Julia’s Garden

Photo by Jen Harvey
Photo by Jen Harvey
They served her notice. In three days they would come to clear it away. It was dangerous, they said. A public nuisance, they said. People could trip and fall, they said.

It had to go. More than once they said that.

But she had watched them, these hapless pedestrians. Ambling down the street, minding their own business.

They always appeared lost in their own little worlds until they reached her garden.

And there they always stopped. No-one ever fell. No-one ever tripped. No-one was ever bothered by the nuisance of it all.

She sat by the window and watched as they bent over her colourful pots, inhaling the perfume of lavender and roses.

Often she heard laughter or caught snatches of cheery conversation as they stood there admiring the flowers or following the flight of a bee as it skittered from petal to petal.

This is happiness, she thought. Why pull it apart? Why throw it away?

She had called them on the telephone. Explained it to them. About the bees and the laughter.

But they had labelled her crazy. A nuisance. She could hear it in their tone of voice.

True to their word, they came on the third day.

One by one they hurled the pots into a yellow skip and she listened as they clanged against the sides and thumped to the bottom.

All morning they worked, clearing it away. And when they were done they stood back and looked at the pavement where her garden had once stood.

The grey tarmac, so barren now, so dreary.

One of them looked up at her, shook his head and sighed.

But she did not return his gaze. Instead she thought of the seeds that lay in a drawer waiting to be planted out.

And the smell of next summer’s blossom wafted through the room.

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