Tea Leaves and Gold Pins


Match Eighteen: Dogwood

Alfred smiled out the window. Florence looked prettier than the previous two months that he met her. Her skin had a healthier glow to it. She smiled a little bit more. The woman even had more energy around the summertime. He watched her work in her garden. Such tiny hands tended to her plants. She hummed a happy tune from the old days. Florence took a moment to smell her basil plants.

Curious, Alfred slid open the screen door and wandered outside. The woman looked up at him.

"Did you want something?" she asked. The American man paused for a moment.

"What'cha doing?" he asked. Florence looked down at her plants.

"I'm growing some herbs for the summer," she said.


"For cooking." She cut some basil and held it up to him. "Here, smell."

Alfred took a sniff. Florence gave him a little smile.

"Smells good, huh?" she asked. Alfred turned to her with genuine interest.

"What is that?" he asked.

"Basil," Florence replied. "That's not all I have. Here." She pointed beyond her little garden. "That's rosemary over there. Here is oregano. I also have parsley, and thyme."

"All of that is for cooking?" he asked. The woman giggled.

"No, no," she said. "The tea is for drinking." Alfred blinked at her.

"You're growing tea too?" he asked.

"That's right," she said.

"Why do you do it?"

"Because I like it." She reached forward to clip more basil. Alfred sat beside her in quiet admiration. He had grown to enjoy being in her company. She didn't mind him coming by the house almost every day. The woman didn't even question his motives.

"Say," she said. "I've having another barbeque this Saturday. I would like it if you joined us." He knows that there's no meat at this barbeque as usual, but he smiles anyway.

"Sure," he said. She smiles to herself as she tends to her plants.

"Hey, could you teach me how to deal with these herb-thingies?" the American man asked. She paused and glanced at him.

"You want me to show you how to grow herbs?" Florence asked. Alfred nodded.

"Yeah," he said. Florence placed the basil in her basket.

"Come in closer and I'll show you," she said. She didn't mind his chin touching her shoulder.

"Okay, first you must know which one is which," the woman told him.

"Yeah," Alfred said. "So which ones are they?"

"I'll take my take with these, okay?" Florence said. The American man nodded before his teacher went on with lesson one.

From inside, Lydia watched them the whole time. She had grown softer towards Alfred over the past two months, but she still didn't trust him. He still didn't know his own motives for being with her sister yet.

You better learn what they are fast, Lydia thought towards Alfred as he looked at the different herbs with Florence. Otherwise, it won't be good for all of us if and after you learn the truth.

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