When I was little, I had this houseplant that sat on a shelf in my house above the mantlepiece. It was dark green with these huge elephant-ears that spread across the marble, like legs.

I was right near obsessed with that Ficus. I’d sit there just about any time I got looking at it – the waxy fiddle leaves and little veiny webs that weaved around inside them.

And you know I wouldn’t admit it now, but I even talked to the damn thing. Guess I didn’t have many friends, so it made sense at the time. Sad, I know. I thought it was a goddamn being or something. And you know, my biggest fear wasn’t even something happening to my sister, or even my mum anymore. It was psychological paranoia of that Ficus losing a leaf, or getting some fungus, or dying from something else. I guess that was me projecting trauma or something from my dad getting run over by a truck right in front of me. Sorry to be gruesome and all.

So then when my granddad died from a heartattack I guess I kept that thing alive the best I goddamn could cos it seemed like everyone was dying no matter what I thought. At least the bloody plant was something I could control myself, you know?

Well, that’s what I thought, anyway. Pretty funny cos the next year it got this mold disease they get from overwatering and I had to throw it out.

I still think about that plant, from time to time. How I’d wipe the dust off, spray it with water to, and I quote my-loser-self, “mimic the natural habitat of the moist African jungle”.

Course, a houseplant wouldn’t know the difference. My mum always thought it was sweet, but she always kinda looked sad when I talked about it. God knows – people get real sentimental about the weirdest things.

[work of fiction]

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