Of Language and Botany

By Harsimran Kaur

He had started learning German – at least that is what he told his wife who was doing the laundry in the basement of their New England house that they’d brought from Mr. Peyoli, a veteran. His wife gave him mixed expressions, as she always does to his experiments. In the New England winters, when they’d be too cold to speak to each other, he’d tell her that he’d been too omnipotent about their lives; that they needed to be separate and live on their own, and have different microwaves for mac and cheese. She’d disagreed for the most part because, oh well, now that they’ve sailed across the world away for a world, they were too lazy for a divorce.

It had in them – a thought- growing inwards. So it went, there was a baby in their hands after nine months.

Then there was fall. And he had started to learn French – at least that is what he told his wife, who was making casseroles in the kitchen. This time too, she’d given varied expressions after hearing about her husband’s new venture. After then, there was talk of changing the baby’s clothes, so he went into the darkling empyrean outside. The leaves were the color of the sky. He plucked one from the stem and observed its midrib – something he learned in his grade 9 biology class. His language teacher had tried, at least twice, to explain to him that he should instead edify himself with botany. But he had insisted on learning the languages.

So there he was – in an unknown land with an even unknown language in his mouth. He put the leaf in his mouth because it was right there in his hand. It was not sweet, or so he’d thought, for that matter. Everything appeared like language to him now, and he was convinced that he should ask his wife to speak in the same language as him.

To unlearn the language that he was currently learning, he left it and started learning Dutch – at least that’s what he told his wife when she was preparing the lunch box for their baby. But, of course, she pretended not to listen, and he pretended not to tell.

Then one day, he saw his son graduating high school. He’d learned twenty-six languages as of now – at least that’s what he told his wife. She’d proactively ignored him as she’s been doing from the last twenty years of their life together – when they’d seen too many falls, too many springs.

Perhaps he’d been talking to his deaf wife all this while. His baby, now a man, tries to convince his sixty-year young father that his wife can’t hear whatever he’s been telling her all along. But he is yet to learn Japanese while the flowers in their garden have dried.

Harsimran Kaur is a seventeen-year-old author of The Best I Can Do Is to Write My Heart Out, I am Perfectly Imperfect, and Clementines on My Poetry Table. Her work has been published (or forthcoming) in The Book of Matches Literary Mag, BULL Magazine, Cathartic Literary Magazine, Trouvaille Review, KNACK Magazine, Indus Woman Writing, VOV Takhte, StoryMirror, TeenInk and elsewhere. When she’s not writing or reading, she can often be seen teaching invisible people. You can know more about her ventures at www.harsimranwritesbooks.com/. She is currently a senior in high school.


Author: authorbios

The literary journal dedicated only to author bios.

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