The philodendron grew with us.
You would talk to it too. You told it about your life and your dreams and your hopes.
We lay on a white-knit blanket. The air was muggy and thick with mosquitoes. I was sick and I couldn’t smell, so you described the smells to me. You said the pine trees smelled like a green sword thrust into a frozen river, the sweet basil like a nymph’s sap-dipped palms cupped around a nose, and the roses like sacrifice.
I closed my eyes and tried to see life like you did, scents like silk ribbons and sounds like pale crescent moons, and sandy toes.
We saw an old couple resting on a bench, their bodies sighing into each other, and you cried for tenderness. We saw a group of city children rooting in the mud, their faces lit with primal wonder, and you cried for innocence. You saw a row of ducklings trailing behind their mother in a sickly pond ringed with algae and you cried for motherhood.
In the shade of a sobbing willow you held m…