I Think My Houseplants Must Hate Me
Words By Megan Shea, Art By Hailey Renee
I think my houseplants must hate me, dead as they are. I can’t help but be me, relentlessly wavering between absent and overbearing, never quite right. When they need me the most, I am not there to feed them or to open the shades far enough to let the light in. When they wish I was gone, I smother them with water and far too much affection. Philodendrons, monsteras, rubber trees, spider plants, and even succulents all inevitably perish with the tiniest tremble of my hands.
I should be used to this by now, being a goddess of death and all. Still, I cannot help but feel defeated and depressed that my efforts on this side of the ground have gone unrewarded. It would be nice, for once, to be able to bask in the glow of growing something or even simply just letting something live by its own volition. I cannot even begin to fathom how the humans do it—houseplants seem to be the most wretched creatures, just unequivocally determined to die, always plotting their own passing.
The tea kettle whistles sharply from the kitchen and with it, my fiddle leaf fig falls. My sigh takes out an orchid on a side table as I pass. Father pours the tea into dainty china teacups, his hands looming far too large around them to be anything different than absurd.
“Would you like to come home now?” he asks.
I look around the kitchen of the tiny cottage I have tried so very hard to make my own up here on the surface, but all my plants are dead and gone. Crumbling leaves, almost dust now, cover the floor, and streaks of dirt are smeared every which way from my many unsuccessful resuscitation attempts. Yes, it’s time to go home.
The Underworld is different from the world above—quieter, and ironically, so full of life. Shades brush against me at every turn, soft conversations between them singing through the air as Father leads me through the hallways. His hands cover my eyes, hiding the oh-so-familiar twisting and turning pathways from my gaze. He says that the humans call this a surprise, though I’m not entirely sure why they would ever wish to willfully endure the unexpected and astonishing. After all, you would think they would have had their fill of that at the thought of death.
“Surprise!” he calls out as he uncovers my eyes. The room we are in is peaceful and calm and full of my houseplants! They sway to a music only they can hear, and as my hand hovers over a bromeliad, it leans into my touch. My plants are happy and thriving and I am just enough for them. I am a goddess of death and I think my houseplants must love me, dead as they are.