Happy and satisfied, I lay on a blanket in the grass in my garden behind the church, squinting against the sun. What a morning! With great relish, I stretched, touching the blades of grass at the head of the blanket with my fingertips. The grass was still a bit damp and cool, as the sun hadn’t warmed up the ground.
Suddenly, I heard a strange rustling next to me. Startled, I pulled back my arms and listened hard.
I heard it again.
It sounded like autumn leaves, when you walk through them, or like paper, when you crumple it up. Well, I knew I had lost all sense of time in Father Michael’s bedroom, but surely it wasn’t autumn yet. It had been good, but not that good.
I opened my eyes. The chestnut tree’s leaves weren’t moving. There was absolutely no wind. So, that couldn’t be the reason for the rustling sound.
It rustled again.
From the corner of my eye, I saw something moving. It gave me the creeps. Slowly, I turned my head to the side. When I discovered the reason of the rustling, I held my breath. The Snow storm didn’t just had its white buds, but all leaves were white, too! It was a white ball of a shrub.
I rolled onto my side and propped up on my elbow. I marveled at the sight of the bush. How was that possible?
I got up from the blanket. Hesitating, I walked over to the Snow storm. My hand reached out for it, wanting to touch the wondrous leaves. But just before my fingertips could feel them, I pulled back my arm when I heard the rustle again, as if I had burnt myself. The leaves started to wobble. Shocked, I watched them fall softly to the ground. An alarm bell started to ring inside of me, telling me it wasn’t wise to touch the plant. I wrapped my arms around me. Suddenly, I was freezing. Usually, I felt very comfortable in the garden, but that was over now. It also didn’t help, when I heard another rustling and watched the leaves, which had lay in the grass, going back to the shrub’s branches. What was this supposed to mean?
I whirled around and ran into Father Michael’s office, where he sat at his desk. Clumsily, I stumbled over the last step and literally fell into the room. At the very last moment, I could catch my fall by grabbing the back rest of the Father’s chair, holding onto it like a lunatic.
“Jesus Christ, Ada! What are you doing?” he blurted out, putting a hand over his heart. The tugging at his chair had given him quite a turn.
“I’m sorry, but there is, there is, there is –,” I stuttered excitedly, pointing at the garden.
“What is it?” the Father asked impatiently, looking at me grimly.
“A shrub,” I answered, still completely out of breath.
He raised his eyebrows, surprised about my impressive discovery. “I know there is a shrub, Ada. There are lots of shrubs in the garden,” he said.
Oh, what a bright spark he was! I knew what my garden looked like.
“A shrub with white leaves!” I said. My heart was still in my mouth because of the excitement. But apparently Father Michael wasn’t very interested in my information. He just stared at me with his black eyes, silently. Then I noticed he wasn’t breathing. Without saying a word, he got up from his chair and walked to the door, which led to the garden. Slowly, he scanned the green, finally finding the biological wonder: the white shrub.
“Mhh,” I heard him make and saw him scratching his chin.
Some of his “Mhh’s” weren’t good signs. This was one of them.
I watched his eyes narrow. He gritted his teeth, while examining the shrub, seeing the leaves change their color and falling to the ground.
“What’s going on, Michael?” I asked.