Flash Fiction: The Fundamentals of Caring

Image created on Canva

I own forty-one plants. No, that’s not correct — to say “own” makes me sound superior and materialistic. Who owns anything? “Take care of” sounds appropriate.

The house I live in is small. It has no grand hallway or spare space to create a focal point. Everything sits in place, like a well-organised toolbox. Nor do I crave anything more, neither do I feel the need to declutter. However, some would say forty plants require decluttering. But the things with plants, you see, is once you give them a home, they must be grown. Sometimes when I look at my plants in passing, I notice some have flaws: burnt tips, impeding twigs, and lacklustre buds. I want to prune them, to get rid of the unattractiveness, but who am I to impose this condition over them? If the parts which no longer serve them wanted to fall away, they would. My job is to water them, touch them, speak softly to them, and love them.

Once I read that Nikola Tesla fell in love with a pigeon. Perhaps, on some transcendental level, I’m in love with my plants. When they fail to grow, I feel unhappy, or, maybe, it’s when I’m unhappy that they look as though they are wilting. Do I influence them? Maybe they wilt because they sense the horrible thoughts I have about them. I do. It’s all part of the illusion. It’s when your mind becomes preoccupied in these thoughts that you’re in trouble.

There was a plant I wasn’t fond of. I brought it home because I thought I could fix its discoloured exterior. Turns out, that’s its nature. The only reason I wanted to fix it is that I’m prone to perfection. Not to worry, this is my problem. My expectation. Perfection doesn’t exist, not in passing anyway. I realised perfection can only be found in the present, because everything is perfect when I focus my attention on it — It’s hard to do. My attention sways hither and thither. Like now. We’re no longer talking about plants. There’s an external condition that bothers me: a cat has been sleeping out in the cold because it is unloved. It’s jet-black and gloomy. I don’t know much about cats, so I’m afraid I can’t tell you its breed. And I’m not sure whether it’s male or female, but I want to love it like I love my plants. I want to care for it. I have an urge. I catch myself worrying about it. I pray to God to take care of it. I’m sorry, I’m allowed plants in my building but not cats.

The other day I read a passage from The Bible — Jesus once said, “Ye are gods.” Maybe not in the Divine sense but we are, aren’t we? We each reside in our individual worlds and for the things we take care of and the creatures that surrender their love to us, we are gods. I can take care of the hapless cat as much as God can.

And if for some reason I can’t, I should at least believe that someone else will come along, who can love it just as much.

Thank you for reading.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store



I tell stories about life, about imperfect humans. Fiction and non-fiction.