From my window I stand and stare at the garden over the fence. All the eye can see is a crisp layer of fresh grass. The gardener comes in every Tuesday to mow the lawn and take care of the flowers. A cluster of lilies standing proud. Orchids with their intoxicating scent, bound to put you in a frenzy. Roses tainted in blood or as white as the clouds above. Even the sun stares in awe, hiding behind the apple tree, scared its scorching heat will ruin their beauty. Each branch grows heavy with the ripe fruit. Not one is allowed to fall, or they would land in the crystal-clear water. An old man in overalls is hunched over the opulent pool to collect the stray leaves that did fall in. It’s not their fault. The wind last night was fierce, pulling them off branches and downing them in chlorine. That garden is sterile and cold, yet so alluring. A door slams, piercing the serine silence of the morning. I shut my window and pull the drapes. I know it’s him, the owner. You can still hear shouting; the gardener hasn’t done a good enough job. He will get fired, like all the rest of them. No human can stand the frigid man: an entrepreneur and successful businessman, my father’s boss. I’ve heard he’s a father as well. I feel sorry for that kid.
From my window I stand and stare at the garden over the fence. It’s small, but it’s overflowing with flowers around the edges. There is no gardener, I watched. A woman with auburn hair comes out every morning and sings to them. Each flower turns its head at the soothing sound and blooms even more. There is a wooden shed in the corner, with misted windows. The towering boxes and bin bags of toys or clothes are still visible. Every month, like clockwork, one bag disappears and goes out for donation. And every week, whenever the sun shines, a picnic is laid out on the withered grass. The woman is joined by a man – her husband – and a little girl holds onto both their hands. She has a swing. Her father always comes out after work, with half-lidded eyes yet riveting in his daughter’s tight embrace. They are out there playing 30 minutes or so, called in for dinner as the sun is swallowed by the moon, and the day gives away to the night. The nanny prepares my dinner – a balanced meal they call it. I eat it by myself at the kitchen counter, waiting for the door to open. He always promises he’ll be home in time. He never is.