Life lessons that I could never truly explain.
"Where's my rose?"
"Who stole my flower?" She said.
Oh boy! Here we go, I thought. I had a subtle smirk on my face 'cose I knew Where Mrs B's flower had gone. I wasn't gonna rat the house painter out though; I saw him pick it for his girlfriend.
I said nothing.
I just sat back and drank my earl grey tea. Mrs B always made tea for me when I was on my lunch break. I didn't even like it, but you always got the idea that declining her offer just wasn't an option.
You see, I was her gardener.
And let me tell you, her garden was the weediest jungle I have ever stumbled upon. Boy oh boy! No matter how hard you worked, they were always back the next week. It was as if they knew I was going to be back and they just had to pop up, say hello, and then taunt the living crap out of me. Oh well it was good money for my lawn care business.
She was an old girl. Ninety eight years. Statistically speaking she should have been long dead. She wasn't thought. I guess she didn't get that memo huh?. There was more life in her than a spring chicken at feeding time.
Sharp as a tac too.
Now Obviously the house painter wasn't aware of this when he had the genius idea to steal her rose. She had forty odd rose bushes in her back yard and most normal people wouldn't even have noticed. Not Mr's B thought. She had detected the difference within 5 minutes. I could see the painter hiding in the corner, quivering with fear, while she let out her rant.
I finished my tea, reached through the open window and popped the cup in the kitchen sink.
Back to the hideous garden full of weeds I went. It bored me to tears really but kept on doing it. Eight hours a week. Four weeks a month. Twelve months a year. For five whole years. I hated it. Oh my Lord, I truly hated it. Yet for some reason I always came back.
I watched her gradually die.
Over the years her body slowed. She hired an in house nurse. There was no way she was going to go in to one of those "old fart's homes." Year after year things became more and more difficult. Her joints stiffened. Yet some how she still managed to hobble over to the sink and make that pot of earl grey tea. NO MILK though! That was the rule.
I remember the day I got the call.
"Mr's B has died mate. She went quietly in her sleep."
I was in a crowded room but it felt like like I was stranded in the middle of a desert Island. My eyes swelled up and a tear gently ran down my face. She was gone. No more weeds. No more tea?
No more tea indeed.
Many years have come and gone since that day. I now truly realize it was never about the earl grey tea with no milk. Every break I had with her was a lesson. I was getting a degree in "life" you might say. Stories about the great depression. World war two. Love. Happiness.
And simply enjoying your short little life.
One day my heart will stop beating. I will draw my last breath. Thankfully I am reminded of this every time I drink my new favorite beverage. You guessed it, earl grey tea.
One day I will be buried under the ground with a great big smile. Why will I have this smile?
Two reasons really.
1. I was taught by a great lady how to be happy. To seize the day. To enjoy life.
2. 'cause I never did tell her what happened to that rose. No, no. That secret is going to be buried with me forever.