Groping in the Garden

Gardens need fertilizer. Especially when plants grow from a plywood box in an empty lot in the city. Now the winter has passed it's time to garden again. Our lovely garden and lawn is in the lot next to the church. It belongs to the whole congregation but only a few of us have done anything with it. Because I live very close by and don't work a 9-5 job I took on much of the gardening duties last summer, so did my home teacher(HT). Sometimes we worked together and we shared one of the larger plots. The garden did beautifully, I actually got sick of home-grown cherry tomatoes! A few weeks ago, HT told me he was going to buy seeds and asked if I wanted to share a plot with him again. Yes, I did.

My home teacher is good, you may remember him from this post. We're both single and we have too much in common for us to have a viable romantic relationship. And I'm not quite ready to get over last summer. We may or may not have dated. I still don't know but I hope we weren't dating because if so, he treated me in an appalling way. That's another story I am going to write. (This is not an empty tease unlike the last one.)

Regardless of the confusion last summer, we really became friends in January and weren't awkward anymore. He was dating Cruella and I had an internet boyfriend. We could hang out as buddies who compared our promising new relationships. We had some bonding moments. Then in March both of us got the big ugly rejection boot. This sent me into a period of seclusion (I started this blog) so I hadn't seen or talked to him in awhile. He left me a few messages about wanting to get together to plant the garden. I ignored him and everyone else.

Last Saturday, however, we had to do a primary party. HT asked me if I could help him in the garden afterwards. Yes. So when the kiddies went home and the sun shone way too brightly, we planted seedlings and seeds and fertilized and labeled and covered and watered. It's beautiful to get soil under my fingernails and to go home smelling like dirt and green things in Harlem. The garden is plenty big. The vegetable boxes are in the back end of the lot away from the street. Even so, the rows between planting boxes do not have enough room for two people. The boxes are small enough that one could go around the other side if someone blocked the path. HT didn't go around. Several times HT squeezed past me, taking the opportunity to put his hand on my waist or back. I noticed this because it felt so good to have human contact for the first time in 2 months, how long did his hand linger?--And I noticed because he never touches me. We don't touch. Not when we were maybe dating and not when we were definitely friends. So why now?

As I planted the strawberries, he looked over at me from the tomato box, and asked if I had heard from that Utah guy. I groaned and said "No," then continued to berate that boy's character for a few minutes. HT said something like, "yeah, Cruella too." Was that a smile on his face? The possible significance of his question completely went over my head as my mind spun with angry thoughts about Utah boy.

We spent 2 or 3 hours planting everything. We work well together because he doesn't do idle chit chat and neither do I. Instead we listened to the screaming children, honking horns, shouting adults, sirens and airplanes. Afterwards, when we finished locking everything up he asked if I wanted to go get something to eat. Since I had only 3 hours of sleep and needed a shower, I said "No I need to take a nap." His question was innocent enough, so I thought nothing of it. But I didn't have the energy to be with him, he tires me. He's so serious all the time, maybe that's why. I wasn't in the mood for serious and brooding that day, nor any other day.

I went home puzzled by the way he touched in the garden and asked my roommate what she thought. Did it mean anything? She said it probably did since we have been friends for awhile and he never touched me before. Guys who want to date their friends sometimes do that. Then I remembered that he asked me about utah boy. Barbara confirmed HT was likely checking my availability and also informing me of his. Ah, that probably explains why he asked me if I was going out later. It was a stupid question because I said no and then he told me he wasn't either because he had to work. So, what difference did my plans make to him? Ok, maybe he wanted to know if I had a date?

Ugh. I can't deal with this now, if he is interested. He had his chance last summer and he said no. I don't want Cruella's left-overs. Sure, she's materialistic so now the broke student who doesn't wear designer clothing suddenly looks more attractive? No thanks. He told me that when we met last year he thought I was cute but too quiet. I didn't tell him I thought he was so wooden and boring that I didn't even notice he's good looking.
He's no one to run from, but he's not a man to run towards either. He has a lot of problems, but so do I.

What am I going to do if he was trying to start something? Well, Saturday I chose to ignore his subtle overtures and took a nap. If he's trying to plant anything in my rocky soil, he needs to add some Miracle-Gro and wait. I need something more obvious to believe he's interested. Until he forces me to deal with it, these seeds ain't growing anywhere. For now, my happy oats are off to dreamland, where I'll pretend not to notice.

Come back for more TRUE stories of the strange, sad and pathetically hilarious exploits of me not having sex in the city.