All my favorite things in the world are the difficult, temperamental ones. The ones that make you work for their silver linings. How many people do you know who couldn’t be bothered with the house cat or the orchid? How many of those people never gave one a go? And of them, how many of those people led particularly interesting lives? Everyone wants ready-made beauty and joy. Eternal love and exotic blooms from a can. Apply nondescript brown pellets daily or water when you’ve had too much pinot grigio and remember it exists. You simply get nothing worth having by assuming an entitlement to it from the get go. No, everything worth having means cutting through a wax seal or waiting long winters for a single bulb.
I once had an ex-lover who used to throw out orchids when their flowers fell off. Providing no more amusement, he gave them a cursory once-over and called the time of death. The roots still green and the dirt still moist, he ignored its nature and made an impatient and entitled judgement call that it simply had no more to give him. I cringe to think how many of these plants ended up on the downside of his trash shoot over the years before I convinced him rather pointendly that he should never own one again. Watering, waiting, allowing it to rest before beginning again was never going to happen on the planet that he, and he alone, inhabited. This amount of essential empathy wasn’t even something he allotted to his fellow man, let alone something he purchased. And looking back, these were the kinds of things that became screaming, blaring landmarks in my journey to understanding his character. The resulting culmination of which manifested like a trail of poisoned bread crumbs leading me to a big, final realization.
I desperately rejected the notion of ‘signs’ at 25 after a short lived flirtation with the concept but it’s hard to deny that there were many things that sang their praises after I left that relationship. My favorite was always the orchid that he had gifted me. Naturally I took it with me, we all know what would have become of it. And it had become abundantly clear that anything requiring him to understand its nature, to apply a moderate amount of consideration and nurturing, would wilt under his black thumb. It bloomed only for a short time when he had gifted it to me. For many months, it lay there dormant, sleeping, biding its time. And when I left, it bloomed.