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I Bought A Plant

I bought a plant a few Sundays ago. I go to Trader Joe’s every Sunday morning now. It is ritual. It is church. I try to get there right at opening because they have a plant section in the entryway. If you can get there early, you can find some beautiful plants for a great price. I saw one that was under $20. It was so huge and healthy looking that I had to bring it home. Got it positioned by the window and started looking up names that mean “big” or something like it. I named him Enzo which, according to one of those baby name sites, is Italian for “giant.” I also lost a friend a few Sundays ago. A beloved friend. I haven’t known her my whole life, but long enough to love her. We had one of those chance meetings where you share a laugh with someone and feel like you’ve been best friends before in another life or will be for the rest of this one for sure. I met her at a time when I had opened myself up to the world-to the universe, to my future, and to feeling. It felt timely to welcome her into my space. It was easy for her to find a seat for herself inside my open chest and now that’s where the hole is. For some time now, I have pushed through the grieving process presenting as functional for the sake of work and family. But the truth is that this loss has pressed on bruises of abandonment and other wounds that I thought were long faded and healed. And the saddest part for me is that she is not actually gone. She did not die, she ghosted. I was with her one day and then the next day no more texting back. Just gone. And I struggle with that. I am not really mad at her, only myself. I did not fail to discern, I actively chose to look away from every flag that she waved. I was given all I needed to see this coming, but genuine surprise wouldn’t make it hurt less. I know that people need space sometimes, but nobody needs to disappear. At least I don’t believe so. I believe it is right to verbalize boundaries and to say goodbye if you must go. I know that social media has convinced us that we don’t owe anybody anything and there may be some truth in that sentiment, but I think it is also true that our timelines are not helping us walk the delicate line between self-care and self-sabotage. I’ve come to understand that the disappearance of a friend or loved one is especially painful for a number of reasons. One, because the emotional whiplash of it all is so uprooting. You’re tossed from joy and into grief so suddenly. Also, to borrow my brother James Hill Jr.’s words, disappearance leaves us to grieve people who have not died, but chosen death as a posture. And there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. I feel the sting of loneliness in the places we would go and the things we would laugh at. I feel powerless and sad and I’m not sure if I will ever see her again. I hope so. She could send me a text tomorrow or in a year or never. I hope that she is safe and well but I don’t know. What I do know is that I’m not really alone even though I feel that way when I think of her absence. I’ll be just fine and I know this because I bought a plant. Yes, of course I have faith and all that but God is spirit. Enzo is a Colocasia, or an elephant ear plant. I never knew that a plant could weep. Literally, their leaves leak when they are overwatered. I went into the living room to open the blinds and found tear drops all over the floor. I wiped the floor and just said to him, “I know.” So now the two of us, overwhelmed and overwatered, sit together before dawn. We don’t have to talk. We are both acquainted with grief and we know it. Sitting and breathing are enough for us. After a while, I wipe his leaves and then my face so we will both be ready when sunshine comes again.




photo by @jazzellamckeel

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