The Man Who Took His Plants Out For A Walk

Raunaq Bahl
Nov 27, 2018 · 4 min read

He gently opens his eyes. Upon sniffing, the earthy and barren scent of his room sends his olfactory senses into an overdrive. He loved waking up. His eyes absorb the myriad shades of green that his room was always engulfed in, and he is used to the experience of a subtle endorphin rush as he rises from his bed and greets his plants which rest silently at nearly every point in the room — muddy windowsills, top of the mahogany bookshelf, beside his emerald reading lamp, on his study desk, inside his dusty wardobe, below his television stand and every other empty space imaginable. Plants of all sorts occupy the room — tall-potted, heavy-potted, perennial, medicinal, lush, herbaceous, exotic, tropical, simply green.

His neighbour, an old lady, always catches sight of the man’s room whilst drinking her morning tea from a white Maltese balcony. She watches him water all of his plants and wave them goodbye as he leaves hurriedly for work. She observes the empty room pensively for some more time before moving on with her day. The plants lay tacit where they are, waiting patiently for their caretaker to return.

He thinks about them on his commute to work. The thought of them sticks with him at all times, and occasionally pierces his lonely heart when he misses them during his solitary cigarette break. The most exciting part of the day is when he steps into the senile elevator of the antiquated building, and waits. Fighting against the strange passage of time, he waits to arrive in front of his maroon door again. His hands always develop a slight tremble while unlocking it and when he steps in, he is somewhere else. The inexplicable disconnection from reality was home for him.

He eats his dinner and washes his dishes to the background noise of ambient laughter from a sitcom currently airing on television. For a change, he thinks for a while in complete silence. After preparing a mental to-do list he sweeps his gaze through the room, rather poignantly, and then turns the light off.

After his beloved morning ritual, he heads down to the plant nursery. Suppressing the fitting urge to buy more plants, he heads to the accessories section and purchases the largest plant cart available. As he pushes the empty cart down the road, joy bubbles up within him like acid. He walks faster.

Upon reaching his home, he slips his favourite folk vinyl on the record player and starts loading the cart. After an earnest session of juggling pots here and there, he pockets his little journal, lights up a cigarette and observes his room, now devoid of everything green and lush. The old lady watches the whole act unfold and notices the room, looking and feeling different altogether. It smelled of lingering nicotine, sunlight and emptiness this time. He sets off.

Outside, what people see is nothing extraordinary: just a huge, heavy plant cart being pushed by a middle-aged man, probably a gardener. The light bustle of the city square is also typical of a Saturday morning in November. He walks and his plants roll along with him, feeling the vibratory trill of the cart as it traverses through the cobblestone street.

The sight of a small, old coffee shop tempts the man to write about how grateful he is for such a splendid day. He slowly halts the cart and parks it beside a rusty-green lampost. Upon entering, the overwhelming scent of fresh coffee puts him in an even better, uplifting mood. He orders a long black and sits down to write. “Wouldn’t take too long”, he mumbles and pulls out his journal. He begins writing and loses the sense of time. He goes on writing lovely things about his plants, about the day, about the coffee shop and about himself without the sense of progression of time.

He finally lifts his head up from ink and paper to see his coffee, sitting untouched on the pine table. He squints through the window again. He experiences something which he has never experienced before. It is an unusual pang, like his mind had stabbed itself. He gets up slowly, his legs jittery and twists the doorknob with his quavering hands. The cart was no longer there.

He forces himself to process his surroundings, but he cannot. A whirlpool of emotions blend within him to form one: numbness. Without looking for what he had just lost, he walks back home.

His journal and his now-cold long black stay frozen in time inside the coffee shop.

Abyss of the Blues

The profundity of reality, one write-up at a time.

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