Tiny Story #22: The Jade Plant

Watering the plants was worse than any chore--save moving the lawn. Whenever my parents left town it was my job to water their plants. All 25 of them. Even though I had a black thumb. I've kept two cats and a dog alive for years but never a plant.

It surprised me when I agreed to take home an old, beautifully groomed jade plant that I admired at a friend's house. I kept that thing alive for the five years I lived in Colorado. It survived five moves and a kidnapping attempt. When I moved to New York I insisted on taking it with me. For two weeks. In the car. With the dog. And the boyfriend. And an overstuffed trunk. Having too much stuff to lug into whatever hotel we were staying in, I'd cover it with a blanket as it weathered near zero temperatures across South Dakota, Chicago and on into New York.

A week after we arrived the normally robust leaves withered. Six weeks later, I told my boyfriend I thought the plant was dead. His response? Pretty sure it's been dead for a while.

I knew it was dead. And yet.

I wasn't ready to believe it was over. My sister always told me I was an ├╝ber resilient optimist. That when knocked down, I'd get up over and over again. Even when I probably shouldn't. I left the plant sitting on the window sill by desk. For weeks. One day I saw something green in dirt. A bright green shoot.

It's alive! See. I told you! I said to my boyfriend.

A year later it's not anywhere as lovely or as big as its former life but it's alive, growing and healthy. A reminder that sometimes, even after a long dormancy, life can emerge again.