Christmas Eve Story 2021: Love in a Hard Scape

Fred Garlic was a bad seed from a hard scape

Despite the odds, and having landed between a rock and a hard place, Fred Garlic grew

How does your Garlic grow?

They asked his mother, Mary

But she, bedecked in purple arraignment, only bowed again

Silent and hard and contrary

Fred grew clove by clove

Next to the Cockleshells

(Who we’re always loud and raucous)

He scraped by, scavenging minerals from the stones and sand and rock which grounded him

He longed for the day he would be free from this place

No shade from the sun

No shelter from the rain


Fred Garlic stretched his leaves high every year

His scapes were elegantly curled, and much admired

They flattered him well

“What a rich purple globe of flowers”

Fred was helpless in the face of this attention

Eager to please

Always avoiding the stony silences

He grinned his way out of trouble

Smiled his way out of difficulty

Faded into the shadows away from conflict

They pushed and pulled him this way and that way until he near spun in circles

Spinning top Garlic

Never close

Never too far

Mary glared silent

At the sprout

She had seeded

He would not do

And he did

He tried

He could not do

Yet he did

He tried

Nothing for himself

His work

His love

His mind

How to care more

How to keep everyone okay

How to make it all work

Fred Garlic met lovely Anika Allium one lovely spring after a soft rain

The sun had just emerged from the clouds.

In the warm light, Anika Allium’s pastel globes glowed gently

Her leaves curved gracefully

He began to speak to her of sunlight and rain, the best minerals

Anika Allium saw the crowds who surrounded Fred Garlic and let him speak to her

He didn’t see her distraction

She was full of energy

He explained away her absences

She was full of fun

And years went by

His circle thinned as he danced to the tune of this new thing

The dance of love




The dance of convenience

Of social standing

Of opportunities

Flows differently in a garden of rocks and hard places

Fred Garlic danced and danced and danced

Anika Allium said she was too hot

He shaded

Too cool

He withdrew

Fred Garlic thought until his thinker hurt

He planned and made strategies

He woo’d and wondered

Anika Allium grew cooler, colder, crueler

“What more can I do?” He asked

She left

And the sky thundered

Rain poured

Lightning flashed

The rocky area flooded

The wind blasted




Fred Garlic looked up

Mary said nothing

Kept her scapes curled tight

And Fred Garlic resigned

Superficial good times

Joking and hangin out


Love though

Love is for suckers

And Fred Garlic knew he would

Never be that again

Fred Garlic cared for his friends

The few he made after Anika Allium’s departure

He cared for Betty Bonnet

He cared for Jasmine Jasmine

He cared for Cindy Sunflower

Life is too short not to enjoy it

Trouble was they would all leave him

What had he done but care for them?

Fred Garlic had beautiful cloves, all the plants said so

He was lonely but not friendless

He enjoyed the company of lovely flowers

He had given to everyone

When Jasmine Jasmine told him she loved him

He said he couldn’t commit

Cindy Sunflower was too intense

He backed away

Fred Garlic swayed in gentle breezes with Betty Bonnet

She was an exquisite shade of blue

Her laugh chimed

The rustle of her leaves

Always brought his attention back to her

When she said she wanted more from him than fun

He said he could not, but

She stayed

For just a while

Fred Garlic watched the exits

Betty Bonnet danced for him

When the sun set each night, she glowed

Fred Garlic counted weeks, then days, then minutes coated with a sheen of anxious dew

And then he broke

“Love is for suckers” he shouted at her

And she left too

Fred Garlic watched her go

Fine, he thought, she’ll find another plant and be happy

He looked at Cindy Sunflower, but she turned her petals away

He looked at Jasmine Jasmine laughing at Eric Ivy and his leaves drooped

He couldn’t look in Betty Bonnet’s direction for two days

Fred Garlic, he said to himself, look at her and see that she’s happy, and keep growing

He looked at Betty Bonnet

Her lovely petals were a dull blue grey, and her leaves were browning and bug-nibbled

When the breeze came through, the lovely rustle had become a scratchy sffft

Fred Garlic told himself it was not his fault

She could be happy, if she wanted

He determined that he would be happy and he straightened under the autumn sun

Luna Lilly caught him singing in the morning sun

Her ‘hello there’ brought him around

They spoke of morning

Fred Garlic saw the sunlight glow

Luna Lilly thought he set the stars in the sky itself

Was he wrong about love? He wondered

Could he risk love?

Learn to dance with someone, not for them?

Or would he close up like a dandelion at the end of each day?

He looked at Betty Bonnet.

Not only had she recovered her color, but her laughter chimed sweeter than ever

He saw she grew alone

A small circle of friends around her

When he turned back to Luna Lilly he resolved to try to let her love him at least a little bit

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