Pretending is something I’ve gotten good at doing. Pretending I don’t know what’s behind her eyes, when in fact I do, and she knows I know—that’s why she keeps coming back, walking slowly in the front door, hanging around for days, then checking out the garden for leaves and flowers she forgot. The things she forgot are what I place on my altar, the candle wax that dripped down the wall and the pine cones from the gutter and the blue ribbon from the closet that makes the prettiest bow when tied to my wreath.
Her voice is clear, only I don’t ask her enough questions. I just listen occasionally when she calls. The whole reason is to stay in touch. I wrote her pages and pages and slid them under her door. She responded by return mail and asked me to be on her team, to listen to her questions, help her come up with answers.
“You are asking me? You want me to talk to you?” I stammered, and she leaned back on the couch with her arm across the top and one leg slung over and nodded yes, like it was no big deal. With candles burning and orange juice, fresh squeezed, beside me, I licked the juice from my fingers. She brought oranges with her the first time. That’s when I started looking for them. The harder I looked, the fuller I became, and the juicier they were. -- The Garden Girls Letters and Journal