Meet Maxine and Helga.
Much to my dismay, they arrived at Casa Bella three weeks ago.
I say dismay, because I’ve never been a plant person.
It’s not that I don’t like plants.
It’s simply that I don’t have the green thumb that makes plants thrive.
The good thing is, I recognize this, and in doing so, I prevent a lot of houseplants from meeting an early demise.
The Significant Other, however, is the opposite.
He doesn’t admit that he has a “black” thumb and continues to bring plants home, convinced he has the magic plant touch.
As a result, a lot of innocent victims are sacrificed.
A couple of weeks ago, I shuddered when I saw him arrive bearing gifts in the form of two tiny house plants.
Noticing my reaction, he said, “What? Are you going to kill these too?”
“Am I going to kill them? Isn’t that what you do?”
“Absolutely not. Contrary to you, I have a green thumb.”
“Really? Is that the reason we’ve had to call the plant coroner twelve times in the past year?”
“You should channel that green-eyed monster into your thumb. Maybe then bringing these little guys home would be a happy event.”
“Maybe those little guys would be happier if you left them at the garden shop.”
“Your sarcasm is improving, Bella, but why don’t you save your strength and use it to care for our new housemates?”
“Not me. You brought them home. You take care of them.”
“Do you not see yourself capable of keeping them alive?”
And that’s all it took.
He knew me well.
His challenge was enough to make me reply, “Oh give me the damn things. I’ll show you!”
Fast forward three weeks and the plant babies, christened Maxine and Helga, are still alive.
Have I been a diligent parent and watered them? No.
Have I given them plant fertilizer and trimmed their dead leaves? No.
Have I repotted them and placed them in a prettier pot? No.
Are they still alive? Absolutely.
How can this phenomenon be explained?
I figured out the answer to that question today.
The Son stepped out with Roxy and as I set the table, I did something I do often: I talked to myself.
It wasn’t really talking, since all I was doing was rattling off items I had to buy at the supermarket.
Yet, as I called out flour, sugar, salt, I could’ve sworn I saw Maxine’s leaves move.
Intrigued, I came closer.
I saw how green her leaves were and how little Helga stood alert in her pot.
As I peered closer, I noticed Helga had sprouted new baby leaves.
Was it possible that these plants, which I didn’t remember having watered in the last week, were being kept alive by the sound of my voice?
Was all my self talk helping these ladies grow?
Suddenly, I remembered the many times I had seen my mom talking to her plants and thought she was insane.
Not ready to admit I had turned into my mother, I dismissed the thought.
Yet, what could have kept them from becoming corpses in the past few weeks?
The Son had been busy with midterms, the Significant Other had been away on two business trips, and Roxy, well, she didn’t reach the kitchen faucet.
I seriously doubted that Dennis, the poltergeist, had developed the ability to apparate and helped himself to a watering can.
Yes, hearing me talk day after day had kept these ladies alive.
Who would have thought.
Of course, it’s just a theory.
However, regardless of what has kept them alive, nothing’s going to stop me from greeting the Significant Other this afternoon with three words: “In your face!”
Yes, ladies, winning a challenge has that effect on me.
So today, in the words of James Brown, I feel good!