While the stories are linked, each is a standalone. However, if you’ve missed any and want to read them, you can catch up here.
Lucky or Not
When I was little, I used to get yarrow and Queen Anne’s Lace mixed up. I don’t anymore.
Today I meet a prospective boss, Willow Lark. “Yes, that’s the name I was born with,” she says. “Heaven help me. I’m more of a Joan kind of person.”
She’s wearing mom-jeans and a flannel shirt over a Nirvana t-shirt. Her short graying hair is curly around her face. She doesn’t give off Willow Lark vibes.
She walks into my yard, taking note of the landscaping and eyes me severely. “You’ve done all this in what, three weeks, a month?”
I nod, looking around the yard, imagining how someone like her might see it. I like it. It fits me. There are pockets of cool, electric colors and lots of purple. I don’t think I’ve ever met a purple flower I didn’t love. On the side yard, I’ve begun to dig for a small pond. Somewhere for frogs to play.
“Imaginative use of color,” she says. “I like the yellow yarrow with the purple. Very nice. But, yeah, sorry. I can’t hire you.”
I blink. Well, that was sudden, off-the-cuff, weird.
“The people who hire me don’t want a lot of color. They want pristine landscapes. The more boring the better.”
I want to say: “I can do boring,” but do I really want to? I can see the world of spreading evergreens with maybe a single lantana in the mix. Cactus. White gravel. I almost shiver at the idea. What kind of day-to-day job would that be? One I’d hate.
“I appreciate your taking the time out to see my garden,” I say, feeling lame.
She shrugs. “Listen, I will recommend you to people who would like this kind of thing. But, you know, people who like this kind of thing are already doing it themselves, so I don’t know if you’ll find much money in it.”
She starts to turn away, but her eyes return to the yarrow. “You know, yarrow is the flower of everlasting love,” she says, smiling. “When Russ called me to talk about you, I thought, yep, there’s a guy who never got over his first love. I hope it works out. The yarrow is a good start.”
Watching Willow Lark return to her SUV, I am buried in mixed feelings. Her thoughts about Russ are sweet but I have to wonder if I’ve made a huge mistake. Being a nursery manager in hill country is a far cry from being a landscaper on the coast. I can almost feel my dad’s palm on the top of my head, swishing my hair around: “My daughter the dreamer.”
I feel sick. There’s no way I can stay here without a job. My savings will last another month. Maybe. If I’m careful. And, I know Russ will offer to ignore the rent on the cottage, but I can’t have that. I’m not a kid. I should be self-sufficient.
What have I done?
My phone pings. I glance at the message. It’s from Sally.
“Your song is going to be a hit!”
I sink into the sand. Can I really be so lucky?
A gentle breeze kisses me on the cheek. Maybe so.
As I began to tag, I remembered a fitting song…have you heard this?
huh…and then youtube told me there were other versions:
This is good:
Sandra? umm…err…well: Not the best IMHO
I’m a Gloria Estefan fan, but this one doesn’t seem to show her voice in the best light: