July 8th: The Cactus

She kept the cactus.

Its bristles, the skeletons of flowers, protruded, naked. Its base was shriveled, the wrinkles a dull sea foam. It sat in a terra cotta pot. She scarcely remembered to water it. If not for its vibrant green bulbous, she would have been certain it was dead. Nevertheless, she kept the cactus.

She entered her office for the first time when she was hired, and it sat there on the window sill, as though greeting her and welcoming her into this new position. It was autumn and the mornings were dark. She saw its shadowy figure, lit only by a street lamp from outside. When she turned on the light, she saw its stoutness and touched the dry, gritty soil with her finger tips.

She glanced at the cactus from time to time. She even decorated it for Christmas with teeny, tiny artificial Christmas lights –a festive novelty necklace she owned. When winter was still thick, insistent, un-ending  the only source of life, the only greenery she could see, was her cactus. It was unaware of the cold, unaware of anything, except the warm sunbeams, of its pot sitting atop the heater. There was a naivety in house plants; a childhood innocence. This was why she had always loved them.


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