As per my yearly moving tradition, I am procrastinating by going through old notebooks. I have a whole box of ’em. I only ever rummage through them at moments like this, never, say, when seeking inspiration or solace – but lord, it is nice to realize that Past Me is capable of making Current Me laugh.
I’ve been posting doodles on people’s Facebook walls, probably to an annoying extent. And I’ve been pestering my roommate with snippets – my list of all the dudes I made out with while “studying” in Ireland, say, or my list of ways in which confidence can be defined. (“Confidence is biking at the edge of a pier to get a better look at the fish. One-handed.” “Confidence is road head.” Her: “Huh.”) I like her, Past Me – she’s filled with most of the same anxieties as Present Me, oddly enough, although I do have the smug benefit of knowing how things will turn out, so ha ha. She has a lot of ideas for things. Not all of those ideas are good.
But the beginning of this short story about a basil plant…
The basil plant is dying, and Marge is relieved. The promise of endless basil had been, in the supermarket, tempting. And the plant had been $3.99. And she had been planning spaghetti for supper that night, and she did always feel slightly inferior when she used dried herbs in a recipe from her cookbook, which always ordered, snootily, that they be fresh.
So she’d bought it, and that night, she’d apologized profusely as she’d snipped off four leaves. “I am so sorry, little plant.”
“OUCH,” the plant had said, looking up at her, wounded. “Those were my best leaves. Now how am I supposed to photosynthesize?”
“You’ll grow more!” she said, excited by the possibilities. “Then we’ll have pizza… and lasagna… and … um… other things that require a lot of basil…”
“My name’s Steve,” the plant said, rustling its other flat green leaves into place to cover the hole. “”You mean: your recipes will require a lot of Steve.”
(And that’s all Past Me wrote. HOW DOES IT END?)