“How long were you gone?” Jason asked. His face was screwed up into a look of confusion with just a hint of judgment.
“I wasn’t even gone a full day! I left for Carol’s at 8 and came back before noon today. It looked fine when I left!” Nicole raised her hand to her brow and rubbed. “At least I think it did.” She looked down at the hard brown knot of sticks and leaves that had once been a brilliant purple ficus benjamina-style plant. She stared at it and moved her hands from her head to the soil around the stem, half believing that a clue to its sudden death would reveal itself. Nothing of the sort happened.
“Maybe it was aphids? Or a fungus or something. The leaves look weird.” Jason reached for a leaf and it fell into his hand as soon as he touched it along with four others that littered the table. He inspected it with the care and precision of someone that has more concern than facts to contribute to the matter. The leaf was dark brown and dry as parchment. It was shriveled like a used juice pouch, its edges crumbled toward the center.
Nicole pulled her finger out of the soil and wiped off the clinging dirt on the side of the pot. “Its still wet in there! I don’t get it.”
“Yeah that’s weird as fuck. I’d go back to Grow and see if they’ll take back custom jobs. I’m really sorry, I know how excited you were to get one of these things.” Jason felt a little guilty. Not only had he insisted that she splurge for a custom color, but he had been the first person to show her the trendy new plants popping up in windows across the city. more...