Azelea and apothecary bottles

Another continuation from the Garden series

I stare up at the trees beyond the hedges, captivated by their grandeur, taken back to their opposites; the bonsais I kept during university. I kept strange habits and hobbies, but never talked of them. I used to take lavender from the neighbour’s garden and placed them in lines of apothecary bottles that I’d taken when they were throwing them out in the old science labs.

I had my life measured out; in those apothecary bottles, not in coffee spoons. I spaced my time evenly between friendship, career, health, hobbies, religion and romance. Mostly I replaced romance with adventure; believing I could take myself on a better date than a man ever could.

I suppose that’s why I was most shocked when Wilson pulled me out of the garden where I’d dwelled in leisure with my friends. I was the least ready for a man of his type and depth; a kind I could never emulate. He stretched himself, growing in one large terrarium, where the atmosphere had been more dense than any background I could imagine for myself. He knew more of pain than I did of chemistry and despite reciting the periodic table, I wasn’t ready to be taken to another epoch, a more advance stage in life. He caused me to yearn, he pulled and tugged for me to leave my balanced pot planted life, but I felt underserving to be taken out.

My friends longed for romance, I was concentrating on graduating with honours. My lecturers graded me highly, but I began to realise the lack of conclusions in my coursework. I had elegantly divided sets of time and had found balance between life’s generally light but important weights. What would I surrender?

He’d travelled the world, finding adventure in the way of a vagabond or a flaneur, rather than a curriculum vitae builder. He wanted what I did, but went about it so differently. He was braver, yet I barely knew him. I abandoned his pursuits, putting up walls and hedges that were stronger in perception than reality.

Still, I’d wake up each morning with his name in my mind and I’d go about the day beating it out again. I stood at my science bench each day, crushing my thoughts and the tablets in a mortar and pestle, turning it into granules to make creams and suspensions. Suspended in time.

I was not in love or lust or intoxicated by him. I was fascinated. Fascinated as I’d been with my projects and never a boy. I could see he’d been broken and rebuilt. And I knew the process as water changes from solid ice to liquid and steam and I wondered what he’d lost during those periods of transportation.These thoughts all came so suddenly. They quickly outgrew the apothecary bottle I’d put them in.

And here he was today, unsoiled and unmoved by time. And here in the garden, his roots had grown deeper. He is no longer moveable and flippant as he once was, no longer swayed and tossed by the wind. But I pray that he does not become set in his ways like my father and my grandfather has. Maybe its time to pull our work apart and begin again. The work is unfinished and undone.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Azelea and apothecary bottles

  1. beautifully written. whimsy & delicate.

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