Wednesday, February 10, 2021
Yes, that’s another of my Designed & Ready Book Covers. I held back on using it for myself because I wanted to show it as an example of my portfolio. However, it did inspire a short-short story. I’m sharing that today as an early Valentine from me to all of you.
“Did they grow yet, Auntie?” demanded my exuberant niece as she barreled through the doorway.
“It’s nice to see you too, Sweetpea. I take it your mom doesn’t have time to come in,” I replied in a sardonic voice.
I gave my sister a quick hug where she stood with one foot on the threshold and the other still outside. A spa day was my gift to her. A day with my niece was her gift to me.
My niece had been dejected that the excitement of Christmas was over. She complained that the magic was gone. She was sure Rudolph had put all the magic in Santa’s sleigh and taken it back to the North Pole. So, I told her that Valentine’s Day had magic too.
The next day, she talked her mom into bringing her back. She spent the day playing in my little garden. We found her, trowel in hand and covered in dirt.
“Auntie, I wanted you to have Valentine magic, but nothing happened,” she had complained.
I had thought she was only playing in the dirt. Yet two weeks later, there she was, running to the garden where she had gotten into such a mess.
“Sweetpea, your mom will be mad at me if you get covered in dirt again,” I called out a caution.
She stopped, halfway out the French doors. The look she gave me was a combination of impatience and annoyance, a particular kind of exasperation that only adults could cause.
“Auntie, you said no to everything at the animal ‘doption — even the big bunny rabbit! But I wanted you to have a furry friend. I wanted you to have Valentine’s magic!” she exclaimed.
“Honey, I know it’s hard to understand what grownups want or need when you’re little, but—” I started.
“If you won’t ‘dopt one, then maybe you’ll like one better if we grow it. So, I planted all the seeds last time I was here,” she tried to explain. “I planted seeds for catnip, pussy willow, and a root thing for tiger lily. And I ast Alexa when the new moon was, to make sure I planted then, ‘cause I ‘membered about it making things grow.”
My heart melted that she tried to plant some sort of childish magic for me. Inwardly, I cringed to think how disappointed she would be when nothing grew. Maybe I could buy a tiger lily and put it where she had made her attempt. Although, that wouldn’t be any immediate consolation.
“Your seeds wouldn’t have time to grow yet,” I told her, deciding that I would buy the prettiest tiger lily in town.
“But it’s magic!” she insisted and grabbed my hand.
My niece pulled me toward the neglected corner of the garden, behind an umbrella table that was covered for the winter. She led me to a window box planter that I never got around to installing. It was bright red with white hearts.
It looked like she had put some dry grass and gray moss in the planter.
Then it moved.
The child shrieked with delight.
“I told you. I told you! It’s the Valentine magic!” she cried.
A big gray striped cat stood up in the flower box. It stretched languidly and then walked over to us.
“See, the cat seeds were magic,” she said, cuddling the cat.
“Sweetpea… the cat didn’t grow from your seeds,” I tried to explain gently.
“Yes it did! Your garden is on the tenth floor! It’s a about’cony. You don’t think the cat flew up here do you?” she challenged. “Grownups are so silly sometimes.”
Happy Valentine’s Day
Reviewed in the United States on February 8, 2021
Wishing you an easy coast down the other side of this midweek hump. Hugs on the wing!
This is a work of fiction. Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2021 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
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