She didn’t appreciate it when her friends used the word proxy. She much preferred substitute, and at least surrogate sounds like something human. Proxy made her feel like a small pawn in a government conspiracy or a unit to be measured in reference to a standard locked in a safe in France. She cared little for this word. But her intellectual friends loved to use it when talking about how she managed to replace her dead mother’s plant.

All she’s accomplished in truth is revive her mother in proxy, or, a patient of mine once responded to trauma in a similar fashion however instead of houseplants he admitted to stealing dogs.

I love it though, was her hermetic response which she would chant behind her still and zen-like smile.

It’s not healthy, Angela. I love it though.

This is going to cost you so much in therapy. I love it though.

Why don’t you pick up an out-door hobby instead of hoarding plants? I love it though.

Even now as she waits in line with a cart of fertilizer she wears that fortified smile. Brunch and birthdays parties are usually held elsewhere. With her apartment looking like a warehouse for a nursery that specializes in foliage from the Amazon, guests quickly find they have few options to sit and even fewer to set their drinks on.

You would think that a place that green would smell like a Rocky-mountain spring, but it’s just so damn humid I can’t shake my instinct to get the hell out of there. It gives me the creeps. I’ve lost so many pairs of shoes at Angela’s, it’s not even funny. She lives off her inheritance, right? Can’t she at least afford a bigger place in the city?

She owns a snake, I’m sure of it.

When she got home, she dropped the bag of fertilizer by the door. The bag collapsed under its own weight. Then she walked into the kitchen and boiled water in her favorite yellow tea pot; she took a seat and began to cry.

I write about the desert, American culture and the occasional essay. Floating Eyeball. El Paso / Chicago.

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