The garden was both their idea. Something they could do together as a couple. They each had their part in it too. She remembers his was tilling the earth and laying out the rows for their first planting. She loved watching him too. The precision that he put into the planning of it. He drew it out on paper even. She loved watching him so engaged in their shared project. They were going to grow something magnificent together. Did I mention the sweat? She loved seeing him sweat too.
Her job would be planting but only after they agreed together about what would go into the ground. And so one afternoon they sat down together and they came up with a list. Each row dedicated to something they together had chosen to nurture.
Watering and weeding they would do together. Both such big important jobs, it would take them both working at it all the time they agreed. And that became their promise to each other. And for a long time it work splendidly. She remembers vividly the first harvest of the tomatoes. They were so excited. They ran outside in their stocking feet hand in hand. And standing there in the dirt they picked each one gently, careful to remove each without bruising or scarring. They went inside and made love afterwards. Yes they did.
There is still a garden today. You can see it from the back of the house from every window. It needs weeding and watering. She will get to it. She always does. He waters it sometimes if she asks him to. He calls her asking badgering. Inside it kills her a little each time she has to ask him to do his part, take his turn. He does it, but it is not the same as him choosing to do it on his own, because of their promise to one another. But the garden gets what it needs to survive another season.
The tomatoes she will use for today's supper she alone picked. The onion she will use from the garden was not their idea for the garden at all. She knows because she keeps the original list in the top drawer filed under "Important matters, do not destroy". In fact, he planted those onions without her knowing, without as much as a mention. And she has no idea when it happened, but it did. And now it takes up space in their garden they set out to grow and nurture together. Worse still, she doesn't even like onion and he knows it too. This was a decision he made and now she has to live with.
Right after supper and before the sun sets, as the night air cools she will go out to the garden and do her part, both their parts. And the garden even without its fertilizer, will get just enough of what it needs to see another season.
She will try to pretend she does not see the onions he put into a garden they both promised was theirs alone.