My short story, “Good Things Will Grow,” as seen in The Elixir.
“Mommy, if I plant this in the garden, will it grow?” you ask, holding up an apple seed- the remains of your lunch.
“I don’t know,” I reply, “let’s go find out.”
We trudge out to the backyard, using your colorful plastic shovel to dig a patch of soft earth. You reverently place the seed in its shallow bed and begin to sprinkle dirt over it. Soon the deed is done.
“When will it become a tree?” you ask, sitting there impatiently. Your hands, with their brown-tinged fingertips, are limp at your side.
“When it’s ready,” I say, snatching you up into my arms, dirt and all.
– – –
You cry and moan because you want a toy at the grocery store, but it’s too expensive and you don’t deserve it and I’m getting more embarrassed by the minute and frankly I’m too tired to deal with you. So we leave.
I try to explain in the car that money doesn’t grow on trees, but you just moan on.
Later, you ask, “Mommy, if I plant this in the garden, will it grow?” It’s a nickel from the piggy bank (the one dressed like a reindeer).
“I don’t know. Let’s go find out,” I say, ready to make amends.
Once again, we head out to the backyard and begin the process of digging up a suitable patch of earth.
– – –
A sapling has begun to sprout and you patrol it proudly, observing its minute progress. When we invite the neighbors over, all you can say is, “Did you see my tree? It’s going to grow money apples.”
You are now so convinced that planting your wishes works, you fold up your Christmas list and bury it too. “What about Santa?” I ask. To which you reply, “He’s busy. And my garden can get it to me by Thanksgiving.”
Your father and I have to dig the list up later and, come Christmas, you are starting to lose faith.
But you had another wish we didn’t know about, and when we told you we were expecting a new addition to the family, it restored your faith.
“Maybe the garden is magic,” your father whispers in my ear, holding me close, watching you traipse around the backyard crowing about your success.