Red Geraniums

At this time most days Max lost at least three games of cards. Fish, poker, hearts even snap; it didn’t matter Ruth always won. But today it was different and a terracotta pot full of red geraniums was to blame. Max folded his paper-grey hands, unfolded them, sighed. He just had to wait it out, Ruth would emerge from the barricaded bedroom eventually and when she did they would play a round of gin and she would be happy.
Patterned light chased shadows from the sunroom as Max played a rhythmic game of patience, the cards set out in crooked columns. Mornings were the sharp washing powder smell wafting down the hall and Ruth, rich brown hair fading to grey at the roots, a hungry shine in her eye. From here her days only went up hill. Forty-or so minutes of cards and then serious gardening time. Those red geraniums had followed them everywhere, he reflected, the Berry Street house, their Calder Crescent flat – a pair of sevens! By now Max would already be preoccupied with some job that Ruth had set for him, but not today.
Yesterday the day had begun normally, Max had put the tea on while Ruth shooed Pushkin, their great grey cat, outside as she hung the washing. After a particularly grueling game of crazy eights Ruth came out victorious. She had taken the teacups to the kitchen with a barely concealed smile of satisfaction, while Max had gone to start the lawnmower. He navigated his way through what he called the intensive care unit; an area outside his shed where Ruth kept any plants that needed special attention. Among the wounded was the red geranium whose leaves were yellow in places. The terracotta pot it inhabited was perched on the stone retaining wall when Max pushed the bad-tempered lawnmower passed and bumped it slightly. He started at the violent end to the geranium and its terracotta home. The commotion brought Ruth running, her concern quickly turning to anger as she realised the mess of soil and broken limbs was all that was left of her precious geranium. He had apologised, but they both knew how many times Max had warned her about the dangerous positioning of her emergency room.
It was passed noon when Ruth finally broke down her barricade. Max had been hauling an indignant Pushkin outside and came in to find her shuffling precisely.
“Fish?” She asked.
Max passed Ruth the ace she needed; at least he had won something. She would never know his liberation of the geranium was no accident, she would never know how he’d enjoyed it.

Red Geraniums


Joined December 2007

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Artist's Description

I liked the idea that a living thing like a pot plant could be a character and cause conflict.

Artwork Comments

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