After Benjamin’s father’s ominous exit, people of that cultivating village became gentle towards Viola and Mandi. And in no time, Viola changed the entire field of vision for everyone. From the odd and unsolicited family they became tender and sociable, at least on the outside. A bunch of sketchy neighbours also came to condole the departure of the husband. Viola accepted their compassion earnestly. A handful of other adjustments were also done in and around that house. And only after the house is buoyant enough, Viola considered Benjamin’s return.
Three whole months, i.e ninety days later Viola and Mandi welcomed Benjamin back. Benjamin’s grandmother and her new husband came to drop him off.
The house was exactly the same as before, the ‘buoyant’ that Viola thought she had created was the only major change in the backyard. Benjamin revolved around the house like the kid in pursuit of some treasure. He was very happy about his return. He has never been away from home for this long. An excitement was lurking in Benjamin’s mind as he ran to and forth in front of his room. Viola thought it was the best time to introduce him to the new addition to their house. She opened the door to the backyard. A bright bloom of developing flowers blazed merrily across the entire yard. Viola thought the colors would be lovely for Benjamin, that the flowers would canvas his mind completely from the night of her husband’s death, she hoped secretly.
Benjamin stood motionless for a minute. His mother was happy to leave him there. The flowers stretched all around him and he felt a kind of jerk from within. The bright yellow and the crimson red, the eerie color of fire and the vulture color of purple….all the brightness in the world neatly condensed in the small petals of the tender flowers. And in that moment, a thought collided in his mind like a bulldozer grazing through fire and water simultaneously.
The fire was his mother from the night of his father’s death and the water was his mother who gave him this garden. The equation was too simple for him to overlook. The only new one in that house was the garden of blooming chrysanthemum flowers forced to take place..in place of his father. He jumped back and threw the creepy petals at once and ran into his room.
His discomfort for bright colors began that very day. Benjamin loved his mother very much but every time she asked him how much he loves the new plants, he felt a little uncomfortable around her. The bright hue started making him anxious and he felt nervous and suspicious around them. Viola told him that his father has left them for good, that he is never going to come and haunt their lives ever again. Only if she knew that the beloved plants she used to cover the mind of his adolescent son were haunting him throughout the day and the night. Over time Benjamin started getting scared of Chrysanthemum flowers .
When they bloomed throughout the spring, it felt like the screechy laugh of his father. The one laugh that used to come out of him whenever he won some money at the betting house.
Winters were even worse, they felt like the lifeless,bloodless body of his father. The fear-distorted face and and its still eyed refusal to comply because the last command was written by his wife. The nib was broken when his wife handed him the death penalty, and planted flowers on him.
Time was growing on Benjamin in that house. Every season of every year, along with every life cycle of those pretty flowers, he became a little less crisp, a little less novel, and a little less juvenile. He was sent to his grandmother’s back and forth a few times before Viola finally decided to ship him to the city permanently to continue his education.
The education, over the years which became the only normal thing in his life, his most prized education. His augmenting youth and the subsequent metamorphosis in life’s ever changing scenes made things lighter than before. The shock went away in a few years…..things levelled off in a strange way. The focus and allegiance Benjamin showed towards his education landed him a scholarship to one of the best institutions in the entire state.