Irene hadn’t given houseplants much thought. When Brett asked about looking after his syngonium podophyllum while he was overseas, Irene had to think.
“That’s a big responsibility… it’s living right?”
Brett turned away from Irene and let out a humongous laugh.
“Irene, it’s an arrowhead vine - you know a houseplant silly”
“You better come in and tell me more about this vine.”
Irene didn’t like people in her flat. She preferred to conduct conversations through the wire-screen door. Brett was different. Brett had been inside her flat before. The thin walls had given the resident flats gossip the unlikely news. It was impossible to have sex and not be heard (clearly an architectural feature of the free loving 60’s). Irene and Brett’s sex romp was quickly hung out to scrutiny under the communal clothes line. And just as quickly as the dirty laundry was hung out, it was taken down and put away – for good. Irene didn’t like gossip. Brett tried a few times to get back inside Irene’s; but she kept the screen door tightly locked. Remarkably, they discussed the founding of the Jesuits, and the downfall of the baby boomers, through a mesh of wire. Brett almost made it back inside during the great discussion of the 60’s sexual revolution, but Irene changed her mind for no good reason; at least that Brett could tell. So when Irene invited him in over a houseplant, he was understandably suspicious.
“Don’t get any ideas…this is just about your plant”
“Don’t play coy Brett Evans; you know exactly what I’m saying”
“I’ve no idea what you’re referring to, Miss Irene Collier”
They both laughed and then Irene gestured Brett to sit on the couch.
Over the next hour or so, Brett outlined the responsibility of taking care of his newly acquired syngonium podophyllum.
“Must you refer to it as a syn gon ium pod o phylum, can’t you just say PLANT?”
“Whatever!” “Call it green if you like...”
Irene knew the moment she let Brett in she’d say yes to looking after green. She wasn’t sure why, she’d never had a houseplant before. But she figured; they don’t talk, they don’t need much. They just sit and keep a silent watchful eye. Apparently they like music, which is good as she does too.
Brett noticed the look on her face. He knew she was about to succumb. He’d seen that expression before.
Irene saw that Brett was calculating her body language.
“I told you, don’t get any ideas”
“So you’re saying no?”
Irene uncrossed her legs and sucked on her lower lip.
“NO: I’m saying you can leave your houseplant with me.”