CJ, I’m glad you picked up. I’ll keep this short.
You are the most selfish, thoughtless, lazy, murderous, backstabbing person I’ve ever had the displeasure of knowing in my 38 years of life. I just got home, and every single one of my beautiful ferns I asked you to water is dead. All 45 of them. Rotting in their pots.
The thing about ferns, CJ, is that they’re supposed to be alive. Do you remember the water cycle from middle school? It rains, the plants absorb that water from the soil, and then excess water evaporates from the leaves and the cycle begins once more. Well, for indoor nonflowering vascular plants – like my late ferns – you have to be the Rainmaker. You have to play God, and you, CJ, single-handedly caused a Biblical level drought on these poor, helpless ferns. Coniferous 2:17: Thou hath ravaged my ferns, and now thou art no longer invited to my bowling alley birthday party.
When I left you a voicemail asking if you could watch my ferns, and you never got back to me, I assumed your silence meant you had no questions about the intensive two-week care regimen I’d detailed. Well, apparently you had lots of questions. Given the carnage in the apartment, it’s as if you never listened to my voicemail, and spent the past two weeks in blissful ignorance, never knowing the arduous responsibility I had thrust upon you.
I took a risk on you. Rick said you house-sat for him last year and Rick loves his house more than his wife and children, so I figured if he let you in his house, I could let you near my ferns. No, no, stop. I don’t want to hear about how you “never check your voicemail” and had “no idea you were supposed to do this for me.” Save your excuses.
I look around this apartment filled with stinking, decaying plant matter, and now, I’m not even really sure who I am anymore. What do I do with my bathroom hand towel embroidered with “time flies when you’re having fern?” Or my bumper sticker that reads: “My fern is better equipped to survive in a damp, dark environment than your honors student.” And what of my tattoo? Do you know how painful it will be to remove the words “ferns of a feather flock together” from my lower back? (Emotionally speaking.)
I see you didn’t even open the new bottle of fertilizer spray I left on the coffee table – right next to the $40 in Doordash gift cards I left you as payment for your two weeks of service. I guess you didn’t touch those either. I know it wasn’t much, but it’s what I had to offer. I cannot stress enough how difficult it is to raise a family of 45 highly sensitive ferns on a Southwest flight attendant’s salary.
Do you want to know about my favorite fern that you killed? His name was Timothy. He liked the sun, which most ferns don’t, but he tolerated sun better than any fern I’d ever known. Then Augustus, my bravest fern; I wonder if he was the first to go – showing the others it was ok to move on. And what about Stephanie, my youngest fern? Did you sing to her? Did you sing to her as she lay dying? Dying in the very dirt she’d soon be buried in?
Did you just… did you… I know you did not just suggest to me that I reuse her pot for a new fern. Should I just dig up my grandmother and reuse her coffin while I’m at it?
You know what, at this point, I don’t even know what else to say to you. I think the grieving process just needs to begin. They say the first step is denial. I know my ferns are dead. Check. The second step is anger. I will live in this step for eternity.
Anyways, that’s all I had to say about the ferns. Now how did my dog do while I was gone? He hasn’t come to greet me yet.
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Madeline is a writer based in New York with her collie, Oskar.