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Grandma’s Gardening Tips (revisited) – Flash Fiction

May 15, 2016

Grandma’s Gardening Tips (revisited)

“Do you think she’ll be okay?” Paul asked his wife as he stared out the window.

Annie shrugged. “I don’t know. She was pretty upset about Nana’s passing.”

“Just look at her out there. You’d think she was exorcising demons with that hoe.”

Annie stared out the window at her daughter. She held the hoe with purpose, turning the earth with each stroke. She was just like her nana. Gardening seemed to be in the blood.

“Give her time. She’ll come around,” Annie said as she placed a hand on Paul’s arm.

Annie walked to the table and sat down. She’d noticed something different about Abby when she came home for Nana’s funeral. Her once happy child had a darkness about her. She figured her daughter was dealing with issues that Annie couldn’t comprehend at the moment. Maybe she really was exorcising demons.

Abby worked outside in the garden all afternoon. Paul kept vigil at the window while Annie cooked dinner. Sooner or later, they would have a conversation with her, but for now, they gave her the space she needed.

When dinner was ready, Paul went outside to get Abby. He stood at the edge of the garden for a long while, watching his daughter as she planted seeds. She reminded him of his mother. Her knees were deep in the ground and back bent. She poked holes, added seeds and then covered them up with gentle care. She didn’t appear to even notice him. His mother got lost in her work that way too.

“Abby, dinner’s ready,” he finally called out to her.

Abby sat upright with her buttocks resting on her heels. She wiped her gloved hand across her forehead. She nodded at her dad, but said nothing. She gathered her tools and followed Paul into the house.

Their days continued much the same for weeks. Abby spent all of her time in the garden while Annie and Paul went about their daily routines. Meals came and went under near silence. And then finally one evening, Annie broke down.

“I should have listened to Nana,” she finally said as she sat at the table sipping coffee after dinner. “She warned me about David.”

David was Abby’s husband. They’d married right after high school. David had gone into the Air Force and they moved away shortly thereafter. Annie and Paul had only seen their daughter during holidays and birthdays after that. Abby rarely talked about her marriage, but Annie and Paul could tell things weren’t going well. Their daughter bore more and more bruises each time she came home.

“I’m not going back. Can I stay here until I can figure out what to do next?” Abby asked her parents.

Paul smiled at his daughter. “Someone has to look after that huge garden you planted out there.”

Annie swatted Paul with a dish towel and then turned to her daughter. “As long as it takes,” she said to Abby as she cupped her daughter’s hand with her own.

©2016 Lori Carlson. All rights reserved.

(500 Words)


Each day in May, I will be participating in the StoryADay in May. Here is today’s prompt:

Via Julie – Rewrite your First Person story from Week One

Click here to read the original story

6 Comments
  1. Gardening is a good way of getting rid of frustration, anger, sadness and loneliness. You can’t say anything in a situation like this. You just have to be there and love them.

  2. This throws up one of the most difficult issues for any parent, and presents what is probably the optimal solution. Disapproving openly of a grown-up child’s choice of partner is fraught with danger and usually ultimately futile. If things go wrong, standing back and quietly offering support and a road out is infinitely preferable to ‘told you so’.
    Great story, Lori.

  3. That’s a beautiful story Lori. I’m trying to find the words to describe it, but they’re eluding me…anyway, I like it 🙂

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