Solace in Roots
Two men were tending the graves, one with a watering can and one fiddling with the gravel at the base of pots of chrysanthemums; large and violently colourful blooms that no cloud nor drizzle could diminish. She put her pot of spindle cuttings at the end of the marble slab and she too fussed around with the stones to try to form an anchor. The pink and orange berries had been a favourite to paint.
She turned and walked slowly back along the shingle path with the open-topped mesh dustbin on her left. Each week the maintenance truck came and the bin was emptied. Most were still alive. Only one had been discarded today. It was a succulent – still with small red petals barely visible under the faded cardigan of dead blooms; the spent ones begging to be trimmed so new buds could form. She wondered on this day of all days, when the moon kept her promise, whether the roots of all the rejects, in every bin, in every cemetery across the world – bared cold and naked with no pot blankets, might break out in the night and grow suddenly, frantically long, desperate to find their way.
She carried the invalid home and immersed it in a water bath. Tomorrow, would be the time for a little, gentle surgery and then a newly-made bed of convalescence.