While we were in the midst of sorting out the HOA problems, I received a cheery email from my coworker, Pilar, who was in the midst of nurturing tomato seedlings on my behalf. They were just about ready for delivery, she said, and she’d bring them in after the weekend.
This presented a dilemma. Tell? Or not to tell? Luckily, I fell ill the following Monday and Tuesday and didn’t return to the office until Wednesday, which meant I could put off the conversation for a couple of days. I’ve never been so grateful to get a cough in my life.
“I have to admit, I’m really sorry to see them go,” she said. “I’m going to miss them. Take good care of them.”
“Right, so, I hadn’t exactly gotten a chance to tell you,” I said. “We’re having a little problem with the homeowners’ association at my building, so I’m not entirely sure when I’ll be able to plant them.”
Her face turned just a touch sad.
“But I’ll figure something out,” I said, rushing into promises I had no idea if I could keep. “I’ll find somewhere to plant them. I don’t know where, but somewhere.”
“No,” she said, touching the leaves. “It’s not a problem if you let them die.”
My Catholic guilt blared at me like a siren. Kill tomato plants? Not on purpose. No way.
I carried them home carefully the next night on the bus, giving them the window seat. Then I set them up on the dining room table at the apartment, hoping a reprieve would come through before they wilted.