The Bloomin’ Bulbs Com­pe­ti­tion

Arabella - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - writ­ten by Cyn­thia Reyes

And try to will them to bloom. Noth­ing hap­pens. Back in­side the house, I start di­al­ing Les’s num­ber. Then I catch sight of the clock and hang up quickly. It’s only 6:30 a.m. and even I’m not crazy enough to phone some­one this early in the morn­ing. At 8:30, I phone. Les’s wife San­dra an­swers. I’m scared. "Good morn­ing, San­dra. It’s your Bloomin’ Com­peti­tor call­ing! Is there any­thing bloom­ing in your gar­den to­day?" "I’m pretty sure there’s noth­ing bloom­ing," San­dra says. "But I’ll get Les to the phone." Les is calm, un­ruf­fled, in sharp con­trast to my fever­ish pitch. I’m pretty sure it’s all an act. "Now, please don’t tell me that all your daf­fodils are bloom­ing," he says in his droll way. "Not quite, young man." (Les is a cou­ple of decades older than me. I usu­ally call him "young man" when I’m try­ing to be au­thor­i­ta­tive). "But don’t count your chick­ens yet. Any­thing could still hap­pen. It’s sup­posed to be a sunny day to­day!" Les laughs. I laugh. Nei­ther of us re­ally be­lieves we’ll get blooms to­day, but it’s im­por­tant to keep the pres­sure on. We wish each other a good day and hang up. Noth­ing blooms that day. Lady Spring has sud­denly gone very cool and every­thing is slowed down in the gar­den. The next day my daf­fodil buds are a brighter yel­low. But they’re still not open. The tiny blue scilla seems on the verge of bloom­ing. But not quite yet. Cro­cuses have bright green leaves with white stripes down the mid­dle. But no blooms. Hy­acinth flower heads stay closed tight. This isn’t look­ing good. While I wait for a de­cent hour to make my daily call to Les, an email drops into my In­box.

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