“Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.”
There were lots of things that came to mind when I saw the topic for today’s Writing 101 post – Loss. I have had my fair share of losses in my life. Thankfully I came across the sentence that said it didn’t have to be a depressing post, because today I am not in the mood to write about such sadness.
So, today I will write about a loss that I haven’t quite reconciled yet. When I was in grade school, my brother and I both got a cactus for Easter (I think it was on Easter, but I could be making that part up). I was so excited about that two-inch prickly little plant that didn’t require much care or water. I displayed it on my cluttered dresser in my bedroom, and whenever possible, I made it a point to parade my friends up to my room to see it.
My elation grew out of control the day I found out I could bring it to school for Show and Tell. Surely nobody else would have such an exotic item. I would be the envy of the entire class. I can’t recall exactly how I got the cactus to school; I believe it involved a box and a car ride instead of the usual walk up the mile long path to my elementary school. I do know it arrived intact.
In retrospect, I doubt that my classmates were as enamored as I was with the prickly green stump, but my pride shielded me from that fact.
The cactus stayed on the windowsill in the classroom for the remainder of the school year. All I remember now is that final walk home on the last day of school. In the days before backpacks, we had to hand carry all of our loose papers and school supplies. The cactus, now withered and bone dry, was put into an old shoebox without anything to buffer it from the jar of my feet hitting the side-walk during what seemed like a ten mile journey home.
By the time I made it home, the cactus had broken loose from its little pot and the scant amount of dirt around it. I was too ashamed to show my mom what I had done, feeling it was some how my fault, so I hid the box with the cactus in my room until it finally shriveled away to nothing but a brown mass.
The death of my cactus was one of those trivial losses in life that add up over time. You know, the ones that are founded in regrets; if only I had taken better care of it, if only I would have gotten a ride home that day, if only I had kept it safe at home like my brother’s, if only I had walked a little slower…who knows how big that cactus would be today.