Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
2:26 am EDT
Thursday, August 13, 2020

To the plant I killed in three months

Sorry, Song of India, but life goes on—probably.

Story: Rheya Tanner

Dear Tilly,

Remember when we first met in the garden section at that Lowe’s? You flaunted your lush, slender leaves at me, vibrant with greens and yellows—the incarnation of mid-spring. Right then, I knew you were the one. 

Your little nametag called you a Song of India. It said you were low-maintenance and liked being indoors. “No way,” I thought to myself. “She just, like, gets me.” I bought a pretty blue pot to complement your cool colors, gave you a name, and whisked you away. 

You were my very first plant. So, as with many first loves, I was obsessed. I cleaned you, talked to you, and read up on what made you tick. I started to think I had a natural green thumb and never knew it. I’d imagine that by this time next year, I’d have a house brimming with foliage. And every day, after I got home from work, I’d run my fingers through those leafy leaves and tell you how proud I was to have you. I swore to keep you happy and healthy, and was so excited to watch you grow.

That was August. Now it’s December, and you’re dead. So, so dead. That blue pot sits empty on my windowsill now, a cruel reminder of just how dead you are.

What happened, Tilly? Did I water you too much? Not enough? Was it the sunlight? The humidity? It hurt my heart to watch your springtime charm wither into brittle brownness, without knowing what was wrong.

I’m a murderer. I’m directly responsible for the death of a living thing. I let you down. I’m deeply sorry for that—and marginally concerned for my ability to care for other living things. 

But you know what? You taught me something. You exposed me to the joys and responsibilities of having a beautiful plant in my home. More importantly, you brought a touch of whimsy and positivity into my life when I really needed it. You’ll never know how much you meant to me, especially considering you have neither a brain nor sentience, and also you’re dead.

I won’t give up. I’ll make mistakes with other plants. You probably won’t be my last negligent herbicide (condolences to the future Billy or Milly). But you won’t be my last love, either.

Thank you for everything.