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She loved plants. Every time she was going to the market, she would come back with a small pot of green joy. In March it was tulips, in April small strawberry plants, in September chrysanthems. They weren’t all surviving for long, most lingered for a week or two and then faded away. Too much water, not enough water, too much sun in this corner of the house, not enough sun in the other room. I tried to explain her so many times that it was a waste of time, a waste of effort. She wouldn’t listen. Her small garden was taking up half of our living-room, we had to manouevre through the colourful pots and pick up dried flowers every hour of the day.

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Last week she came home with a fluffy pot of basil. She had tried to keep basil alive three times before and failed over and over again. I am going to cook him directly, she said in an apologetic voice. Pesto pasta for dinner?

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Walnuts and fresh basil leaves. Parmesan and olive oil. Pasta al dente. Extra parmesan on top. A leave or two for decoration. A walnut or two, for the show. The windows wide open, spring air heavy with singing birds. I’ll do the dishes I said, leaving her caressing the thorns of her small cactus. In the kitchen, a small plop of the basil was left in the pot. It still survives.

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