My primary concern was my belongings. Not people, not closure, not consequences, but my worldly possessions. I am, and I am not, ashamed to admit it. Stacks of books, knick-knacks, overstuffed folders of papers, everything I collected, earrings and pendants, clothes most of all. I’m a materialistic girl. If I could have, I would have taken everything. Instead all my decisions were mostly practical. The thing with materialism is that what you own becomes what you perceive as what you are, so I chose the things that reminded me I was still me.
The packet of seeds was in the farthest end of my junk drawer. I’d been waiting for this. I chose a bear-shaped flower pot and went out to the backyard to sample unoccupied soil to mix in. Since it was too dry, I found some damper dirt that was reminiscent of the mud pie creations of my childhood. Then for the moment I’d been most excited about. I tore open the packet carefully to reveal flat seeds, like cat’s eyes with dark slender ovals in the center, the rest the color of roasted peaches. I shook out less than ten of these into my palm and deposited them into the pot, brushing them deeper into the dirt with my fingertips.
There are problems so deeply rooted that if you try to truly dig them out, you end up burying yourself alive. My fault, your fault, a troubled childhood, an unstable temperament, the wrong words at the wrong time, the right words at the wrong time, patterns, resentments, something lacking. Pointing accusatory fingers and grabbing her wrists too damn tightly, not realizing how small they were, when we should have held each other’s shaking hands. Desensitized, numb, treacherously apathetic. The opposite of love is indifference. Hate is frustrated love. I ask myself, why was I so afraid to give? To trust?
I set the pot on the windowsill in my room where the bear’s bottom stuck out precariously over the edge, but still in a position where it could balance properly so long as no one disturbed it. I peered at the soil as I watered the seeds with a white plastic cup. I saw some ants and unassuming tiny brown insects scuttling around. I assumed this was normal, although in hindsight I should have consulted my green-thumbed brother who’d nurtured an apple seed until it surpassed me in height. The packet said germination would begin in 15-20 days, so I watched and waited.
What am I leaving behind? I asked myself this over and over. This has happened before too many times. It had to end. But I couldn’t help thinking of my biological father walking out before I was born and my mother walking out without saying goodbye. Even I didn’t give a proper goodbye except for a pathetic line on a sticky note in blue pen. I had no time to deliberate very long and I didn’t want to miss my chance. As I ran I wondered, am I doing the right thing? I can’t ever fucking tell. I don’t have time for regret, but I do think of my hurting brother who closed the door behind me with the most heart-breaking expression on his face. Now I was leaving.
I thought it’d be easy and quick because I was very impatient to see something grow. I checked on the flower pot every day, feeling much like EVE who, too, scanned the desolate Earth for even the smallest hint of sweet green life. Nothing.
I am aware I have chosen a path where I can’t ever turn back. I am so fucking terrified underneath my bravado because I don’t know where or how I’m going to properly look after myself. I am always in survival mode, but that does not in the least mean I’m not clumsy in that area. I am fucking clueless and I can hear it in my friends’ concerned voices: “How are we supposed to help you if you can’t even help yourself? What exactly is wrong? What exactly do you need? What is going on? What are you going to do?” I can’t even pretend I’m looking forward to new beginnings. I’m moving between reckless abandon and hyper-caution. I am fucking terrified and I don’t know where home is, but that is the only place I want to be.
It has been 2 1/2 weeks since planting the seeds and there is no sign of germination. The packet said it was a versatile plant, one that was sure to flourish in both dry and moist conditions. This had given me substantial confidence in my plant-growing abilities. But when I look at the flower pot and brush my fingers across the surface, I eventually uncover the seeds that are as lifeless and dormant as the day I first saw them. I later get reprimanded for keeping the pot on the windowsill where it could potentially cause a fine mess. It was stupid of me, really, to think I could grow a wildflower indoors.