a soul apart (excerpt)

Mia was planting yams in the garden. Her hands touched the rich dark soil. It was cool and slightly moist. She ran her fingers through it then scooped out a handful. A worm hung off the side, wiggling its way back to the ground. It fell from her soil filled hand to the ground and disappeared quickly into the darkness that was its existence. What was it like to be a worm? she thought. What was it like to live with soil all around you, up against your flesh day in and day out, rarely if ever needing sunlight? It was hard for Mia to imagine. But a sentient worm would probably wonder the same about humans. How do they live, it might imagine, day in and day out, surrounded by air and light and sun, with no soil to envelop their bodies, nothing comfortably ensconcing them, protecting them. Maybe human existence to a worm is frightening and lacking something humans cannot begin to imagine. Mia picked up one of the yams, roots sprouting from the sides, and placed it in the hole she’d dug. She used the dirt she’d scooped up and packed it on top of the yam. A large green watering can sat to her left. She picked it up and sprinkled water over the newly planted yam. The water soaked into the soil quickly, disappearing as though no water had touched the spot. Mia scooted to her left and began to dig another hole, and then another, until ten holes were prepped for the seeds that would soon be planted within them. She reached into right pocket and removed several packets. The seeds moved inside the paper packets. She lay each one on the ground, one in front of each hole. Carrots, tomatoes, peas, scallion, thyme, oregano, squash, broccoli, spinach and lettuce. One by one she tore open the packets and sprinkled a few seeds into each respective hole. She tucked the packets with remaining seeds back into her pocket and proceeded to cover the holes. In her left pocket she took out plastic bags with seeds, each marked with what they were. She walked to the other side of her garden and knelt down to dig three more holes. In the first two holes she placed apple seeds and orange seeds. In the last hole she planted red rose seeds, which when bloomed, would be used for salads.

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Mia diligently cared for her garden. She weeded it and watered it, ensuring that everything she grew would grow in love and thereby carry love within it when eaten. She cared for everything in this way, especially Ziza. Ziza was like her garden, rich and ready to produce nourishment for all who were there to receive it. Mia walked to her fig tree and sat beneath it, watching the horizon as the sun went down. She thought about the past and how it was preparing her for the future. She wondered what her ultimate role would be. Yes, she gave birth to Ziza, but she felt there was still more for her to do. A ripe fig fell from the tree. She picked it up and held it in her hand, examining its contours. It was imperfect. She then tasted it. It was perfect. Mia begin to consider the notion of perfection. What was it? What did it really mean. She tasted a fruit that was ripe and filled with flavor that burst over her tongue, yet, it looked ugly and homely, as though it were not worth eating. Yet something in her told her to take a chance, bite it, don’t judge it by how it looked.

She sat and pondered the notion of perfection and wondered how that would one day play into her notions of life in the future. What would this small revelation do for her? Would it help her? Would it save or destroy her?

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