On Saturday, my father and I planted my garden. We dug trenches and placed large wooden blocks into a high barrier on all sides of our long garden. I cut open seven 40-pounded bags of soil and laid it out and pounded it down into our rectangular garden patch. In the middle of the garden patch, we tied together white wooden stakes and trellises onto which the vines of morning glory will climb. We tied small white platforms onto which humming birds can rest between their sips from our blossoms. On the left side of the stakes, we planted lantanas, flower clusters with yellow on the interior and pink on the outside and leaves emerald green. On the right side of the stakes, we planted basil and mint and purple leaved herbs. We sprinkled seeds everywhere. Exhausted, we went inside to rest and nap.
I woke up at 7:00 PM and we went to Stephens Lake Park, strolled around with my father, older brother T, and little sister Kim. We sat on white yellow speckled rocks with our feet in the water. Kim asked—Are there fishes in here? I said—Yes, and octopuses and sharks, and look there, a giant blue whale. Kim—Really? T and Kim climbed a small tiered cliff. Father and I walked and looked at the ducks as they crossed the calm lake. There were four adult ducks and fifteen little ducks. We all walked closer to the ducks. Father said—Look at how long and graceful their necks are. These are swans. That’s the leader. Look how big he is. The children and really big too. Duck children are smaller. These are swans. Or maybe geese. I looked closely. Their feathers were black, their necks were gray, and they have the majesty of swans. I said—Yea, I think you’re right. We waited and waited for the lights to come on and light up the lake, but we finally left. I said—Next time, we’ll see the lights.
At home, we all showered and got ready for a movie--The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I went out to water my garden and admire it. As I watered the central part, I saw someone grayish and dark move awkwardly sideways. A frog? No, on closer inspection, it is a bird, and its feathers are disorderly and fluffed. I had accidentally watered it and it weakly cleaned itself. I watered around the bird and dashed inside, telling everyone about the bird in my garden. My father nodded and smiled solemnly. I go outside and sit with the bird for a while. It does not mind my presence. It sits with eyes closed.
Finally, we settled down, sprawled on various parts of our long couch, and turned on the movie. I watched a baby born old, abandoned by his father onto the steps of an old persons’ home. I watched him grow up in a wheel chair, beset by arthritis. I watched him grow younger old, his legs straightening, walking across the stage, his back straightening, his wrinkles disappearing, his eyes clearing, his saggy, skinny chest and limbs growing strong, muscular. I watched him befriend a young girl. I watched them fall in love, she growing older, maturing, dancing, graceful, he growing younger, more clear eyed, face more defined and strong. I watched them separate, the time not being right for them to love each other fully. I watched them close their eyes each night, saying, in their separate beds—Goodnight Benjamin. Goodnight Daisy. I watched them meet again, finally, in the right time, and I watched them buy their house, dance on their mattress, have a daughter. I watched him leave, because he is growing younger, and one day, his lover will have to raise him, and he does not want that. I watched him leave, I watched her grow older. I watched her meeting him again, she older, sagging, he young, handsome, a beautiful teenager, with a face unsure and bewildered, a young face with decades of life to look forward to, but I watched his eyes, which tell the truth, the truth that his young body hides. I watched her grow older still and meet again with a young boy, a young boy that becomes a little boy, who becomes a baby, who becomes an infant. I watched as she—wrinkled, feeble—holds an infant in her arms. The infant has deep black eyes that look up into her face one final time before he closes his eyes. I watched her cover the infant’s face. Goodnight Benjamin. Goodnight Daisy.
In the morning, my sister woke me up and told me that the bird had died. I walk outside, and my father is burying the bird in our newly planted garden. My father said—I knew there was something wrong. It is not right for a bird to come down here to us unless it is hurt. Still, I am glad that the bird found our garden a good enough place to die in.