Years ago my husband NJ had gifted me a bouquet of blue silk roses for our anniversary, but later a relative wanted it for her wedding bouquet. I didn’t have the heart to say No, nor could find another just like it. What followed was an endless search for the blue roses, in every shop and city we could think of, yes even after Amazon happened but no sign of any blue beauties.
Then this year as we dropped our daughter off at a lane across from nice shop called Green Tag complete with Einstein looking Owner who could sniff out our need; “What exactly d’you want?” Einstein asked his serious eyes lit up with joy. We mumbled. He understood and left us to ourselves and his collections of fern, ZZ, Water babies, Palm giants & dwarves, Bird of paradise wild stalk and then I saw her, clustered at the roof of Einstein’s green house. Not one bloom on her but she called at me.
“Jacquemontia.” Einstein whispered with reverent awe.
Back home I looked up the name. Oh my. Such a big name for wee creeper in my tiny balcony. Then the flowers arrived. Blue yeah. Not roses, not silk, but real. One, then two, three, four. And every bud a promise of restoration. Not just make believe but the real thing. A real planting of the Creators Words coming to Life. Our daughter Vihan took this pic and with every new bud I’m thinking on how He restores, with no limits, in ways we cannot imagine. I’m staring at His fingers writing sermons in little Jacquemontia, all for my tiny window on heaven.
Her house was green: from a new painted roof to shutters in soft green. Every room was like a library, even their table was decorated with books, I’d never seen anything like it. My home was a museum of random memoralibia: drying rose bouquet in bamboo vase from Odisha, tatted table top made by Gran, a coir center mat and coir rimmed lamp shade that overlooked a sofa set in dying rust red velvet, yes we had books but nothing decorous like those at Shasi’s place: we had Reader’s Digest,Good Housekeeping old copies from the sales at the Library every year. And we had Caravan yellow backs, and Dad’s volumes of Carpentry&Tool care! Nothing in green except a stool he hand painted. And yes, 16 types of Bibles. Or more.(Not in green, those).
When Shasi came home, evenings after Math tution, she smiled all polite and wouldn’t look at my collection of feathers in last year’s old English Textbook. She was fussy I thought, but later saw how she wouldn’t look at her own books either, or at her own stamp collection. As a matter of fact she never looked much at much: but she listened hard, and I would later learn how big a gift that was.
Years later we met at college, and she recalled details I’d forgotten all about: like when we had had chicken pox and how Ma had brought us bouquets of neem leaf. She recalled songs,we’d done at contests, and which ones we lost at. In particular she remembered how I fell apart at an Essay Contest at school, and how we climbed a guava tree and ate every last guava to celebrate that sadness. Later we were sick with too much of that fruit and went to a gooseberry tree and ate some there till our teeth were raw. So yes, green will always remind me of Shasi, and how she listened to the sound of colors. And other things. She remembered us praying in the dark sleepover after cousin P.recounted bits of Psycho that weird horror movie; she never stopped praying after that she said. It gave her a better option than worrying or staying sleepless, on nights when there was illness or a thing to stress over. I never thought she’d be the type to receive comfort from prayer, or notice how it changed a room, but apparently she did. Did she read all the beautiful books in her house? Shasi nodded and said ,”Your Bibles were so loud at your place Ray, I had to go and
get my own collection. Come over some time to Kolkotta…”
(I could write more but am one minute past the five mins allowed to FMF prompts! Have a great day y’all)