Magical realism assignment: garden prompt

In the inter­ests of push­ing myself out of my com­fort zone, I recent­ly fin­ished a class in mag­i­cal real­ism. It was dras­ti­cal­ly dif­fer­ent from any­thing I’ve done (or even read, real­ly) before, and the results were, well, inter­est­ing. The final assign­ment was this: “For this assign­ment, take the notion of a gar­den (well tend­ed or neglect­ed, your choice) and play with its real­i­ties. Find the most mun­dane aspects of it and ele­vate them to mag­i­cal heights. Take the mir­a­cle of a seed and turn it into some­thing ordi­nary and bland. Jux­ta­pose ideas to rebel against expec­ta­tion. A gar­den, after all, is not what you see above the sur­face, but what builds it from beneath.” And here’s what I came up with:

Inva­sive Species

She doesn’t even know I’m here, in her beau­ti­ful gar­den. But I’ve been hid­ing in plain sight for years. At first, she could not have noticed, no mat­ter how hard she tried, how care­ful­ly she tend­ed her plants and flow­ers, turn­ing the soil and pulling weeds. I once was but a seed, deep under the ground, waiting.

Final­ly, the time was right. I split my shell silent­ly, send­ing my ten­drils out into the gar­den, urg­ing them to take root wher­ev­er they would. I knew she would not see me then, either. She loved her gar­den, but she cared for it spo­rad­i­cal­ly at best. Once a year she would give it a good look, fix­ing the most obvi­ous prob­lems, and mak­ing a note to watch the rest. But the rest of the time, she took its boun­ty com­plete­ly for grant­ed, play­ing with her young daugh­ter on the patio or rock­ing with her hus­band on the swing. By the time she noticed me, I was sure, it would be too late. The gar­den would be mine.

My ten­drils con­tin­ued to spread, silent thieves in the night. Some found fal­low soil, with­ered, and died. But oth­ers took root in her fer­tile ground. I could feel them wind­ing their way through the flow­ers, steal­ing their nour­ish­ment, chok­ing them out. It fed me, and I grew.

Even­tu­al­ly, feel­ing among the flow­ers, she noticed me—a small lump that did not belong there, had not been there last time she looked. Had it? I could see the recog­ni­tion on her face, the brief wave of pan­ic. I was afraid too, it was too soon, too soon. My roots were not deep enough yet. They could still be pulled if one knew how.

Denial. Best friend to all that is evil. She had looked me in the eye, and decid­ed to ignore what she knew to be true. “I am too young, too busy, to have to deal with this,” she told her­self, and she pushed my exis­tence to the back of her mind. She was not yet brave enough to face me.

“Grow, grow!” I urged the ten­drils, just begin­ning to bloom into full-grown plants in their own right. “The gar­den is almost ours.”

Any idea what I’m talk­ing about? Think it needs an end­ing, or is it bet­ter left right here?

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