I must warn you. This is a cautionary tale of belief; of wishing for things and calling out for help to an uncaring universe.
2009 was a year that I’d like to forget. 2010 started off much the same way for both me and friends who are quite dear. I wanted things to change and found myself frustrated that good intentions and well-wishes only carried one so far.
As I perused the shelves of indoor plants at Home Depot, a thought crossed my mind that I could try to wield the power to change fortune. To beg for release from horrid fates yet to befall.
She was beautiful as she sat in her green pot on a top shelf. Twisted carefully at delicate angles with little leaves that seemed to wave hello. At almost six feet tall I can usually reach anything, yet I had to stand on the tips of my toes to pull her down. A sister plant in a burgundy pot accompanied us through the checkout line and home.
She stood strong in the window, watered and ready to meet her new owner. I targeted this plant for Neil after a conversation at Boskone. The question that started this very unfortunate series of events went something like this:
“Out of every story that you’ve published for Clarkesworld, in which one would you call home?”
His answer — Nora Jemisin’s, “Non-zero Probabilities”.
A story where belief in things was a game changer. Whispered prayers and rituals around sentimental trinkets would protect from harm. If you wished hard enough to get well from disease, you would. Playing upon the theme of that particular universe, the gift was half gag and half sincerity. I wanted to believe.
Two days after I brought Lucky home, she showed me where I could shove those optimistic thoughts. As I packed for LunaCon, setting aside the plant for travel, I ran downstairs to get clothes from the dryer. It was then I tripped over my own feet, down the stairs and broke my ankle. No LunaCon.
I missed PAX East as well. I joked with Neil that the plant wasn’t working. Six months passed in the blink of an eye and despite my gross inattention, Lucky survived. She grew. She waited patiently. Readercon was coming.
I placed her in the back seat of the CR-V with my bag and left for Massachusetts. As I rounded the corner of an on-ramp, she fell. Spilled her rocks all over the back seat and onto the floor. I think I actually heard her cry out. Pulling off to the side, I gathered as many of the small stones that I could and re-potted her. She came up front with me then, strapped into the seat. I played her music, she seemed okay. Perhaps it was the universe’s attempt at balancing the scales.
Now, I feel guilty for giving Lucky to Neil. I hope she lives. I hope she finally knows what she’s doing. Maybe in the beginning, I didn’t believe in her enough to work.
Hopefully, he will.
P.S. Burgundy says hi.