by Wake Lloire
There was a pumpkin hiding in the grass the day Ann’s mother died. It was a small, round gourd and still green with some curlicue vines, but there was no doubt to its verifiable pumpkinness. Ann stopped and crouched down and took a picture of it instinctively, with her phone and opened the texting thread she’d had with her mother.
Ann looked down at the insistent cursor and the last text her mother had written.
That was it. A simple agreement. The response to a mundane statement about how there seemed to be too much snow for October.
Ann placed the picture of the young pumpkin in the texting thread and hit send. Her mother had communicated less in words and more in pictures. The last picture her mother had sent was of the deck, buried in snow. Forty-two years of trying to communicate with her mother and she’d only recently figured it out.
Her mother wasn’t a word person. Ann always had been. Her mother used to accuse her of having verbal diarrhea on a regular basis. Her father had bought her empty notebooks to place her thoughts, and Ann had a realization, just turned, phone in her hand and pumpkin on the ground, that her Dad had been doing it for the both of them. Her and her mother. Ann had needed someone to listen and her mother had needed her to stop talking.
Ann hadn’t cried at the funeral. Funerals and graveyards and crowds felt like too much pressure. Now her tears began to blur her vision and fell hard and heavy on the tiny pumpkin. She had just figured out that her mother communicated in images. Just this past year.
Ann had moved into her new house in July. Her balcony looked onto a diversion ditch that she’d dubbed the “faerie pond”. She’d called it that because of this eerie blue section of the water. It seemed an unnatural colour and so the first thing she did was send her mother a picture of it. Her mother had replied quickly with some knowledge about bioluminescent algae. Ann was awed at the beauty of her mother’s description.
After that day Ann has sent some photo or video of the pond, or a flower, or weed, or strange beetle while out on her walk. Her mother would reply with a photo or a video or a page from one of her nature books.
One day her mother sent her a video of the wind in the freshly minted leaves in front of the house, and Ann had replied in kind.
It was like she’d finally found the key to her mother’s heart.
Ann looked down at the pumpkin, and it seemed bigger, and the colour had changed. She quickly took another picture and sent it in the texting thread. She looked down and the pumpkin continued to grow and the colour continued to deepen. Ann put her camera into video mode and recorded the unbelievable occurrence. She looked around to see if anyone else could corroborate what was happening but there was no one.
She texted the video.
Mom! I wish you were here to see this! This pumpkin is growing right in front of my eyes. It’s unbelievable.
Her phone dinged.
She looked down. A text had just come in.
Wake Lloire is a non-binary writer with a background in community organizing. They are Métis and Northern Manitoban by birth and upbringing and spent 6 years in Seattle trying to help create a shift in the stand up comedy world and inadvertently ended up the producer of the Seattle Moth storySLAM until they had to move back to Canada. They have been published in the Nonconformist Magazine. They currently reside in Almonte, Ontario with their children and their spouse, next door to their former husband. Wake is a literary publicist at Write Bloody North. Their writing can be found at www.whenallthebeautifulwordsaretaken.ca