Liv bought me a “Money Tree” for my 26th birthday. There’s nothing particularly special about a money tree. It’s just a small tree, or plant I guess, in a pot. But it was a thoughtful gift and a different gift and I knew Liv was thinking of me when she saw it. I loved that.
That night we made salmon burgers and she stayed over. A month later she was gone, taken to some hipster with a nose ring and long hair. But that story goes into a whole other world and not one I care to unfold. Frankly, it’s really (thank God) none of my business so I suppose we’ll just press on.
After she left, the money tree sat in my room atop a pile of unread comics for several weeks before I finally moved it to a shelf near my window. As those first days passed I thought of throwing it in the trash. What use is this now, I thought. Throw it away and be done with it.
But I kept it on the shelf for months and months, watering it from time to time. Most of the days I would just forget to water it and it wouldn’t be until a small pile of browning leaves collected next to my desk that I would remember again. I kept a mason jar next to my computer - one I would frequently enjoy whiskey out of – and I would fill that with water from my bathroom to keep the plant sated.
There was a night in September when I was drunk, sauced more than usual, and the thought came to me that I should water the plant. It had to have been, what, a week or two since I last did. The branches of the tree changed from strong and straight to droopy, almost sad. Maybe it was time to get rid of it, I thought. Time to wither away, you poor tree. It was only ever a reminder of what was. Time to go. Instead, I watered the plant. Afterwards, after the soil was sopped and the water came to the rim of the pot, I poured a shot of whiskey into the pot and clinked my glass against the ceramic and drank until the sun came up.
Slowly the plant began its recovery. Its branches seemed to strengthen. The leaves returned and doubled and were green and alive, though it never grew larger than it was the first day Liv gave it to me. There were hiccups, though, just like in every recovery – weeks when the plant seemed to fade back away. But it always seemed to return back to where it started.
It’s been almost a year now. The money tree still sits at my window, its leaves extended towards the sunlight. Sometimes I’ll rotate the pot, so that each side gets proper light, so that the plant can grow on all sides. In all ways. But I think maybe it’s time I take it out of the room and plant it someplace outside. Someplace where maybe it can flourish and be alive and green and under the sun where it belongs.
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