I can’t take another lima bean plant. I will kill it. I promise, it will wither and die in my alleged “care”. Yet, every year at least one gets sent home to me.
It usually snakes its way into my hands by way of a folded paper towel inside of a plastic bag, or equally ominously in a clear plastic half cup that I could imagine filling with a double or triple shot of something…Triumphantly, it is held above the head of Big Sister, her eyes bright with anticipation as she rattles off promises of care and upkeep. The first few times it happened, I bought into the celebratory spirit, finding a proper spot to plant the seedling and taking on the watering and shade negotiation that new plants require. But quickly even my interest would fade when I realized that six beans wasn’t quite harvest enough to add a side dish to our meals and the girls would rarely eat lima beans.
Today’s plant hardly made it to the car – roughly a tenth of a mile from where it was carried. The stalk had torn; the delicate leaves had rubbed against something less tender and the initial delight of having a living thing had evaporated just as quickly. Justifications were made and blame place squarely on me somehow – recalling my horror upon discovering last years’ plant overturned in Big Sister’s room and the ripe and rancid odor that came along with it. It was true the lima bean plant project was no friend of mine.
The shell of the bean had been outcast on either side of the stalk – once protective and now discarded and the entire thing seemed suddenly morbid. I looked at the broken and bruised greenery and felt that it was a talisman of things to come and then decided I was being overly dramatic. So I left it outside, unable to bring such black magic over the threshold with me and suddenly I felt much better.