Get Well Soon

August the Eleventh

I once had a friend who was very kind, who embodied the very philosophy of philanthropy, and lived in a small manor by herself. I had met her as a child and somehow we seemed to have still remained close friends after so many years, despite not actually having the opportunity to see one another very often. One day, out of the blue, I had received a letter from her saying that she soon expected to be dead, and so I set out to see her.

The news of her coming expiration was not very unexpected. For as long as I had known her, she had been very ill. According to her, this was simply a matter of her birth – she was born to an unhappy woman who lived an unhappy life, and eventually had an unhappy death. When such despondence lingered for so long in the world, so used to infecting people, it just seemed very natural that it would eventually kill her as well.

“It’s really my fault, I think.” she said over tea quite matter of factly, sitting across from me at the small table in her garden, “I rather think I should have left this place long ago and found a new life for myself. This place, while pleasant, I think is poisoned by that unhappy tinge. I never really got around to curing the affliction. I fear that’s what killed me, really.”

She certainly seemed in poorer condition than when I had last set eyes on her, but her eyes remained a brilliant green, ever alert, ever wary that the shell she occupied was a sad, dying thing.

Still, she sounded hale enough, and managed a weak smile through thin, pale lips in response to my comment on the quality of the tea.

“Of course the tea is passable. I have nothing else to do but manage my charities and sit here and talk to my garden. They talk to me you know,” she whispered weakly, her too-big eyes staring sullenly at the crudely-crafted fairy charm that hung from the ceiling between us, “They taught me how to make this tea, and I have nothing better to do but listen to my beloved garden.” Her almost skeletal hand quivered as though to reach out to the crude charm hanging by a bit of string between us, but instead she dropped it upon the controls of her wheelchair, and slowly turned herself away from her tea and faced out the gazebo with a mechanical whine, her gaze meeting the horizon.

From my perspective, calling it a garden was a bit too kind a word, but it was in some ways accurate. What may have once long ago been a neat and lovingly organized manor garden was now an overgrown field of withered wildflowers and long, swaying grasses that whispered dryly in all the colors between yellow and brown. A sizable pond that was perhaps once the glimmering gem of the plot was nearly lost behind a dense wall of ruddy stalks and cat-o-tails, the sickly green scum collecting on its surface the only true source of color in the field.

It was beautiful, maybe, to a certain person’s tastes, but certainly not what I considered a garden proper. It was untamed and wild, but the sort of wildness that consumed itself. It was a place that choked on its own vitality, and now nothing grew properly through all that mass of uncontrolled life.

Still, it was a kindness that she could enjoy at least this pleasant weather, in these final days before she made her way out.

“Do you like the tea? Truly?” She said suddenly, her machine whirring as she slowly turned back to face me, “As I said before, I acquired the recipe from the garden, here. All very natural, very good for one’s health.”

I took another sip with a smile. It was sweeter than I would normally take, and certainly had no need for sugar. It reminded me of tea made from wild herbs and common flowers.

“Oh really? I found it quite bitter myself.”

She gave a little tut to show her good humor, but it soon became an unpleasantly wet cough. Wheezing, she held out a trembling hand to stop me from approaching, and pressed a button on the small console set upon her wheelchair. There was a distant whirring sound, and I realized that air was only now being supplied to her via the lines that went to her nostrils.

“Yes yes, I know the coughing is unpleasant, but… I think the tea helps, don’t you?”

I smiled, perhaps a little too sadly, but raised my cup to her and offered to drink to her health.

She managed to bring the cup to her mouth and sip. After a pause she shook her head, “Well, I suppose it’s the thought that counts.”

I left after some time. We didn’t have very much else to say to one another, nor did we truly say goodbye. My coming to see her was enough, I think, and I felt that the sad smile she gave me was suitable enough for my last recollection of her as she remained bolted by her door, a hand held out in a gesture that could only mean goodbye.

August the Eleventh

I once had a friend who was very kind, who embodied the very philosophy of philanthropy, and lived in a small manor by herself. I had met her as a child and somehow we seemed to have still remained close friends after so many years, despite only having the opportunity to see one another every year or so. One day, during one of our yearly visitations, she suddenly revealed to me that she soon expected to be dead.

The news of her coming expiration came with some surprise. For as long as I had known her, she had been somewhat quick to succumb to coughs, but nothing so terrible as to think that it was life-threatening. According to her, however, this was simply a matter of her birth – she was born to an unhappy woman who lived an unhappy life, and eventually had an unhappy death. When such despondence lingered for so long in the world, so used to infecting people, it just seemed very natural that it would eventually kill her as well.

“It’s my fault, I think.” she said over tea quite matter of factly, sitting across from me at the small table in her garden, “I rather think I should have left this place long ago and found a new life for myself. This place, while pleasant, I think is poisoned by an unhappy tinge. I thought that your presence might prove to alleviate the condition of the land, but it lingers still. I fear it has still killed me, after all.”

She certainly seemed in poorer condition than when I had last set eyes on her, but her eyes remained a brilliant green, ever alert, ever wary. 

Still, she sounded quite hale, and managed an almost sardonic smile between her pale lips in response to my comment on the quality of the tea.

“Of course the tea is pleasant. I have nothing else to do but manage my charities, and sit here and talk to my garden. They talk back, sometimes you know, “she said in a childishly hushed voice as she extended a finger to idly play at a simple-looking fairy charm hanging from the ceiling between us, “They taught me how to make this tea, and I have nothing better to do but listen to my beloved garden.” Her slender hand flourished as she withdrew it from the charm to toss back her pale hair, and she turned herself away from the tea and faced out the gazebo, chin resting on top of her hand, her gaze meeting the horizon.

From my perspective, calling it a garden was a bit too kind a word, but it was in some ways accurate. What may have once long ago been a neat and lovingly organized manor garden was now an overgrown field of wildflowers and long, swaying grasses that whispered in the lively hues of green and blue. A sizable pond that was perhaps once the glimmering gem of the plot was nearly hidden behind a dense wall of ruddy stalks and cat-o-tails which grew tall from the murky surfaces of that deep water.

It was beautiful, perhaps, but certainly not what I considered a garden proper. It was untamed and largely left to its own, with no actual inspiration for organization or control. It reeked of vitality and life, but it did not have the proper guidance or thought of planning to produce anything truly beautiful.

Still, it was a kindness that she could enjoy at least this pleasant weather, if there was truth that she was truly on her way out.

“Do you like the tea? I mean actually like it?” She said suddenly, turning back to face me, “As I said before, I acquired the recipe from the garden, here. All very natural, very good for one’s health.”

I took another sip with a smile. It was mildly sweet, but with just a tang of bitterness on the back of the tongue. It reminded me of tea made from wild herbs and common flowers.

“Oh really? I found it somewhat bitter myself.”

She gave a little tut and chuckle, which became a short, mild cough. Continuing to laugh quietly through the coughing, she held out her hand to stop me from approaching, and then took a dramatically deep breath. With a content yet sheepish smile, she exhaled slowly, and then opened her eyes with a languid expression on her face.

“Yes yes, I know the coughing is rather unpleasant, but…I think the tea helps, don’t you?”

I smiled, perhaps a little easily, but raised my cup to her and offered to drink to her health.

She managed to bring the cup to her mouth and took a delicate sip. After a pause she shook her head, “Well, I suppose that it’s the thought that counts.”

I left after some time. We didn’t have very much else to say to one another, besides pass the time with idle chatter about her few hobbies or the work she committed her modest fortune to. In the end, we never truly did say goodbye. My coming to see her was enough, I think, and I felt that the pleasant smile she gave me was suitable enough for my last recollection of her as she remained poised by her door, waving me goodbye.

August the Eleventh

I once had a friend who was very kind, who embodied the very philosophy of philanthropy, and spent much of her life in traveling the world. I had met her as a child and somehow we seemed to have still remained close friends after so many years, despite not actually having the opportunity to see one another very often. One day, out of the blue, I had received a letter from her saying that she soon expected to be dead, and so I set out to see her at her ancestral home.

The news of her coming expiration was quite unexpected. For as long as I had known her, she had been almost unnaturally healthy. But according to her, this was simply a matter of her birth – she was born to an unhappy woman who lived an unhappy life, and eventually had an unhappy death. When such despondence lingered for so long in the world, so used to infecting people, it just seemed very natural that it would eventually kill her as well, if nothing was done.

“It’s my fault, I think.” she said over tea quite matter of factly, sitting across from me at the small table in her garden, “I was fool enough to think that leaving this place was the answer, that finding a new life for myself would do the trick. This place, while pleasant, I think is poisoned by an unhappy tinge. I thought just leaving it to rot here would do the trick, but it seems that unhappiness cannot merely linger in the land itself – it has must cling itself to someone. I think that’s what’s killed me, really…”

She certainly seemed in fine condition just as when I had last set eyes on her only the year before, with her brilliantly green eyes, ever alert, ever wary of catching whatever tiniest fragment of life that she would dare not allow pass by.

Indeed, she sounded quite hale and managed an almost mischievous smile between her crimson lips in response to my comment on the quality of the tea.

“Of course the tea is a delight. I have had the pleasure to travel the world and taste so many exquisite teas! What kind of gardener would I be if I did not spent my idle time here in my garden, talking to the spirits of the leaves, and practice making my own? They sometimes talk back, you know.” She chuckled to herself as she reached out and gently touched the shimmering, angular glass that formed the wing of a fairy charm which hung from the ceiling between us, “They taught me how to make this tea, and I have the good sense to sit and listen to my beloved garden.” Her smooth, graceful hand flourished as she pulled her hand away to flick the hair away from her face and behind her ear. She gave me a mischievous smile before crisply turning herself away from her tea and faced out the gazebo with that peculiar smile, her gaze meeting the horizon.

From my perspective, calling it a garden was a bit too specific a word of ownership, but it was perhaps in some ways accurate. What may have once long ago been a neat and lovingly organized manor garden was now an overgrown field of bright wildflowers and long, swaying grasses that seemed to sing in all the colors of springtime. A sizable pond stood out like the glimmering gem of the plot, accented by small, healthy bursts of ruddy stalks and cat-o-tails which grew tall and languidly from its deep blue hue.

It was beautiful, in that wild, unkempt way, but certainly not what I considered a garden proper. A garden had some control to it, a hidden mark of a maker which guides and orders the vitality of the land to produce something beyond the ken of unmitigated natural life. Still, for the land to grow with such vigorous luxurience, was surely a mark of the owner’s good health.

Indeed, it was a kindness that we could enjoy at least this pleasant weather, in these rare occasions that we are able to meet and enjoy one another’s company.

“Do you like the tea? I mean truly?” She said quite suddenly, turning her head slowly to face me with her fixedly delighted expression, “As I said before, I acquired the recipe from the garden, here. All very natural, very good for one’s health.”

I took another sip with a smile. It was a touch bitter, but not at all unpleasant. It reminded me of tea made from wild herbs and common flowers.

“Oh really? How very interesting – I found it sweet…”

She gave a little chuckle, and then cleared her throat with some force. Laughing dryly under her breath, she motioned with her hand to stop me from approaching, and finally, successfully cleared her throat with some grace. With a sheepish, almost exasperated smile, she sighed slowly, and then stared at me with a rather unreadable expression on her face.

“I really do think the tea is the answer, don’t you?”

I didn’t understand what she meant, but smiled nonetheless, and raised my cup to her and offered to drink to her health.

She smoothly raised her fine cup to her mouth and took a long draught, eyes closed languidly. After a moment she set down her cup and she shook her head slowly, “It’s the thought that counts, you know..”

We laughed, and I left after some time. We didn’t need to talk much, nor say goodbye aloud. Our meeting was enough, and I think she understood my feelings as she leaned against her front door, waving in my direction with that sad yet happy expression on her face that could only mean goodbye.

August the Eleventh

I once had a friend who was very kind, who embodied the very philosophy of philanthropy, and lived in a small manor by herself. I had met her as a child and we had still remained close friends after so many years, with my taking every opportunity to see her when the occasion arose. One day, out of the blue, I had received a letter from her saying that I must come to visit at once, and so I resigned myself to go out to see her at her ancestral home.

The news of my coming expiration was probably quite unexpected. For as long as I had known her, she had been almost unnaturally healthy, so how could she possibly come to terms with my sudden illness? Indeed, she somehow blamed herself. According to her, this was a matter of her birth – she was born to an unhappy woman who lived an unhappy life, and eventually had an unhappy death. When such despondence lingered for so long in the world, so used to infecting people, it just seemed very natural that it would somehow attach itself to me and kill me.

“It’s my fault, I think.” she said over tea with a sad tone, sitting across from me at the small table in her garden, ““I rather think I should have left this place long ago and found a new life for myself. This place, while pleasant, I think is poisoned by an unhappy tinge. I thought that your presence might prove to alleviate the condition of the land, but it lingers still. I fear it has ultimately killed you, after all!”

I could only laugh weakly as I drank in her liveliness. Although obviously saddened, she certainly seemed in fine condition just as when I had last set eyes on her, with her brilliantly green eyes, ever alert, ever wary of catching whatever tiniest fragment of life that she would dare not allow pass by.

Indeed, she sounded quite hale and managed an almost mischievous smile between her crimson lips in response to my comment on the quality of the tea.

“Of course the tea is perfect. I have done nothing these many years but manage my charities, serve you tea, and sit here to talk to my garden. They still talk back, sometimes you know, “she said in a childishly hushed voice as she extended a finger to idly play with the wing of a small, beautiful fairy charm hanging from the ceiling between us, “They taught me how to make this tea for you, and after all these long years, I have truly nothing better to do but listen to my beloved garden.” Her smooth, graceful hand flourished as she pulled her hand back to move her hair away from her face and behind her ear. She gave me a sad, but lovely smile before crisply turning herself away from her tea and faced out the gazebo with that peculiar smile, her gaze meeting the horizon.

From my perspective, calling it a garden was not quite enough to capture the magnificence of her work. What may have once long ago been a neat and lovingly organized manor garden was now a carefully wrought field of bright wildflowers and long, swaying grasses and open fields of sweet-smelling clover that seemed to sing an almost ethereal hymn. A sizable pond stood out like the glimmering gem of the plot, its shimmering deep blue surface gleaming like the face of a perfectly polished sapphire.

It was beautiful, in a wild, almost unkempt way, and certainly not what I considered a common garden. This garden was allowed to grow unhindered, managed only by a hidden, loving hand which guides and orders the vitality of the land to produce something beyond the ken of unmitigated natural life. For the land to grow with such vigorous luxurience, was surely a mark of the owner’s good health.

It was a kindness that we could enjoy such a sight with this pleasant weather, in these occasions that we are able to meet and enjoy one another’s company.

“Do you like the tea? I mean truly?” She said quite suddenly, turning her head slowly to face me with her fixedly hopeful expression, “As I said before, I acquired the recipe from the garden, here. All very natural, very good for one’s health.”

I took another sip with a smile. It was quite bitter, but somehow invigorating. It reminded me of tea made from wild herbs and common flowers.

“Oh really? My palette must have changed over time, as I find it quite sweet.”

I could only laugh, but that soon brought upon a coughing fit. Kindly creature that she is, she moved to approach, but I kept her at back with a wave of my hand. Once the fit passed, she gave me a sheepish, almost exasperated smile, then sighed slowly, staring at me with a rather unreadable expression on her face.

“I think another cup of tea will help, won’t it?”

I couldn’t possibly say no to her kindness, and was about to raise my cup to drink to her continued health, but she was quick to proffer a counterproposal.

“To your health, my old companion.”

She smoothly raised her fine cup to her mouth and took a long draught, eyes closed languidly. After a moment she set down her cup and she nodded her head slowly and with deep conviction said, “It’s the thought that counts, at least.”

We laughed, and I left after some time. We didn’t need to talk much, nor say goodbye aloud. Our meeting was enough, and I think I understood her feelings as she stood by her door, waving at me with that sad yet happy expression on her face that could only mean goodbye.

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