Short story

I am Crocus. I spent my early bulbhood jostling in a brown paper bag with my brothers and sisters on the shelves of B&Q. I just knew I was bursting inside with goodness and colour – we all were – and just when I thought I would burst and we were close to ‘sell by’ date and destined for the reduced gun, a lady bought us, whisked us off in her wire trolley, loaded us in the boot of her car and we were away…heaven only knew where. Spying through a hole in the brown paper I caught a glimpse of a bag of potting compost…I felt warm inside and I knew somehow it was going to be all right.
Ah, the smell of warm compost, the squidgy feel of it….the teasing caress of late Autumn sunshine full of heady promise for the fertile Spring ahead. We were nestled neatly there on the warmish sweet smelling compost, just outside the front door, and lovingly covered over…tucked in for the Winter, it seemed. All we had to do was sit tight in the dark and wait and wait and wait.# for the earth to warm just a few degrees, heralding the time to stretch and grow. It was very peaceful in that place..only the sound of occasional birdsong penetrated our underground nest. We were not separated..we were warm, fed and watered..we were together.
Suddenly it turned remarkably cold in our little dark holding pen and sounds were muted….I heard the muffled ring of scraping on the drive. I assume it had snowed. Spade on tarmac. The boy was delighted – sounds of a sledge, excited chatter and more scraping.
Eventually the earth was warming…I could feel it within my innerbulb…almost there….not long to go. I smiled secretly in the dark. I am sure my brothers and sisters felt the same tingling sensation inside. We started to shoot out, cautiously, imperceptibly at first..tiny thrusting….upwards, and little hairy roots downwards…we were going to make it! We rested for a while just beneath the surface, confident of our future.
One morning I awoke to a strange sound….chopping of wood and then an unfamiliar din…..like a giant mincer. It whirred and creaked and groaned and spat out sawdust and wood shavings for most of the morning. I was almost at the surface by this stage, ready to break through the topsoil and then I’d be able to see…..The noise stopped.. a whoosh and I was suddenly covered in about an inch of mulch…it was warm and cosy and comforting. Although frustrated at being so close I could do nothing but sit tight and concentrate on bursting through that new top layer…it was almost time. Spring was surely coming… One final push….
Thud thud thud…wheeeeeee….thud. What on earth was that? I could just peep my green shoots through the mulch and saw the boy engrossed in a new sport…a basket ball hoop had been fixed over the garage door for his birthday. He was quite accurate in his aim but his friends weren’t and my tender new shoots were squashed by ball or careless retrieving feet time and time again. The lady who had lovingly planted me had not even seen me yet! This attack went on for a few days…my brothers and sisters had also breached the surface and we were all quivering with every the thud of the ball, anticipating being ground into the wood shaving bed. It wasn’t a deliberate assault..they hadn’t even noticed us! Then the unconceivable happened. The hoop fell off the wall! Too much pounding…the man who brought the mulching machine appeared…he tutted and sighed and scratched his head and muttered about having to go to B&Q the place of our birth – oh no I feared he was about to dig us up and send us packing! Were we that much of a disappointment?
At last the lady noticed us…pale but proud purplish heads peeping out through the pile…she clucked and sighed and took photographs and showed the boys and told them to keep off the flower bed. It seems we have a reprieve then for a few days at least….until the net is fixed. Spring has surely sprung tra laa! I am Crocus.

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