Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The Compact Disappointment by Jessica Thompson


A cactus can only be one of two things: alive or dead.
I cannot tell which it is. Sitting there on my window sill like a stump of round carpet peeping1
out of the plastic brown pottle, nestled deep in it’s bed of lose dirt chips, quiet and sad. I
feed it dutifully every few weeks, at least four drops of water. Regardless, it remains as
grey as a cloud.
“Are you okay little cacti?”
Perhaps you had prickles once but I can’t feel any now- your as soft as a dolls thumb.
I’m sure you had a coat of stubble when I received you... when does a cactus lose it’s
prickles?
Poor two dollar plant. Turns out you can put a price on love. Dime a dozen. I tried to see
the value in you, but to no avail, your just a stump on a sill. The least you could have done
was sprout a flower. Even the tiniest wink of a bud, any colour, I would never mind. Pink or
blue or green or yellow, even though I never liked yellow- it was always such an ill colour,
I’d appreciate it because it would be something alive and delicate to be treasured.
But you are a cactus and I cannot tell if you are alive or dead so the symbols of resilience
and survival are lost on me. He could have given me anything else- some roses from my
own garden, white as dove heads, but no. The roses outside are to be watched wistfully
and the cactus inside is to be ignored uncomfortably.
It is what it is.

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