Part 4: Your lover texts to say they’ll be home late. You wait, taking careful breaths. Every time you blink, you picture them with a different expression: their mouths forming a “no,” their lips curling with impatience. You hope you can beg for another chance without seeming too hopeless.
You wish it was like those days at the beginning. One of the best things about learning to care about someone is witnessing the gradual emergence of their beauty. You notice how their cheeks fluctuate into a smile, into a laugh. You still see the shape of their shoulders when you close your eyes. In the stretch of falling in love, they become both known and new to you, like a surfacing, like a season of giving.
You never thought of it as passion, but you were never in this for a fling. When someone falls in love with you at your best, will they see your worst as an impasse? Can they stay faithful through their nagging whispers of doubt? Can they separate you from your problems? Everyone has issues, man. They still deserve love.
And your mistakes are big, numerous, and memorable. Everyone else was established and you were still changing your major: will it be fishing, will it be hydro, will it be rubber boot entrepreneurship? Then all those sellers of snake oil sold you on low expectations. They told you to forget yourself and focus on playing catch-up. You began caring about what the neighbours thought and you recognize this mindset way too well now. So do they.
When your lover returns, you show them the seed packets and the plan for the garden. You explain how you know it is nothing yet, but you are open to new things. You know something has to change. You make sure to sit still and listen. When you hear compromise, you say yes. When you hear hard workand commitment, you say yes. You maintain eye contact. You nod as calmly as you can. You feel confident your composure is on par, ignoring the sinking of your fingernails into the bog of fear in your palms.
THE SOUND OF POST-OIL
PhD student Emily Doyle takes us into her garden as she talks about the beautiful potential gardens have to make us healthier, happier, and more food secure in Newfoundland and Labrador.
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