Written by: Alexandra R. Triplett
Cover art by: Ginger Triplett
As I was strolling on the pathway, through a spacious garden, the aroma of the gardenias filled the air reminding me of my grandmother. She is a widow who was once married to the mayor of their grand city.
My grandparent were married for forty years, he was the only man she ever loved. Whenever she speaks about him, there is a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye as if she still imagines him smiling at her.
I remember him as a softhearted man who was loved by family and friends, and those he governed. He was tall and trim, and the afternoon sun would silhouette his frame, casting long shadows across the lawn of their stately home.
But now that grandpa has passed-on, grandma has moved into the small cottage behind the big house; she used to play there as a child. She says, "The manor is too big and lonely without him."
Her bedroom is gardenia-white, and little colored bottles sit on her dresser. J.C., the cat, loves to sleep curled in a ball in the center of the sleigh styled bed.
Next to, and all around the cottage are gardens filled with gardenia bushes. We like to sit together on its wide front porch, in the wooden swing, and watch the squirrels and birds. She tells me stories about the things she used to do when she was a young child; I never grow tired of her telling those stories.
When I was a lot younger, I always enjoyed climbing up on her lap. She would sing to me songs, the ones that she use to sing to my mother. I would rest my head against her collar, she had about her the fragrance of gardenias.
I would ask her if she had a favorite grandchild, she always said, “No, there’s equal amount of room in my heart for all of you”. But I know now as I did then, secretly, I am her darling.
When I'm trouble, I know I can go to her; she always calms my worries. She is sweet and unselfish and wiser than the wise. I love her very much.
Grandma does not get many visitors now, but she says she doesn’t really mind. She loves the solitude; "people are busy and the city is too far away". I don't worry, as she seems content with her orange striped cat and two noisy lorikeets to keep her company.
However in the summer, she invites her friends and family to an annual party amongst the gardenias in full bloom. Dragonflies swoop down, and glass feeders beckon humming birds, and the sultry air is filled with the fragrance of gardenia.
Grandma loves ladybugs; she raises them as a hobby. She puts them in little netted bags and gives them to her friends, "they keep the aphids away."
But my favorite time is when the evening air grows cool, we walk the garden paths and look at the stars that fill the darkened sky. I tell her all my dreams, she tells me hers too.
I know someday she will be gone, but I will not be without her. For I hope to live in the garden cottage and walk with her in memory with an air of gardenias all around.