These plants look far more alive than the long-suffering one in my story.
Fiction class assignment: write about a relationship with a carbon-based thing, but not a human or animal. This was where my imagination took me…
Taking a Stand
Sammy didn’t like her name, because she was a girl and Patricia either refused to acknowledge it or was too dumb to know. They met on a humid Sunday morning in August at the Farmer’s Market under the bridge downtown. Sammy—then known as the cool purple plant– was standing at watered attention in a flimsy plastic tray with her siblings when Patricia walked by. She stopped mesmerized by the brilliant velvety purple field of leaves.
“What are these?” Patricia asked the booth proprietor, a stooped grey haired woman.
“They’re called purple velvet plants or purple passion vines. Aren’t they pretty?”
“Yes. I have a bad habit of killing plants; they probably have a ‘don’t live with Patricia club.”
The plant lady forced a smile, rearranging trays.
“How would I take care of it?”
“They need bright but filtered sunlight. Not enough light and that vivid purple color will fade. Don’t let it get too dry, it should remain moist at all times but not saturated to avoid root rot.”
The cool purple plant preened lifting her leaves revealing her gorgeous magenta underbelly which Patricia rubbed between her thumb and forefinger.
“I’ll call you Sammy.”
I’m not a boy.
Sammy’s spiky purple leaves curled in disdain. Tired of the greenhouse she had cravenly stretched her crown above the pack, now she was bumping against Patricia’s lycra-clad hip at the bottom of a canvas tote.
Home became a windowsill in a studio apartment in a direct slant of dusty unfiltered light. Magenta took on a violet hue. Her leaves were covered in a layer of dust. Patricia was forgetful, over watering her one week and dehydrating the next. After a round of excessive dryness she’d douse Sammy with a 7-Eleven Big Gulp cup of water. A viperous moss-like substance climbed her roots, thwarting her oxygen supply.
Sammy decided to take control of her life beginning with her name. She liked Liza; she’d heard the plant lady use that name when speaking to the furry yowling thing with the long whiskers. Next, she plotted revenge. She held her oxygen like a human their breath, allowing the silent killer to build up in the room. Patricia wondered at her chronic headache. One day she laid down for a nap. Two days later a friend prompted the landlord to open Patricia’s apartment, nobody noticed Liza standing triumphant amongst the dust motes in a shaft of light.