Literature 6-24-2008

miniStories: “Green” by Michelle Leon

This winning miniStories submission, "Green" by Michelle Leon, was chosen by writer and Lit 6 Project performer Stephanie Ash.



”Common little guys, you can do it.” She coaxed the seedlings in her window. The outline of their pots was staining the old white paint of her sill. She looked at those little sprouts pushing out of dirt, curled, prehistoric and so green—dawn-of-man style they rose—tomatoes, thyme, peas, hollyhock, parsley, sweet peas all emerging. They had all gotten long and leggy, those poor little plants. There was not enough light, so they stretched for the sun. Now, their stems were weak and thin. They will not survive being transplanted all because she started them way too early. It had just seemed like spring was never going to come.

Curled up in her window seat, cup of tea in hand, she was effortlessly pretty in a ’70s sort of way—all Rita Coolidge curly brown hair, clothes casual, but well fit, her fingers covered in rings—silver, turquoise, and amber. Since the divorce, it was small pleasures that kept her going. An afternoon nap, a five o’clock drink, a scratchy record playing on an old turn table, the smell of the photo albums retrieved from the basement, moldy and rich, her classes in night school and the seedlings in her window.

“You look young for your age,” she is often told and she still wears her cutest sundresses and sandals, although she knows that the time when all her favorite clothes will become age inappropriate is drawing near. But, the monkey boys still like her. She calls them monkey boys—those unaccountable, beautiful boys that make everyone laugh and get all the attention. She was thinking how innocent it all started out last night—all bittersweet Monday happy hour to say goodbye to a friend that was moving. A shout from a balcony of a red brick condo on a busy street, a girl they knew, and her work friends. It felt giddy heading up those stairs, with her happy hour buzz and chunky sandals stomping. It was good to be outside. It was good to be alive. She couldn’t remember why all her new friends called her “pork chop” but she liked it. They yelled down to strangers and put flowers in their hair. She stayed after her friend left. Six or seven drinks, monkey boy in the car, in the house, couch cushions on the floor, clothes littered up the stairs. She woke up alone in her house with the front door left open. Her “house of shame” she called it as she told her friend the story, feeling for just a moment that it was fun to be a bad girl. Later, the ache she felt was located in the spot between her shoulders and her breast bones and didn’t go away for two days.

“You can do it. You will grow big and strong in the bright sunshine,” she promised her little sprouts as she misted them gently, “if you just make it through this part.”

About the author: Michelle Leon is finishing her degree in creative writing at Metropolitan State University. She loves music, writing, cooking and all things that are fun. She returned to her home state in 2007 after spending 8 years in New Orleans. She thinks that New Orleans is the perfect place to learn how to be a person. Back in the day, she rocked the bass in Babes in Toyland.