Story A Day May: Day Fourteen

The prompt for today is about using a sidekick, which I thought fit in well with the  super hero/super villain story that I wrote Friday and I was originally going to continue on with that. But my ideas for a sidekick for my super hero (Lemur Lady) felt way too contrived.

So. After some thoughts, I came up with quite a different take on it — a mother and her sidekick child, working in the garden.

*****

“What’s this?” Lauren asked.

“That,” her mother Jennifer bent closer, “is a calendula plant. It is only small now, but soon it will have more and more leaves and then — flowers!”

“Oh!” Lauren answered.

Jennifer smiled down at her young child. There was something wonderful and precious about the two of them working in the garden together. This was the first spring that they had been able to do so, the first year that Lauren had been old enough to help.

She stretched a little, her back aching already. She was not as young as she had been. Lauren had been a delightful, later-than-expected surprise.

“Ca-len-doola.”

“Yes. The flowers will be orange.”

Her daughter nodded her head firmly, as if this accorded with what she had already known. Jennifer smothered a laugh and returned her attention to the garden. It was more than a little overgrown in this part. There was so much to do. She had focused on the vegetable garden when Lauren was smaller. There had just been too much and she had had to choose what she would focus on.

Her husband wasn’t much help at all. On those sorts of things.

“What are you doing?”

Jennifer had drawn lines in the soil, an inch deep, four rows a foot and half long a piece.

“I’m planting seeds.”

“Seeds.”

“Yes. These seeds will grow up to be Morning Glories.”

“That’s a funny name.”

“Maybe it is.”

“What colour?”

“These ones will be blue.”

“I like blue.”

“I know you do.”

“You’re putting the seed in the ground?”

“In the soil, then we’ll cover the seeds, and water them and soon they’ll start to grow.”

“How long?”

“Not too long.”

“How long?”

“Lauren, please. Could you let me get this done?”

Jennifer wondered sometimes if she would have been a more patient mother if she had been younger. It was hard to say. She didn’t think she was overly impatient, but sometimes the questions came a little too thickly. It was hard, when she spent so much time with her daughter. Which she loved, but it could be overwhelming.

“Are they going to be big flowers?”

“Lauren! You work on your patch. I will work on mine. Let’s listen to the birds.”

She had given her child a small patch to dig in, out of the way, and it seemed like, this time, Lauren actually listened to her and they worked in silence until Jennifer finished with the Morning Glories.

Next, would be the Sweet Peas. She looked around for the envelopes that she had put them in. They were seeds she had saved herself, over time, different colours, neatly sorted. She was planning a pattern and was very much looking forward to it. The long, twining vines would reach up the arbour she had made over the winter. It would be the garden’s focal point.

“Where are the envelopes?” she said to herself.

Her eyes took a wider look.

The slightly crumpled envelopes were beside Lauren.

She felt her stomach sink.

“Lauren,” she tried to say calmly. “What are you doing with those?”

“Planting,” she said simply.

“My seeds?”

The child’s face tightened. “Your seeds?”

“Where are they?”

“In the dirt.”

She swallowed hard. “All of them?”

Lauren smiled. “I planted them in rows, see? Like you did.”

And Jennifer felt both disappointment and love, anguish and cherishing.

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