The Garden

He picked at his plate; peas, some chicken, a piece of bread. Thinking of childhood, his mother, father, the garden in the backyard, a bath tub filled with turnip greens.

His wife asked him to pass the iced tea as he stared into space. She got up and got it herself. Sorry dear, he said. My mind was elsewhere. Guess I was daydreaming again, she smiled.

The sun came in through the blinds. It was a bright light. Always was this time of day. He just stared at it. You’ve hardly touched your food, his wife said. You don’t like the chicken?, he said it was fine. All was fine. Everything, fine. You know, soon I won’t be here to cook these meals for you, the older woman said, pushing her glasses up on her nose.

Sorry?, he stopped looking at the light.

I said I won’t be here to cook these meals for you.

Where will you be?

Gone silly.

Gone where?, he grew impatient.

I’ll be in heaven dear.

Oh, his hands trembled. That so? …We must not talk this way, he wiped his thin lips. I won’t have it, he shouted, the dog began to bark. She got up from her chair and held him, shhh, she said. Shhh. There there.

Who will take care of me?, he asked.

Arrangements will be made dear. Then again, you could be gone before me.

Gone where?

We’ll see each other in heaven one day dear. One day.

Are you certain of that? All this talk of death. And look at me. My bones show through my skin. I don’t like this. I don’t.

We come from the earth and our bodies go back to the earth.

I want to go to the garden. The one my family had when I was young. One day. Yes, one day.

She held him close to her chest, Shhh dear. Shhh.

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