Five months have passed since Tom left me. That’s all the time that was needed to undo all his hard work. I would look out the front window at the garden he had faithfully tended to all these years.
What was once a paradise of blooming flowers and vibrant greenery was now withered and bereft of colour. Kind of like me.
I’m not going to pretend his leaving didn’t hit me hard. But the truth was we had grown further and further apart, until we could barely reach each other. Now I sat within the four walls of my house, staring out the window, alone with my thoughts.
Over the years, Tom had tried to entice me into the garden, but I had resisted. I didn’t have time for gardening, I’d say, I had better things to do. In fact, toward the end I didn’t have time for him. I know that now.
It’s taken me time, not to mention a lot of money, to come to that realisation. My therapist is always trying to make me see the ‘silver lining’ to my predicament.
I told him about Tom’s garden.
“Gardening can do wonders for your frame of mind!” He exclaimed as though he had cracked the jackpot
I nervously ventured out to my local nursery, determined to give his garden a new lease of life, but having no idea of how to go about it. Thankfully Steve, the nursery owner, proved to be incredibly helpful and patient.
“You can’t just start randomly planting flowers. You need to clear out the existing flower bed, weeds and all.”
He issued several detailed instructions, peppered with unfamiliar words like compost, which I carefully jotted down in my notebook.
“Once the prep is done, your garden will then be an empty canvas.” Steve smiled warmly.
My garden? The thought both terrified and thrilled me.
As I worked, being alone with my thoughts was no longer a scary prospect. Instead I welcomed the silence and once I had painstakingly removed all the weeds, I confess that I barely thought of Tom.
I planted lots of colourful flowers. Steve helped me every single step along the way, allowing me the freedom to choose the flowers I wanted and designing the garden as I imagined it to be in my mind.
I don’t really see my therapist anymore. I know that not even saving his garden is enough for Tom to return, but I’m okay with that now.
I’m happy to say that the garden is now in full bloom and restored to its former glory. Steve came to visit today and I proudly showed him the results of my hard work.
“It may look like you’re finished.” He told me. “But it’s only the beginning.”
Our eyes met over our cups of tea, and we both smiled.
I know what the garden means to me, but was it possible to have more than one silver lining?
First word had to be FIVE.
Story had to include something being replaced.
Story had to include the phrase A/THE SILVER LINING