I'm Laura Wildmann
After the fiasco yesterday, I wanted to make sure I did things right from now on. No more spur-of-the-moment decisions. I got out of bed this morning and headed straight for the "garden." The tomatoes actually looked a lot better than they did yesterday. The ground was still pretty moist too. I made sure to water the plants that were still in the little pots. Not wanting these plants to dry up in the sun, I looked for a shady spot to put them for now. The area at the side of the shed looked cool enough, so I moved all the helpless little green things over there. Most of them were in the sun right now, but in an hour or two, they'd be in the shade.
I needed some help. I decided to pay Mrs. Parker another visit. On the way, I didn't see Mr. Stalker, which was a bit strange, but hey, that's a good thing, right? When I arrived at the garden center, Mrs. Parker was busy picking at the plants. She was plucking off their leaves! When I got a bit closer, I realized that she was plucking dead leaves. I watched her for a little while, trying to get a sense of her method.
"Oh! Dear child! You scared me," said Mrs. Parker as she spun around after catching sight of me.
"I'm sorry," I apologized, "I was just watching you work."
"Oh, I see." She made a kind of half frown. " What can I do for you today?"
"I just came to discuss my garden situation with you a bit further." *** I was able to develop a kind of game plan for the garden. I never really understood all that went on between plants and the dirt. Let's just say that I have a newfound respect for flora. With this new knowledge (and a sack of organic compost), I headed for home. I incorporated the compost with the rest of the plantings and added some to those already planted. Everything was starting to shape up. I had the tomatoes and watermelons planted closest to the concrete walkway behind the building. I'd set the corn behind the tomatoes. That way, the shorter plants could easily be seen with the taller corn acting somewhat as a background for them. I thought that was something rather clever for me to allow for.
Just as I was contemplating how I was going to handle the sunflower seeds, I heard Mother call my name.
"How's it going, Laura?" Mother asked.
"Fine. I'm actually getting something done," I replied to her. I was actually having fun with this.
"Well," Mother started, looking my work over, "it is coming along."
"Ah!" Thinking of the seeds in hand, "you're just in time to help me with these." I held the packet up for her to see.
"But you seem to be getting along so well without me."
"Mother, please." I really wanted her to help me. Not because I really needed help, but I thought it would be nice to have someone to do it with; and maybe for another reason as well.
She stood there for a second and kinda looked me over a bit. I felt a bit creepy then, but she smiled. The creepy feeling left. "So, where do you want to put them?"
I directed her to a spot behind the watermelons. I clued her into my whole scheme of things. I handed the packet of seeds to her, picked up the fork and begun digging in the already softened dirt.
"How much spacing do they need?" I asked Mother.
"Uh, let's see." She looked at the back of the packet. I heard the phone ringing. "Hold on, Laur. Let me see who that is." She dashed back inside and picked up the phone on the third ring. I continued digging until I had a space about two feet back and three feet wide. I set the fork down and went to the shade of the building and leaned against the wall waiting for Mother to come back.
I must have waited at least ten minutes, but she didn't come back. I went inside to see what had happened. I didn't find her downstairs, so I went upstairs to check her room. There she was, sprawled out on her bed, still on the phone.
"Yeah…uh huh…sure." Her side of the conversation. "Well, I really need to go," she said. I certainly agreed. "I can be there in fifteen minutes," said the woman I thought was my mother.
"I've been waiting for you outside!" I complained when she hung up the phone. "Where do you have to go now?" I was a bit upset at this change of plans.
"Honey, I have to meet with a client. He really needs to discuss some things with me. Possibly even another job." Her voice was trying to be soothing (with just a hint of excitement), but I wasn't going for any of that.
"Mother, we were supposed to to plant the seeds." I was struggling to hold back the tears. I don't know where they were coming from. I didn't even know why this was so important. She's had to leave me hanging before, taken off when I'd least expected her to-in fact, sometimes I did expect it.
"Oh, Laura. I'm so sorry. Believe me, I am. I want to plant with you just as much as you do. But, I have to do this. Please understand." I could see the pain in her eyes, but why did she have to do this? Why now? I turned and hurried to my room.
From my room, I heard the front door close when my mother left. I couldn't stay upset all day. Yes, it did hurt, but I knew she was only doing what she felt she had to do to take care of us. I flopped down on my bed and spent a few moments recalling some of the better times we'd had together.
I remember the trips I took with Mother. We visited some rather cool places a number of years ago. Europe, South America, Africathis is where she got a lot of her pictures and video footage that she uses today in her projects. Mother and I spent a lot of time together. I did home schooling then. It's only since I've started high school that I've attended regular school again since my father's death.
We didn't do much traveling while he was alive (that I can remember, I was only six when it happened). I do remember how happy they were together. I miss that sometimes. I was happier then, also.
The tears started to well up in my eyes again. I sat up and wiped my eyes with my fingers.
"This is too much!"
The picture on the night stand of all three of us together catches my eye. I admire the gradation of skin tones among ourselves. From my father's darker tones, to my medium tones, to Mother's lighter tones. It's just so beautiful; yet incomplete now. I wince at the thought of going back to that sad place in my mind.
"I am going to plant those sunflower seeds. In memory of Mark Wildmann."