The garden returned each year more beautiful than the previous. It sat on a quiet corner a few blocks from me. Every year I would see the signs of pruning and preparation for spring, the glorious first blooms and explosions of colour until it all fell to ground defeated in piles of delicate petals come fall. The home was a unique time capsule for me. You could always know what time of year it was by the state of the garden.
Thing is, I’ve never seen a human being at the house. Cars park in the driveway, the yard and home are clearly maintained. It’s strange in this little corner of suburbia how alive and frighteningly vacant the house is in the same breath.
I have ideas about an old man stuck in a wheelchair inside watching me through the blinds. He sees me come by each spring and photograph and marvel at his roses. He sees me when I pinch just a little tiny piece of fresh rosemary off his hedge and roll it around on my fingers, inhaling the aroma in a sacred act. I wonder if this brings him joy. Or does it bring resentment and anger that he cannot do so as well?
I imagine him as a younger man out in the garden tending to his children. I imagine exuberant conversations with passers by – and his happiness that his work in the yard brings his neighbors such happiness. I imagine him playing peekabo between bushes with a two year old name Margarie who is walking by with her parents. I imagine him cutting a rose off a bush one ridiculously clear spring morning and handing it to the man with whom he’d spent his entire life. I imagine so many things for him. He feels like someone I know – a friend for whom time always stands still.