She turned off the news, but the words still reverberated through her head. Rising cases. Reopen schools. Reclose restaurants. Wear masks. Wash hands. Keep your distance. Day after day, the same. She just couldn’t bear it any longer. She had to do something.

With a fury born of frustration and helplessness, she rushed outside and grabbed a hoe. She didn’t even bother to put on garden gloves. Her life was in splinters, why not her hands as well?

She glanced around the lovely garden, the plants serene and happy, following their individual destinies. The rose bushes, full of pink and gold blooms, as if the world were still turning. The gardenias, smooth and creamy, secure in their seasonal wheel of rest and return. The honeysuckle, firmly rooted, bursting with life. She hesitated for a minute. The honeysuckle was the main reason she had bought the house. She’d always wanted a cottage half-overgrown with honeysuckle.

But then, she had always wanted a lot of things, worked hard to get them. New job, her dream job, over before it had really begun. New town, with the hope of wonderful new friends. Impossible to meet anyone now. New house, now a prison. New garden, all greenery and blossoms and fragrance. Now an empty promise. The virus had taken away all her dreams, turned her vibrant life to stone. Only one thing left to do.

The honeysuckle was surprisingly strong, but her anger made her stronger. Whack! How dare it bloom when she couldn’t? How dare it grow and thrive? How dare it be her only companion? Whack! She lost all sense of reason, blind with rage.

Tiny tubes of yellow-red, goblets for hummingbirds, lay crushed and broken and bleeding at her feet, waking her to a new reality of her own making. “Forgive me,” she cried. Fragrance poured out around her like a tsunami of farewell. She held one tiny blossom against her cheek, and swayed back and forth, moaning. “Please, please,” she sobbed incoherently. No response. Her hollow voice echoed back from the darkening sky, back from the frozen stars.

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