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Yesterday’s Cobwebs

A semi-fictional short story about vanity, told through the medium of an aloe vera plant

Published in
2 min readAug 17, 2020


The aloe vera plant had blossomed and withered since before we purchased the house. Her owners changed, but she remained where she was. She presided over her plant pot like a queen bee presides over her hive. She never demanded much — just a sprinkle of water every Sunday.

But that was before. Nowadays, she absorbs all that we pour on her in minutes and grows more adamant as she ages. She doesn’t let go of her older leaves and sprouts new ones. The new, fleshy leaves spread over the bird net, like a starfish.

Nobody was quite sure what caused the transformation. Was it the new spinach plant that we placed in her pot? Or was it the new seeds the flowering plant in the adjacent pot had dropped off and were now growing in hers? The queen had lifelong jealousy towards the flowering plant, whose magenta flowers she always envied.

One fine day, her leaves sulked in disgust as if to bicker and complain about something. Cobwebs. They were found dangling across the spines of the lower leaves, the leaves she refused to let go of, and her ancient roots. We couldn’t do anything about it because the queen’s sprawling leaves did not leave any room to dust off the cobwebs. When I checked on her the next day, the wind and swayed her beloved, fleshy leaves. It seemed as if she said, with a sense of renewal, “Those are yesterday’s cobwebs, my dear. See the ones that came today.”

A few days later, whispers floated around the windowsill like dandelions. The queen had died. Her genteel roots could not bear the weight of her envy, pride, and vanity, and… she fell off her throne. The rest of that day, I was pensive in thought. Was she a queen? Could be, could be not, I thought to myself. But one thing was for sure. She was just yesterday’s cobwebs.

Note: The aloe vera plant in the story does exist, sitting on a windowsill, still awaiting her fate.




Sunset Warrior; Harbinger of Doom. 9th grade student who calls India her home. I write and write about Politics, Economics, History, Literature, and Cinema :)