I began to feel better around the time that there was an outbreak of bacterial meningitis on campus and my boyfriend refused to kiss me (because he was scared of the meningitis). It was warm for February in New York. I bought tulip bulbs from the grocery store and put them on my windowsill because the cats hadn’t been eating my plants as much lately and I was trying to see if I could sustain life this time.
After I had come back from the clinic I had been too sore and tired to get up and water my $3 Home Depot plant, so I just let it sit in the sun for 4 days while I watched Law and Order on my couch and ate Kraft Mac and Cheese. It shriveled till all the little green leaves were brown and crispy like thin, burnt french fries. And I felt guilty, both about the plant and about the abortion, which had resulted in the death of the plant. And I thought if I had been a few years younger or older and living in Georgia again and still attending that suburban mega church, then things would have been different. Which of course is true, but in many ways not true at all.
The plant leaves had shriveled, yes, but not like french fries. They were more like the thin pages of a Bible that rip easily and rustle when you turn the page. And for every plant I had let die there were three more that were very much alive with big leaves cascading over my bookshelves. My cats were alive too in spite of all the dirt and leaves they had consumed and my boyfriend, for all his hypochondria, held my hand on the subway so I didn’t have to touch the sticky subway poles.
I too, am completely alive in spite of myself, and I remember to brush my teeth and eat breakfast and pay my bills on time. The truth is sometimes plants are only $3 from Home Depot and they were never going to last anyway.
Elizabeth Endara is a writer, doula, and non-profit consultant living in NYC. She has her BA in Creative Writing from Georgia State University and her MA in International Educational Development from Columbia University. She likes to write about the years she spent living in Eastern Europe and the interior lives of her cats. Her work has appeared in various online and print journals, and you can find her writing on her Instagram @elizabetheendara and on ReleasetheWomen.com.