Out of the Coffee Pot and Into the World
Nickolas Strobo
                    

    The last of the clothes have just been packed into the back of the car. Any furniture that hasn’t been set up in the apartment is in the moving trailer you rented. The only things left to move to the car are your plants.

    “It’ll be better off in the real soil,” you think without a doubt as you stand in front of the last plant you have to transfer. You lift the vintage coffee percolator from your bookshelf, the last thing you need to pack. You planted the bulb in the broken percolator about two months ago, and there was nothing to show for it. Lilies took time like any plant. The fact that you kept it in direct sunlight was a mistake. Since then you’ve tried your hardest not to neglect the care for it.

    Your eyes fall on a photo of yourself at the age of eight pinned on a corkboard. You were going to leave her here with the old books, collections, stuffed animals, things you weren’t associated with anymore. Her smile bright, cheeks smeared with dirt as she kneels over her strawberry patch. Her grubby hands full with the first harvest of twisted, small strawberries. You gave her one last silent farewell before taking your plant out to the car. Your friend shuts the trunk, looking over to you and asking if that’s the last of it. You nod and situate the vintage coffee pot in the back seat. After saying goodbye to your parents, you and your friend begin the drive to your new apartment. You don’t wait to make it out of the driveway to smile. Your passenger looks over to you, asking what’s got you so happy.

     And you simply can’t help but reply:

     “I left that house so I could start living. I left her behind with my parents,” you say.

     Your company looks to you, curious. There were nights you would toss and turn at night, you explain. Nights where you felt uncomfortable in your own skin. Each day passing, and feeling like you didn’t fit just right. You had evolved into the person that your friend knows today. You hadn’t been a person who has “known ever since you were a little girl that you were different.” That was the best way you could put it. Then you let out a sigh; you were always “Daddy and Mommy’s precious little girl” even when you came out to them. For years it had been those nights of seeking validation and support from strangers online when your parents wouldn’t talk to you about it. When they left you and decided to care for her instead.

 

     So, you decided to leave her behind with them, you say after a few moments of silence pass between the two of you. Your company gives you a smile of reassurance before reaching over and placing a hand on your shoulder once you come to a stop at a light intersection. Your passenger nods and the light turns green.

 

     “You alright?” They pull their hand from your shoulder. You sigh and with it, a huge space that she left is yours to claim.