His garden was blooming. The roses were red and the grass green, in an ethereal manner. This amazed him more than it pleased him for he hadn’t worked on it for a very long time. In fact, the last time he had touched it was when the doctor had declared him “unfit” to do any physical activities.
As he lay in his bed, his mind numbed by the realisation, he remembered how frustrated he had been when the doctor had axed him from doing what brought him heavenly pleasures. There was nothing that brought more light to his life than waking up to tender his garden. With the passion of a skilled worker he would do what he does best. He truly loved his garden and if there ever came a need, he would die protecting it.
But now the doctor had restrained him from tiling and watering it, as was his daily routine. What a setback. His garden had won acclaim around the township as the most beautiful and awe-striking of all. Some said walking in that garden was like walking in Eden of old times. And that you felt as if you were surrounded by holiness.
“You forgot all the troubles of this earth,” they would say.
His garden was his pride, his joy and his life. He still remembered how he had set down to working on it the very moment that he purchased the house from his father-in-law. And ever since then he had transformed it from a dry, drought-beaten patch of earth, which seemed incapable of producing any good, to a beautiful sight that filled the hearts of many with envy.
Many had desires of one day owning such beauty. But they had their own gardens but were too lazy to work on them and perfect them with the passion and zest that he possessed. He could work on it for days on end, putting manure or spraying pesticide; removing the weeds and watering the seeds. And the result was an eye-catcher that gave him a sense of pride.
Seedlings sprouted and flowers bloomed into luring produces of greenery whose value to him couldn’t be marketed in the best markets in this world. There was no amount of money that could buy his garden. It was his and his alone; he wouldn’t share it with no one. He was a proud farmer until that fateful day, now so deeply captured in the rooms of memory.
He was riding his bicycle from the local Spar and he wanted to plant the seeds he had just bought. Rushing and speeding home, he bumped a small stone and fell. After tests and medical formalities, he was told to stay away from the garden. Reluctantly he did just as the doctor had ordered him. So painful was his heart to see all his hard work, his long hours, withering away like a mirage in a dream.
The garden that he had tendered with his own hands, with a passion so deeply rooted in him, lost all its colourfulness. All his hard work, gone down the drain, all gone to waste…
What for? Just because he fell off his bike, hurt his spine and in the process of it all had lost his job. God! Damnit! Life can be a corkscrew at times. You spend years working to perfect something; you invest all that you have in it; you make it your one-and-only trade, whilst others are multitasking from trade to trade and invariably earn a better title than you; “jack-of-all-trades” and “street-wise”.
You work hard on your trade until one day your little world of perfection is rocked up-side-down by the jack-of-all-trade doctors. Just because they have gone to university to acquire the certificates, to tell people when they are “unfit” to do what they have been doing almost all their lives.
Now his garden was suffering. It was dry and looked like the old women you see wearing over-sized jerseys in the crossroads of life. He was spending most of his time in the taverns now, drinking his sorrows away. He would leave early in the morning before the sun smiled and exposed the happening of the previous night—things done under the illusion of being unseen, and he would come back late in the night, when the stars were dancing with untold mystery, far up in the dark skies.
In his drunken stupor he would demand his plate, his only plate for the day and stagger to bed. His garden was like a childhood game in the mind of a teenager. Something that was enjoyed in the pastime but was now irrelevant and inappropriate. This continued for quiet sometime, until one day he heard one of the tavern patrons say to him: “Seeds planted in darkness surprise even the owner of the game. For when the sun rises it exposes all the happenings of the previous night, mercilessly so”.
This baffled him and he didn’t understand it. More subtle, indirect comments aimed at him persisted like a child crying for attention; and attention he did finally give it. One morning, after a night of heavy drinking, his eyes almost fell from the sockets as he was looking through the window. Saw how beautiful the flowers in his garden had bloomed; it was like old times.
An old flame was ignited as he looked with disbelief; not knowing what to believe! Was he dreaming? No, there was his wife beautiful, sweeping the yard and singing joyously. He saw how beautiful she looked. She and the garden seemed to be complimenting each other. The other was the reflection of the other.
The butterflies that buzzed around brought a heavenly scene to the eye that was accustomed to the dirt of the location. The drunkards, and young tsotsi’s that waved their knives like masters in the art of killing; young women who’ve left their husbands in their beds of death in the hands of unknown diseases, to gather yet more unknown diseases and viruses.
Now his eyes saw life free from the blind-spectacles of alcohol. He saw how his garden had recaptured its leaves and sprung back to life. Like a skeleton spirit refusing to be condemned to the grave and its eternity. He was about to kick the blankets and wake up to run out in the garden. Like a father who has seen his long-lost son step in the confinements of his compound; to thank the gods for his safe arrival. But a question hit him and forced him to evaluate the garden in a more sceptical manner.
He had not touched the garden and his wife is at work during the day. So who has been busy watering what was not his? He felt his blood rush to his brain. He thought of the impossible possibilities, the ancient ignorance of not seeing what is happening behind your back, because you are busy drinking away your sorrow.
He looked at his wife and saw how big she had got. Unaware of the microscope that observed her and stripped her naked, she sang her song joyously. He saw the belly… that was coup de grace and the power in him deserted him. He sank in his bed and never woke again.
Outside the woman was singing her song of joy, contemplating of ways to tell him the heart-breaking news.
Tell us what you think: What would you do if your spouse cheated and brought a seed home?