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Losing Her Leaves

by Selya Nimyel


November 11

The ever-so-fortunate succulent that received the last few drops of Nona’s 3-week-old water bottle sat awkwardly on the mantelpiece, in an oddly shaped tangerine vase that stood out like a sore thumb in her unornamented, dull gray living room. Although the mantel was always right around the corner, intersecting the living room and hers, Nona and the succulent rarely made eye contact. Like two exes running into each other on a night out, they kept their
heads down and shuffled past each other on each encounter. But on this fateful day, (maybe because she heard the silent cries from the dried-up leaves of her succulent, or because the plant and its flamboyant orange vase were placed conveniently by the new pack of joints she forgot she had flung up there), Nona watered the plant. She could barely get out of bed on most days or prepare a meal but today at least she watered the plant. As she lit the end of her J and inhaled the sweet gray smoke into her lungs, she found her eyes drawn to the foggy window covered in fingerprints and ambiguous bodily fluids from nights she couldn’t remember with guys and girls she would love to forget. Well, rather, her eyes were drawn to pale yellow leaves fluttering and almost floating to the ground after their departure from the Big Leaf maple tree that stood planted in their yard. Lauma, a name chosen by Nona’s grandma, in tribute to the Greek goddess of trees and nature, towered over all the houses in the neighborhood, her greatness demanding to be known and demanding to be seen. For some reason, Nona adored Lauma. Well, not ‘some’ reason. After her grandma passed away and the rigorous and emotionally laborious process of saying goodbye left her only with a huge and
heavy heart and a huge and heavy urn, she decided to sprinkle the only remnants she had of her beloved and cherished mee-maw at the base of the tree, making sure to put them deep underground where her remains would have the liberty to mingle with and nourish lauma’s roots and maybe even be granted the opportunity to join them on their journey climbing towards the heavens.

January 13

She wasn’t delusional, or ‘off her rocker’ contrary to the mumbles and scattered suspicions of the city folk. She repeated these thoughts as an assurance to herself as she sat cross-legged on the lawn crocheting the largest blanket ever known to man. This was turning out to be a more uncomfortable situation than she had first anticipated but, in her defense, she had never really tried to knit a blanket around an object before. Definitely not around one that she couldn’t wrap her arms along, or one that stretched and went on miles above her, and so this was proving to be an impossible task. Nona let out a sigh of exasperation as she watched the right end that she had just taped up a millisecond ago slide slowly off Lauma’s trunk, it moved slowly and almost purposely perhaps trying to signal defeat. However, Nona had a tendency to interpret signs well... a little differently, or, rather, she took liberty in deciding what signs should mean to her. And as she rushed inside to grab her phone to google a solution, it was obvious she decided this one meant absolutely nothing.

March 20

In the months between fall and spring, Nona had developed a lingering attachment to Lauma. This in turn contributed to her growing affection towards the once uninteresting, rough but resilient, succulent that now decorated the mantel piece. She would check in on them both before bed with the warmth and nurture of a mother tucking in her child. Something in the air felt different, and though Nona could not place her finger on what it was, the feeling nestled
deep in her chest, warm and filled with hope like the soil scattered under Lauma. And over time it felt like seeds began to germinate and sprout engulfing her entire being. She felt lighter. In caring for Lauma and Laufey (her newly decided name for her succulent) she had begun to care for herself. Or at least think kindlier of herself, and this new mindset seemed to make her day-to-day life a little bit easier and a lot more interesting. Nona would now be spotted in tiny little dresses on nights out downtown. Or making out with sometimes questionable individuals at sketchy bars on the outskirts of town. Starting conversations with random strangers and opening herself up to the possibility of new friends and affection. Nona had decided to live. And live life to the fullest. This didn’t necessarily mean she had no bad days. Au contraire! She had bad days and bad nights and bad weeks, but never ever a bad life. As Lauma blooms and
changes and goes through phases, so will she and so will you, reader. You may lose your leaves but remember, they will always come back.


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