‘What are you doing? That’s poison!’

He stopped. His mouth fell open and he slowly released the trigger on the spray unit.

She continued to berate him, finally concluding with, ‘Why don’t you go back to the city?’ then turned back to her house, entered and slammed the door. Hard.

What was that about? he wondered. His first meeting with his new neighbour and clearly it hadn’t gone well. He thought he was doing a great job clearing the overgrown yard. Puzzled, he put the sprayer away and went inside the house he’d recently inherited from Gran.

Previously, he lived in a high-rise city apartment, venturing to the outer suburbs to visit Gran in the Nursing Home every week but never really thinking about what lay beyond the suburban sprawl. After Gran passed away, and on the same day he became redundant at work, he discovered he’d inherited Gran’s old house in a small rural community north of the city. On a whim he decided to move there and work on the novel he’d long dreamed of writing.

Over coffee, he researched. Opinions were divided on the use of sprays. They removed the weeds but had a detrimental effect on beneficial plants and the insects depending on them. Especially bees. Those wooden structures in his neighbour’s yard… they were bee hives.

He called out to her the next morning to apologise but she scurried down the street in the opposite direction. The next day, and the next.

Show, don’t tell. He recalled the advice from his online writing group. It might work. He’d show her he was sorry.

Day after day he worked in the garden. Day after day she ignored him.

Finally, it was complete.

Cautiously, he knocked on her door. Cautiously, she opened it.

‘I’m sorry,’ they said in unison.

He took her hand and led her to his yard.

She gasped. ‘Peony roses!’

‘Are they okay?’

‘Oh, yes, they’re my favourite and the bees love them.’

On cue, one small bee flew over the dividing fence and disappeared into the fragrant pink petals.

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
5 months ago

Hi Sandra, welcome back and hope that all is well with you. What a lovely, heartwarming story. It sounds like the start of a beautiful friendship. I’m so glad your protagonist took the time to research the reason for his neighbour’s reaction — I do hope he still had time to write his novel. Very nicely done 🙂

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
Reply to  Sandra James
5 months ago

Congratulations, Sandra, that’s so awesome. You must be feeling so proud of your efforts. Well done 👏

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Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
5 months ago

What a lovely story, Sandra, so well written and such a different take on the prompt. The ending was quite emotional; your two characters apologising in unison. And that last line was brilliant. I loved it!

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
5 months ago

Hello, Sandra. How are you? A unique take on the prompt. I love this. All that happened to your protagonist brings them into a more beautiful and deep friendship. That is wonderful. It is beautifully written. Excellent.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Sandra James
5 months ago

I am fine too. You are welcome, Sandra.

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Greene M Wills
Greene M Wills(@greene-m-wills)
5 months ago

My gran used to say that ignorance creates grief and your story is a classic example of how this could happen. I am so glad that your protagonist recognised that and found a remedy. I guess a new friendship was the result. Well done!

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