Shea arrives early the next morning in the pouring down rain.
It feels amazing to see him again.
“Shea! You haven’t changed!” I tell him. “Your head leaves are white, sure, but you look as fresh as ever!”
I feel so excited. Shea is here! After all these years!
“There’s really nothing I need to tell you about the baby,” he says. “He’s doing great. Anyway, you know, plants don’t really care for their sprouts. That’s what we have gardeners for. You’re a great gardener, so just, you know carry on!”
“I do love veggies, you know this,” I tell him. “But truthfully, Shea? I never thought that I would be a mother to a life form in the vegetable kingdom.”
“Do you know why I’m smiling?” he asks. “It’s so artistic, like a wish come true. I have to confess, back in college, I always dreamed of you caring for a little sprout of our own.”
That night, while Marigold is upstairs doing her homework, before bed, I might add, like we agreed, Shea, Bobobo, and I spend time together in the front room.
“Did you really dream of this?” I ask Shea.
“In my youth, yes,” he says. “Didn’t you?”
“I never knew what to dream,” I tell him. “I was confused and clueless. I was very much in love with you, and you were my first best friend in college, but I couldn’t understand your feelings for me. I felt it best just to go along with whatever happened.”
“I remember you used to ask me what plants thought of marriage. Do you remember that? I gathered that being faithful was important to you. You know it doesn’t work like that for plants. I was just so afraid of disappointing you. I couldn’t stand that I might break your heart and smash our friendship. But I dreamed of this! Of course, neither of us had white hair and laugh lines in my dream, but it still feels miraculous to me that it’s come to pass.”
Funny, how I feel so comfortable with him, even after all these years. It’s not the same type of love that I feel for Dante, which is a love that feels like destiny. This feels more like being with kin, or maybe the way I feel so at home in the forest, among the ferns and trees.
“Your daughter is amazing,” he says. “So smart! I guess she’ll be heading off to college!”
“She’s just a freshman in high school,” I tell him. “We still have a few more years at home.”
“Let me know when you’re starting to fill out applications,” he says. “I know a few of the deans there. I can pull some strings.”
Early the next morning, he’s out raking leaves. Oh, this brings back memories!
“D0 you remember our squirrel friend?” I ask him.
“eeeIIshiiiiimaaaaiiioh?” he says. “Of course I do! You know, his great grand kits are still playing outside our old dorm!”
“Look at all these leaves,” Marigold says as she comes home from school. “Did you rake these?”
And then she tosses them all up into the air, and Shea and I laugh.
We feel like family, Shea, Marigold, Bobobo and I. What if I had let myself dream, back in those long ago days. If I had, then this would have been my dream, too.