She looked at me directly in the eyes and said “let’s build a garden” with that beautiful smile that always made me feel so calm and stoic. I asked her “don’t you mean grow a garden?”. It never once crossed my mind that a garden should be manufactured as opposed to being naturally grown. She said “yeah, here, just buy some land and box off where you want the garden to be”. I definitely had a couple questions about this approach.

“I already have some land and a box of my own exactly how I wanted it. Why do I need more land and another box?” I questioned as honestly as I could. She retorted with “you’re too used to that land, you need to try something new. Get a new box. Fill it with new things for this garden”. I looked at her and couldn’t believe how quickly I changed my opinion on the matter. “I guess that makes sense”.

I went out and got some new land along with a new box all the while thinking through my head what if this doesn’t work out, what if the garden doesn’t fit or it’s not enough space just as she specified. “This is the new land? Great! Could be better, but good enough“. I wasn’t sure if I should feel insulted or complimented, no matter, this was going to be a garden!

“So now… where did you want to put the box?” … I wasn’t really an expert on gardens nor have I had any experience with them. “Just.. anywhere you want I guess.” I said sternly struggling to keep myself from falling over in confusion.

“No, you choose.” …

“I really don’t think I’m qualified.” …

She snapped back with the old’ “I don’t even know why I bother” … woah. “Was the garden not your idea?”… after the meta-escalation and frustration, she said “well, go dig some holes.”

That’s fair. I dig the holes, she would plant the seeds. I had this super-efficient process all planned out and ready to go. I start digging the holes.

Months go by and I ask her “how come you haven’t planted any seeds?” …

“So that’s my job too? Okay, sorry. But I need the holes to be much bigger. Go redo them.” …

…what? but.. okay. “Which ones exactly?” …

“Go to the garden, and look at every hole, and decide for yourself if they are the right size. If they are, come back and tell me so I can decide if you’re right then I could plant a seed.”

… It started to feel like I was being pressured into doing something that not only wasn’t necessary but also pointless if, at the end of it she would make her own decision anyway. Not sure what exactly I should be doing, I go over to the holes and start digging some a lot bigger. In retrospect, I can see that I definitely dug some too small and some too big but for the most part they could all be filled in once the seeds were planted right?

So for a couple months more, I took the time to redo each hole when about halfway through I notice she was watching pretty closely. One afternoon I turn around to ask her about the dimensions of the holes and she kicks me into the biggest one.

I fall in.

Firstly I’m thinking, how the hell did I manage to dig such a big hole. I was almost proud of myself for accomplishing something I’ve never done before, but more importantly, why the hell did she kick me into this hole. I look up and ask her to help me out, I was never that comfortable being in such claustrophobic spaces.

She looks at me and pauses for a couple of long seconds and says something that threw me off guard.

“Apologize.”

Erhmm… for what? I’m thinking, could it be the sizes of the holes? Was it the fact that I attributed the garden to being her idea or that I wouldn’t take 50% of the responsibility of taking care of the garden? wait… was I not already doing that? My confusion only worsened when she said “I’m sorry, I just can’t help you out until you apologize. If you don’t know what for, that’s just too bad since I’ve been putting up with it for months.”

This confusion quickly turns into frustration and annoyance with this catch-22 she’s practically put me in. Her quixotic and irrational behavior clearly must be clouding her judgment right? She wants me to apologize for something she started in the first place. I’m somewhat of a pragmatist so I urge her to let me know exactly what I’d be apologizing for.

I believe in the truth, and I don’t think humans should be gaslit in this manner let alone succumb to such a debasing ideal such as “showing vulnerability for the sake of it”. There should always be a point when it comes to disagreements, so where was it?

If you rob me of redemption citing correlation = causation, I’d say you’d need to check yourself. Then again, what if I really needed to apologize for something? Is there a way this catch-22 loop could be lifted somehow? Not if she doesn’t want it to.

I ask her one more time… “Is it possible you could be a little more specific as to what I’ve done wrong?”. She takes a picture of the garden and sends it to me. It’s the same holes I’ve been staring at trying to fix this entire time. I look back up, and she’s no longer there. I’m trapped in this circular rut.

I spent months building this garden with the promise that seeds would be planted, without even being capable of fathoming the possibility that she would never plant them.

Wait…

Why build this garden? Why dig these holes? Why place this box? Why buy this land?

This thought process led me in circles for days. Without the truth, there’s just no way to solve and answer these questions I’ve been forced to ask. I spent all this time worrying about the holes in the garden, I wasn’t given the opportunity to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.

She’s definitely gone.

Humans tend to “put up” with things just for the experience. As if playing the lottery is in some warped way respectful to the lottery tickets. They would do something for the sake of doing it to better themselves because no matter how you slice it, you’re getting all the cake if you’ve got the knife. It just bothered me that the prospect of a garden was something I grew to want, from not wanting it at all based on a force-fed fairytale. Then it hit me.

In reality, I never had a garden. There were never any seeds to begin with.