Design a site like this with
Get started

Nina’s mama put her hair up in braids twisted into buns on the side of her head as she sat on her lap. She whined and wiggled. Palime used more force than necessary when putting the hairbands and clips to secure them.

“Behave and be still, you brat. After what you did to your hair yesterday, I am not letting that happen again.”

Nina’s eyes welled up with tears. The brush pulled hard against her scalp and her mother had pulled her hair around again in order to braid it, yanking her head around roughly.

“Mama, please!”

“Shut up. I wouldn’t have to do this if you just took care of yourself properly.”

Palime finished binding up the buns. Nina sniffled and wiped her eyes. Her father came into the room, angry.

“That’s no way to speak to your own flesh and blood. Not to my child.”

Your child?”

Zip immediately realized his error.

“She is just as much mine as yours.”

“I don’t see you doing her hair.” Palime snapped. “I guess that means you’re taking over now in the mornings when getting her ready?”

“Sure,” he said stiffly. He was a proud man but Nina wouldn’t fully understand it until she remembered this kind of incident later.

“And you’ll comb and cut her hair and put oil in it when she gets gum tangled up in it again? The gum you gave her?”

“If that is what’s needed.”

“No more gum.”

Her father nodded like it hurt him to admit the mistake. 

And from that time on, he did her hair in the mornings in complete and total silence. It took him longer than mama, but he was gentler too.

It didn’t forever but it continued for a month or more. Her memory of that length of time was uncertain. She would miss it later.

An indefinite amount of days later, perhaps a week or so, she was picked up from her lessons in her family’s steamcart like usual. Next to her in the seat was a golden pot containing a succulent with a bow around the stem. Nina glanced at it, didn’t give it much of a second thought then leafed through her textbook to continued reading the chapter she hadn’t been able to finish in class.

Her parents whispered to each other. Palime sounded vaguely disappointed.

Zip verbally prodded her. “Did you notice anything different in the steamcart?”

“Uh… the plant? Yeah, I saw it.” 

She sounded disinterested, her attention still on the words in front of her. Reading was difficult for her and she had to sound each one out in her mind. It wouldn’t come naturally for a long time yet.

Nins lowered her book as realization gradually set in.

“Is it for me?!” she squealed in glee. She clapped and stood up to pick it up and look it over.

Her mother looked intensely relieved: “Yep! All yours. Your first plant.”

“Hopefully the start of many more.”

Nina examined it carefully, inspecting from every angle. “What kind is it?”

“It’s called a jade plant.”

“It’s cute.”

Her mother smiled. “I hoped you would like it.”

Proud of her plant, she brought it to show-and-tell the next day. She forgot it there, where it then stayed abandoned in the hallway for the next week, shriveled and died. No one moved it.

Nina rediscovered it and brought it home later in tears. The stems and leaves had closed up into brown tubes. Only a few stray leaves clung limply on.

“Mama! Mama, something ate my plant and it looks bad!” The rabbit had tears flowing freely down her face.

Palime picked up the clay pot and looked over the dead plant. She looked back at her daughter’s face and knelt down to look her in the eyes. Her voice was gentle. “Did you remember to water it?”

Nina’s eyes were large and blank. “Water it?”

Zip pitched in: “All living things need water.”

Nina’s face screwed up in concentration.

“What does that mean?”

“It is dying.”


Palime and Zip shared an uncomfortable glance. They mouthed words at each other, shook their heads and pointed. The silent competition ended in Zip shrugging and taking the pot. He took it from Nina.

“Death is just a part of life. It is the end of it. We might bring the plant back to grow more, we might not. If it dies, it doesn’t grow anymore. If not, it breaks down and becomes dirt for the next plant to grow.”

“So it won’t grow anymore?”

“Maybe, maybe not. It needs water and light and it might still grow again. We will have to try that then wait and see.”


Published by Watercolorheart

Artist, animator, painter, writer, aspiring musician. Working on short stories for an animated series called Sparse. Pen name Lyn Mitre.

%d bloggers like this: