Musicians have it easy. When they go through a breakup, they can just write a song about the generic yet personal situation and immediately get catharsis (or money and fame, you know, whatever they’re seeking).
But what do writers do? Do they write breakup stories? I’ve never written one before. Couldn’t it be just what I need to finally stop thinking about where it all went wrong? Might it be exactly what I’ve been waiting for in order to truly move on? There’s only one way to find out…
How Does Your Garden Grow?
Once upon a time, a boy and a girl were given a plot of land and a tiny seed. They were instantly worried because their story had started out in the passive voice, which is never a good way to begin, but soon they heard another voice.
“If you take care of this seed and nurture it, it will grow into a beautiful plant,” said the anonymous person who gave them the gift. “The power is all yours. Good luck.”
The boy and girl were intrigued, not least of all because the random gift was a good way to break up the usual monotony of gardening.
Now, the boy was very busy with his own plots of land, so the girl said she would put most of the work into their plant. The boy stopped by once a day to see how it was doing, and the girl would show him the shiny, green leaves and thick, healthy stalk. For beginning as such a tiny seed, the plant was really growing into something special.
Once their plant matured enough so that the girl didn’t have to watch over it constantly, she went back to her own plot of land. She was just standing there thinking about the best tool to use when suddenly her plant rose out of the dirt and started strangling her. She had no choice but to grab a garden knife and chop the plant into tiny pieces.
Triumphant from surviving the attack, the girl ran over to the boy’s plots of land and told him what she’d done. “My plant was suffocating me,” she explained, “so I’m going to get some other plots of land and nurture some plants that won’t try to kill me.”
The boy smiled. “Sounds great!” he said.
The next day, the boy showed up to their shared land with a load of manure. “I can’t work on growing our plant anymore,” he said. “I just have this feeling you’re going to start tending to some plots of land in that other garden way over there. It’s not a good idea to keep nurturing our plant if there’s any possibility you’re ever going to leave this garden.”
The girl looked at the boy like maybe he had gotten a whiff of some bad fertilizer. She sniffed the pile in front of her. Yep, this was some messed up manure. “Don’t give me that manure,” she told him. “And you’re not making any sense. In fact, I’ve just been thinking about which seeds to plant in my new plots. I’m staying right here and keeping our plant healthy.”
“Oh,” the boy replied. “In that case, what I meant was, I have too much to do with my own plots of land so I can’t put time into ours anymore.”
The girl reached into the pile of fertilizer and lifted out a big handful. “Listen, I know this is some rough manure to deal with, but we can make it work for the plant,” she insisted.
“No, you listen: our plant isn’t going to grow into something special. You know why? Because this is too much manure for one plant to handle,” the boy said. He started to walk away.
The girl tried to stand up to run after him, but she slipped in the manure and fell face-down into it. “Wait!” she cried. “Our plant is still alive! You can’t leave me here in this pile of–”
“Yes I can,” the boy argued. “And that’s what I’m going to do.”
The girl sat up and tried to wipe the manure from her cheeks. “So that’s it? You’re just going to let our plant die? Is that what a good gardener would do?”
The boy didn’t say anything. He suspected the girl had gotten some manure in her ears when she fell and wouldn’t be able to hear anything he said anyway.
“Fine,” the girl said quietly. “But you have to do it.”
She squeezed her eyes shut as the boy ripped the plant out of the ground. “Before you go,” she said, “do you want to see if we can plant something else, maybe something that won’t take up as much time? This is still a good plot of land and it would be a shame to waste it…what do you think?”
The boy sighed. “I have absolutely no interest in growing anything with you. Let’s just go back to our own plots and forget we ever had this one together.” The boy began to walk away again.
The girl couldn’t help it. She knew the salt would be bad for the soil, but she let some tears fall down to the ground. “So we’re done with this plot? Forever? And I’m stuck with this load of manure? What could possibly be worse than this?”
Before the boy could answer, a huge hole opened up in the earth and a zombie came hobbling out of it, splattering manure all around. It noticed the boy and immediately started chasing him. Then, a vampire rose out of the hole, went straight to the girl, and bit her on the neck (not in the sexy way). The girl clutched her bleeding neck and watched as a fire-breathing dragon flew out of the hole and started breathing fire at the other gardeners who, up until this point, had been observing the manure show with slight curiosity. Next, 14 trillion centipedes slithered out of the hole and walked around, which is all centipedes have to do in order to be freaky and gross. Finally, a huge storm cloud opened up over the garden and it started raining ice cream cones, but as soon as the cones hit the ground they morphed into giant pickles covered in mustard and sprinkled with coconut.
As the boy ran by the girl, with the zombie in close pursuit, he shouted, “See?!”
The girl stopped changing into a vampire for long enough to ask, “See what?!”
The boy gestured to the manure that had been spread all around them in the chaos. “This is why people don’t write breakup stories.”