The fourth month doesn't bring quite what Gia expected of her smooth-sailing relationship...
Month Four: Pitcher Plants
“It isn’t your fault. They all suck. Every single one of them,” Kaitlin said with her best attempt at true outrage for something that didn’t involve her.
“No, they don’t. I mean I hope they don’t,” I admitted. “If all men suck like this, then we’re both screwed.”
Kaitlin raised her wine glass, sloshing a little over the rim. “Might as well turn to women. Cheers.” She drained her glass dramatically.
“I just don’t understand. Three and a half months of ‘Oh, I love you, Gia. You’re so amazing, Gia.’ Then this.”
“Guys suck. There isn’t anything else to understand.”
“But why so suddenly. I wasn’t the one making all the plans and taking up his time. He did that.”
“No, you weren’t.” She tipped the bottle to her glass and the red wine glugged into it.
Taking a bite of bitter dark chocolate, I thought a minute.
“And I didn’t give him a hard time when he made plans and then had to cancel. If he feels guilty, that’s on time.”
Kaitlin agreed. “Yeah. He didn’t have to get all dramatic. He ‘wants to take a break’? I mean, seriously. That’s a line from a Friends episode. Not something you tell your girlfriend.”
I took a gulp of wine and began to rant. “I know he’s stressed. So am I. I know he’s worried about life after graduation. Duh! Me, too. What I don’t understand is how he gets off telling me grad school is so much more important than undergrad. We both have projects, and papers, and exams. If he can’t see that I’m busy, and stressed — don’t forget stressed — then maybe we do need a break. A break up!”
“He’s an ass. Good ribbons,” Kaitlin answered.
“Did you say ‘good ribbons’?” I laughed, hard, wine bubbling at the back of my throat.
Pouting, she rolled her eyes. “You know what I meant. Besides, there are plenty of other guys out there. Better to know after just a few months.”
“But you just said all the guys out there suck. So which is it, Kait? Are there better guys or do they all suck?” I couldn’t help but poke fun at my friend. She’d had just a little too much wine and I liked to rile her when she was tipsy.
“Well, I think they do suck. But maybe they don’t all suck as bad as Ethan does.”
I rose from the couch, heading the kitchen for another bottle. However, a knock on the door sent me in the other direction.
“Hey, you Georgia Barone?” a pimply faced guy wearing the requisite fraternity pledge beanie, complete with propeller, asked as I opened the door.
He had a clipboard in one hand and a gift bag in the other.
“Yeah, I’m Gia. Can I help you?”
“Sign here,” he said, handing me the clipboard. Then he pulled an odd plant from the bag and handed it to me, reaching back into the paper sack to fish out a small envelope. “See ya.”
“Uh, thanks,” I said staring at the yellow-green plant.
Kaitlin, not willing to wait for me to get the wine, stood in the kitchen fighting with the corkscrew.
“Let me get that. You’re going to break the bottle,” I said walking to her quickly, “or your arm.”
“Fine. You do it.” She grabbed the plant from my hand and thrust the wine bottle into it.
I worked to cut the foil cover from the top of the bottle, patiently scoring it all the way around.
“Could you take a little longer with that?” Kaitlin asked, annoyance in her voice. Seeming to notice the plant for the first time, she added, “And who sent the pitcher plant?”
“Is that what it is?” I took it back from her and looked it over. The chartreuse stems hollowed out to create a long tube with a leaf-like canopy extending over it. I couldn’t tell if it was a single plant with multiple shoots or a few plants sharing the small clay pot.
“Yep. They eat flies.”
“Flies? Seriously? A carnivorous plant?”
Her eyes widened as though she were surprised by my ignorance. “Yeah, they eat flies. They trap them in the pitcher part here. It collects water and holds the bugs. Then it sucks all the nutrients out of them.”
“Alright, Kait. I will no longer ask why you watch NatGeo.”
I flipped over the envelope. Inside, a gold, embossed G decorated a cream-colored card.
“What’s it say?” Kaitlin asked curiously.
“Let’s see.” Opening the card, I recognized Ethan’s steady handwriting. “It’s from Ethan.”
“Of course it is. I’m guessing he isn’t pleading for your return?”
Taking another swig of wine, I prepared myself for whatever type of note would accompany a fly-eating plant.
Gia, you captured my soul the same way this plant imprisons it’s prey. And like the plant, I suck. We may not be together, but you still hold my heart, my mind, my love. Find a way to forgive me. I’m not myself without you in my life. P.S. I was wrong. We are “pitcher” perfect together. — Ethan
I watched my roommate’s face shift from her original dismay to mild amusement as I read.
“He’s not himself without you?” she asked.
“I guess not.” While my heart welled a bit, I still stung where his jabs had hit mere days earlier.
“He’s sounding pretty needy, G. I mean what kind of guy says that stuff?” Kaitlin, normally in love with love, spoke truthfully when she drank. Tonight was no exception.
Cautiously, I considered his apology. He may actually feel badly about his over reaction his overwhelming schedule. But, he may just be lonely. I knew he didn’t deal well without some kind of attention. But, until a few days ago, I hadn’t minded offering that attention. Was I still alright with that job?
“So, whatcha gonna do? Are you gonna call him?”
I looked at Kaitlin, turned back to the plant, and panned to the wine. Whatever I decided could wait until the bottle and chocolate bar in front of me were finished.