'Jasmine And The Darklit Corner' by Ashling Dennehy

I wanted to plant Jasmine in our garden.

I imagined us reading on the patio, surrounded by its scent on summer evenings, after the tang of barbequed food and cedar smoke has wafted away.

Jasmin draws bees and good fortune, keeps away jealousy and midges. It was the scent of my teenage years, when things seemed infinitely more urgent and I would smoke on the flat roof outside my bedroom window at dawn. I'd come back peaceful, smelling of its perfume instead of rancid ash.

But our garden faces the wrong way and our house blocks the light needed for what I want.

I went with my husband's suggestion. After he told me that my Jasmine would grow twisted and ugly outside of full sunlight, he kept right on talking until I was encircled by disenchanting options. I nodded and asked questions about pruning but I have long since forgotten the answers.

Now, we have Clematis. It grows like weeds, stretching out grasping tendrils that, when unable to find purchase, pull at me as I walk to the shed for paper towels or washing powder. I skirt the edges of their reach and I carry sharpened, red-handled pruners whenever I venture outside my own back door.

Every now and again I hack at them with shears, reefing the twisting vines until the entire plant seems to cave toward me, as if to smother me bodily. I wonder if one day those arms will reach out and pull me into their darklit corner, their haven of shade.

As I sit at my kitchen table and pay the bills, I wonder why anyone would build a house that faces the wrong way.

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