Garden Flower
©2020, George J. Irwin. All rights reserved.

What needed to be done, was done. It wasn’t easy, and it hurt. But there was no real choice remaining. Not doing it would hurt more.

The locksmith backed out of the driveway of her home—her home. Not his. Not legally, and not otherwise.

He wasn’t going to win—he wasn’t even going to be allowed to play the games anymore. She was going to make sure of that.

No more barging in unannounced, taking things at random, leaving things that weren’t asked for, getting into nonsense arguments, breaking her heart and her spirit, leaving her in anger or tears... or both. All in an attempt to assert control.

No more.

There were still formalities, and logistics—some items of his remained inside her home—but now there would be negotiation and consent, which would not be automatically granted. She reasoned that he would become enraged and demand a key. One would not be forthcoming.

The few people that knew what was happening unquestionably supported her. If they could form a circle of protection around her, and follow her wherever she went, they would, although she would graciously decline the offer. And yet even they did not know the entire story—some of what had occurred in the past few weeks, which put her at what she called a “hard stop”—just couldn’t be talked about, even with her most intimate confidantes.

She didn’t reenter her home just yet. Instead, she took a proud stroll around it. She had been making changes over the past few weeks, things she wanted to do for a year or more, on which she had met resistance and argument; and after all the drama had ceased, the time or the energy was gone. Which was just what he wanted.

No more.

What she wanted to do was getting done. Hard stop.

And her favorite of all of those things was working on her gardens.

Flowers always made her feel better. There was something so beautiful about them, no matter what shape or size or color.

She had just added a few lavender plants, with pretty little fragrant purple blossoms, to the garden of her home. Which he didn’t appreciate.

Still waiting to bloom were the hibiscus. They were as tall as she was, she joked; they could easily be taller than anyone. They needed care, and they didn’t like the cold, but they were strong and beautiful. Just like her, people would tell her, and wish with all their hearts that she would fully believe them. It is so hard to hear for yourself the kind words that you can so easily and genuinely speak to others, she had said, and her carefully chosen friends knew exactly what she meant.

This time, she heard those words from within herself, and she acted.

No more.

It had been a long, emotional day. After a final check that all of the new locks were secure, she completed her nighttime routine and headed off to sleep, with more ease and comfort than she had known in many nights in her home.

Overnight, it rained, hard, welcome rain during a dry spell. By the morning it was gone, replaced with a sapphire blue sky without a cloud to be found. It would be another long day, and probably another emotional one as well, but there was a difference.

She got herself together for the morning rush and stepped outside.

And in the garden of her home, she caught sight of a hibiscus flower, which had bloomed since her previous evening’s walkabout. It was enormous, as hibiscus flowers are. Dazzling red petals caught the sunlight. Its pink stamen rose up to greet the morning.

Symbolic, she thought... how symbolic.

Through a joyful tear she quickly captured an image of her garden flower, a memento of the beginning of a brighter chapter in her life.