The Four Seasons Garden – by Deborah Mercer (Adult)
Tara’s parents had gently told her Grandma was “rambling” when she told her beloved only granddaughter about the “Four Seasons” garden, and, taking her plump little hand in her own dry, frail one, said, “There is such a thing. You’ll find it.” When Tara was only 7, Grandma fell peacefully asleep and didn’t wake up again. Tara mourned her with a child’s intense but resilient mourning, and the years passed by, and when she was nineteen, and at university, she fell truly in love for the first time in her life. Oscar was the kind of man who made people say that the age of romance was not dead, made feminists forget it was condescending to hold doors for them, and environmentalists forget that cut flowers were all wrong.
He texted Tara every day in the holidays when they were apart. And one day the text said, “You’re far too good for me. Hope we can still be friends.”
“Love, what is it?” her mother asked, but had her suspicions. Oscar had been charm itself when they met, but something didn’t ring right.
“Excuse me,” Tara muttered, and ran out into the garden, her father’s pride and joy. It was a dear, familiar place of refuge, especially the patch of wild flowers by the rockery. She seemed, somehow, to see more clearly through her tears, and see the soft reds of autumn and the white-frosted stems of winter, but through a curtain where spring dew and shafts of summer sunlight blended with her tears. It all seemed to coalesce into the kaleidoscope of a butterfly’s wing. She stared more intently, a sudden calmness suffusing her, and there, in the Four Seasons Garden, she could see her Grandma, smiling that sweet, wry smile of hers.
Grandma had been right all along. There was such a thing as the Four Seasons Garden, and it reminded her that most things were transient, but the things that really mattered were constant, even as they changed. She stooped down and kissed the dew and the frost, and bathed her face in sunlight.