitchen and into the small sunroom that was full of books and smelled humid, tropical.

“It would be a big help if they’d left us a note,” she continued. “I have no idea what we should be doing.” She handed her bag to Dana and sat down on the butterfly chair near the open window. Dana opened the bag and rummaged in it, looking for her notes. They sat quietly together in the room, looking out at the hummingbird feeder, the watering can. Mary picked up a book: Plant and Phantom. Dana whistled a happy quiet morning song. When Miriam came in behind them through the kitchen a few minutes later, they felt startled, like she’d just walked into their home, not the other way around.


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March 2009
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