I found a garden one day. It was quite pretty, beautiful actually. Every sight was shrouded in colours. Colours of flowers, trees, fruit, everything. I had danced that day, amongst the flowers reaching for the sun. I had sat, contented, picking cherries from a tree. And I had walked, toeing the edge of the gilded sea that stretched out beyond my sight. It was what brought me here now. Wondering on this third day.
A boat had sat shored against a tree, a little push took it easily to the water. And my curiosity fevered until I reached for the boat one day, and pushed myself off into the water. I yearned to discover what lay beyond this sea, to know every reach of my garden. I rowed quickly at first, hoping the answer lay just beyond the reach of the crest. Then I slowed, as all sight became water. I did not tire though, my arms moved in their wake. Each moment, I rowed towards the sun. The first night came and went and still I rowed. The second night came and went and still I rowed. And then the third day came. I watched as the sun rose over the direction of my garden. I was no longer rowing towards the sun, but away from it. I knew that I had not lost my way, it had merely changed on me.
As the sun rose away from me, I saw, on the tips of my eyes, a wake of land, that stretched out over the horizon.
So now the third day, I stood on a mountain of shore. And before me sat a garden, so different from mine own. Trees stood bent, twisted, gnarled. Fruit rotted on their corpses. Flowers lay wrinkled in the dust. Colour was far from sight. Except that splash. The splash that played into my eye. The one that had just come and stood, with her hand resting against a tree.
"Who are you?" Her voice wasn't harsh, but not inviting.
"I came-" I wondered whether I could trust this girl, the one that stood before me reciprocating the expression of my face. "I came from across the sea, from my garden there."
"There's another garden across the sea?"
"Yes, but it's pretty, beautiful, not like this one."
"My garden isn't beautiful?" She angered, red flushing to her cheeks. "How is this not beautiful?" she gestured to everything around her.
"Dead?" She reached for a flower and picked it from its stalk. She fingered the petals, melodiously. And in her face I saw the beauty with which I had looked upon the flowers. "How is this dead so full of life?"
I stepped towards and reached out. She did not cower, just let me take the flower from her hand. It crumpled in my hand. "Would a flower so fresh break like that?"
She reached and picked a piece of fruit. It went to her mouth and her eyes showed the sweet sublime she tasted. "Here, take a bite."
I took it from her hand, eyeing the mangled fruit in front of me. Cautiously I moved the fruit to my mouth. "I can't do it, it smells awful."
"Then it must just be you."
"Both of us?"
"Both of us?" I repeated.
"What's your garden like?"
"It's beautiful. The flowers stretch to the sun, the trees stand tall in their shells, the fruit erupts into a plethora of tastes. And the colour. Everywhere is beautiful." I spoke and I missed my garden. I missed what I had had, and yearned to return.
"That's what it's like here." She looked behind me. "Your boats broken, we'll have to get that fixed."
I turned my head. It looked the same as yesterday. "No it's not." I eyed around, finding a fragmented boat sitting hovelled under a tree. "Your boat needs fixing."
"No it doesn't."
And it was then that we realised what there was to find. This garden was hers and so beautiful to her. But mine rested past the sun, and so I could not find the beauty here.
"Will you stay?" She asked quietly. And her voice was so longing, so like she wanted me to stay.
"I'll stay a day."
She smiled. Took my hand. Lead me away.
We sat under a tree, talking. Until I saw something from the corner of my eye. I stood, dusting dirt from my clothes.
"Where are you going?"
I didn't answer, just walked. It was still there, hidden behind trees that starched my arms but left no marks. A flower. A flower so full of life, of beauty, of colour.
"Look at this." I held up the flower. "It's beautiful."
"What do you mean?"
"I can see it, it's beautiful!"
From them things continued to bloom. Flowers, tree, fruit. Just little things at first, the more. Until I could see everything. All the beauty, all the colour. Everything.
I could never know how long passed, how many days we spent together in that garden. We grew, just as the trees did.
Until one day. "I have to go back."
"I just need to. I will return one day, I just want to see my garden again."
"I'll come with you." She was persistent, but I could not let her.
So I said my farewell, and once again pushed my boat off into the water. I rowed as I had before, not tiring. Until the third day, when the sun rose away from me.
And I reached the shore. Wondering on this third day.
Trees stood bent, twisted, gnarled. Fruit rotted on their corpses. Flowers lay wrinkled in the dust. Colour was far from sight. My garden had died.
And I realised what there was to realise. You can only have one garden, and mine was not here.
I walked through it, trying, trying to think of the memories I held of it, trying, trying, to return it to its former glory. But my mind kept returning to what lay behind me.
I decided to return to the garden I had once rowed to. But when I looked, I saw the boat, fragmented. I pushed it to the water, and it sank.
Here in this garden, I was trapped. So I sat on the shore, and rested my head in my knees, and I cried.
And I cried for many days, until I heard a familiar creak. A creak that told me the door had been opened, and someone had just entered their garden.