Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bartholomew in the Garden - Story

Bartholomew in the Garden is actually a short series of short-short stories all in one.  I wanted to give the reader a sense of what the typical activities in the garden are and Bartholomew's experience of them.  I also wanted to give Bartholomew some alone time with his friends to deepen their relationships.  So, we end up with Bartholomew weeding with Claire, tying up tomato plants with Topping and Charlotte and harvesting with Aunt Josephine and Uncle Jeffrey - and apparently Mr. McBardon.  These are happy times for Bartholomew; he has friends, a garden, his pets and his small family.  The stories beyond this point include the incidents that lead up to the ending of The Book.  There will be 48 stories in all.  Bartholomew in the Garden is #30.  Enjoy!

One hot and humid mid-summer day, Claire came by to help Bartholomew with some weeding and watering. The garden had been producing greens for a couple of weeks and the other plants were growing tall. The work was rather easy as the vegetables were now starting to crowd out the weeds. Bartholomew enjoyed Claire's presence. She was direct and he didn't have to assume anything about her. He found this made it simple for him to share himself, too.

“So, you are moving out of Ned's place?” asked Bartholomew.

“Yeah. At the end of the month,” said Claire.

Bartholomew stopped weeding for a moment. “I'm sorry to hear that,” he said.

“It's okay. It isn't going to work out. I'm not sure why we got together in the first place...” Claire stopped herself and looked at Bartholomew. “Thanks. I appreciate it.”

“I just want you to know that Ned hasn't been blabbing stuff to me,” assured Bartholomew. “In fact, I haven't seen him for quite awhile. He seems too have decided to not come around.”

“I'm sorry about that. It's his choice, but obviously he feels uncomfortable with some of our shared friends.”

“I wouldn't put too much of this on your splitting up. Ned used to come over a lot but our relationship was always a bit awkward. I really don't know what to do when he gets so quiet. He can go the longest time without saying anything.”

“Oh god, some of his pauses are so painful,” Claire said relieved that someone else had noticed this same quality about Ned. She began to laugh. “There was this one time I asked him where he wanted to go out to eat and he stared at me for two minutes without saying anything. Two minutes! There was a clock on the wall behind him and I actually timed it. Two minutes!”

“Whoa,” said Bartholomew.

“How are things with The Nanny?” asked Claire.

Bartholomew bent down and started weeding again. “Things are... fine.”

“That didn't sound very convincing,” responded Claire.

“Well, I don't know...I feel funny. I've never talked about my relationship with a woman with a woman before. It seems odd.”

“Go ahead,” encouraged Claire. “I promise I won't bite...or laugh.”

“Well, things are a little strange,” began Bartholomew. “When we get together we have a great time. We talk about everything and anything. We laugh and we talk about hard stuff and we do fun things...”

“But...” added Claire.

“But,” continued Bartholomew, “whenever we are...intimate...she always stops things at... second or third base. We've... you know...touched all over... and made out and even spent the night together. But we never go... all the way. It's getting frustrating.”

“Wow, do you feel like she really likes you?”

Bartholomew winced at this question and tossed his weeds onto a pile. “I think so. She says so.”

“A lot of people say a lot of things, Bartholomew. Do you feel like she really cares about you?”

“I think so. I don't know. Sometimes I feel like she is trying to teach me something instead of being there with me. Like she thinks someone else is supposed to be my lover. She's just filling in until then.”

“Ouch,” said Claire.

“What do you mean?” asked Bartholomew.

“Is that what you're feeling or what you think she's feeling?”

Bartholomew thought for a moment. “It's what I think she is thinking,... I think.”

“Well, then, Ouch,” said Claire.

“Yeah, ouch,” agreed Bartholomew.

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