She’s My Hero
See this stump? It may look like your run-of-the-mill vine that has been cut-down-to-the-bone. But oh, she is so much more than that!
Let me recap. This summer we suffered through a rat infestation so virulent that it made the biblical plagues look like the work of amateurs. Once we discovered that the rats were treating the gorgeous, perpetually blooming Bougainvillea that graced our back fence like a crack house, begrudgingly, we were forced to cut it all back.
That’s when we realized that the sixty-plus year old Bougainvillea had been holding up the equally aged fence. Our first clue came when it fell down. It collapsed like the house of cards we didn’t know it was and left us no choice but to build another.
Today I herby christen last summer as the Rat Bastard Summer of Limited Choices.
Anyway, this stump, and the Bougainvillea as a whole became what my husband likes to call “collateral damage”.
I hate that term.
In my experience, what that means is: We unintentionally broke, cut, demo’d, or otherwise destroyed something you love, and you seem mad—so we tell you it couldn’t be avoided.
Once the fence had been removed I asked the gardener (not my beloved Pedro, his assistant) to cut the Bougainvillea back even further so the guys could build a new fence without being impaled.
That night when I saw their handiwork I almost cried. I’m familiar with this type of eager overreach. Throughout my life I’ve suffered at the hands of your random hairdresser, trained by Edward Scissorhands, who left me with a hatchet job of a haircut so heinous that no hat could disguise the damage.
I was convinced my self-esteem would never recover.
And I was just as convinced that this Grand Dame of bougainvillea’s recovery would be sketchy at best. She is over sixty after all and they desecrated and disrespected her, whittling her into a popsicle stick.
“She’s dead. They killed her!” I moaned, with the same level of tortured angst usually reserved for roadkill, my favorite characters who’ve been killed off in a novel…or everyone on Game of Thrones.
I was furious.
But here it is, three months later, and just like my husband said as he reassured me that hot September night, she has risen from the dead. I have to bite my lip to keep from weeping as I write this.
Reliance is her middle name (she won’t tell me her first, she doesn’t trust me anymore).
From this day forward, when I feel beaten down and defeated, cut down and undermined. And when I feel ugly as a stump. I will look outside at this beautiful old woman, the crone of my backyard, who had the will to rise above the worst take a little off the top, collateral damage in the history of the world—and know that my problems aren’t worth shit.