I first met Frederick under the fragrant canopy of a lone wisteria tree that thrived with wild abandon amidst the ruins of a sprawling country estate. He was the grand architect of its gardens, long before the landscape was suddenly, irreparably erased.
Through his stories, I can picture the vibrant colors of the roses, inhale the sweet aroma of azaleas, feel the velvety lambs ears and taste the tangy wild raspberries nestled in earthy greens. I can almost hear the chatter of squirrels in phantom trees and the echoes of songbirds in ashen skies, losing myself in a time when life thrived here in abundance…now, all that remains is the memory.
He has built me a new world, a better world, from the remnants of his.
Through him, I’ve learned to coax new life out of the reluctant soil – an endangered survival skill lost over a century ago. Though I’ve shared this knowledge with the others, I dare not speak of him, not when his name and likeness haunts the ancient, crumbling halls of our new home.
The closest I’ve come to living is through the words of a ghost.
© 2013 Samantha Redstreake Geary
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