Friday, August 6, 2010

The Watering Can

   I filled my old watering can up at the new tap that I had installed just that afternoon. The old one had dripped horribly and no amount of elbow grease or washers would stop the leak. There wasn't a problem that I couldn't tackle, so I set to the task and fixed it myself. Water droplets glistened off of the old tin, as I slaked the thirst of my precious ferns. I surveyed my gardens, looking to see which of my other beloved plants needed a drink, when my eyes drifted past the road at the bottom of my mossy front steps. A car was jerking to a stop. I set the watering can down on the ledge at the top of the stairs, as I walked by it. I stared forlornly at the car on the curb. Not again. Its dented fender and chipped paint bespoke of distraction and disregard. Nothing had changed. I saw the disheveled figure behind the driver's seat desperately straightening errant hair and checking lipstick. Like it mattered. The fact that she was here spoke volumes. No amount of rouge or hairspray could hide the fact that it had happened again. I sighed as I descended the steps towards her rusted old Buick. How many more years would she get out of it, I wondered. As many years as she could push.

   "That's quite the bruise that you are going to end up with," I stated.

   I had reached the curb just as she was unfolding her long legs from the rumpled interior.  I saw pain, fear, sorrow and anger flash across her face before she quickly replaced it with a look of surprise and nonchalance. 

   "I... I bumped into the cupboard door," she replied hastily. "It's nothing."

   A smile splashed across her face, as she flung her arms open. I couldn't help but think that it looked rehearsed.

   "Are you going to greet me or not Sis?!" she pouted with a smirk.

   A crooked smile crept across my tired eyes. I loved her so much it hurt, especially at moments like this. I knew that snippets of the story would emerge over the next few days. The images would be glossed with her mistakes, her failings and all that she could and should have done. I hated her in these moments. Not because she had let it happen, but because she could not stop it from happening, and I let her go back again and again. I felt I failed her as much as she failed herself and of course HIM. His name was always spit through my teeth. It didn't help. I offered sanctuary, reprieve, a new beginning... but when the phone rang after she had been there for several days it was always the same. He apologized, said he loved her and that it would never happen again. Things would be different; better. But her battered old Buick kept on showing up on my curb again and again. I kept wondering how much more it could take. Or her. Or me. There did not seem to be an easy fix to this problem. No washer to ebb the tide.

   With hugs and tears, I watched the beaten up old car pull away from the curb. She had been here for almost a week this time. I thought that I had gotten through to her somehow. I hoped that maybe she would be able to find her own feet, but her taillights blinked as she turned the corner. I brushed the tear that quietly crept toward my chin with the back of my hand. I glanced down at my weathered skin. Water. Yes. I climbed back up my mossy steps and picked up the watering can that I had abandoned the week before. Only a week, and yet my ferns had already started to grow over the empty vessel. They were trying to hide the dents and battle scars. I sighed again. 

"Perhaps tomorrow will be a new day," I mused as I filled the watering can and returned to the ferns that shaded my heart from the hurt that seemed never to heal.

This is in response to the prompt over at Magpie Tales. Go check it out and see what others have to offer.


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