when silhouettes and stars accompany my nocturnal weeding, watering, or lately, covering delicate trees and plants against the frost. I retreat outside to think without the Matrix like miasma of testosterone lurking right outside my office door and bouncing off every wall in every room. A boombox of sorts.
My sons don’t follow me either like they tend to do indoors, because there’s no WiFi in the garden.
It’s just me, my thoughts, and the stillness of the garden where there’s a wide berth for rehashing, considering, regretting, and letting go of the bits and pieces of my day.
When I caught myself talking out loud to my mother and grandmothers in the moonlight as if they were sitting at a table, drinking coffee and lighting a cigarette, in a corner of my garden, I froze.
A long ago memory of Nana Herminia swooped me up. I was still in elementary school.
My paternal grandparents lived next door to us. From my bedroom window, I had an eagle’s eye view of her garden where during the day, she wore a pith helmet to guard against the desert sun and a cigarette dangled from her lips as she tended to baby roses and olive trees.
Late one night, on my way back from the bathroom, I looked out my window and spotted a teensy tiny light. A speck of a glow. It moved. It stopped. It moved. It became brighter. Lightning bugs? A fairy? A prowler?
As my eyes became accustomed to the dark, I recognized the orange glow was attached to my grandmother. I carefully opened the window and heard the water gurgling from the water hose as I followed her.
When my older sister woke up, startled, I explained in an apologetic whisper that Nana Herminia was out in her garden watering.
“You’re dreaming. Go back to bed.”
“I swear, she’s out there.”
“Then she’s crazy. Go back to bed.”
Nope, she wasn’t crazy at all.