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Spadina Literary Review  —  edition 17 page 13

fiction

Near Irvington

by William C. Blome

Andrew — not the one from Juarez (that muscular guy who’s always got a hard-on for the chunky librarian in Westview) — but smallish Andrew (the man with black hair that’s always gleaming and who’s neat as a pin overall) — likes jonquils. He can be seen many a fall hoeing the earth in back of the light-rail stop near Irvington and dropping bulbs in. But because his sister, Rosita, has seen him only at a different time of the year digging that ground and harvesting bulbs that have divided within the earth, she believed that when she saw him putting in one bulb after another last autumn, he was somehow mixed up and mistaken in his actions and seasons. Rosita, who knows zilch about flowers, concluded that with winter on the way, Andrew in fact meant to be digging up and pulling bulbs out of the ground. She reasoned that he had made an honest error, much like using a spoon at table when one’s hand should more properly be wrapped around a fork, but so as not to affront Andrew’s considerable pride, several nights later, after she watched him fall asleep in his easy chair, she grabbed a shovel, left the house, and walked to the rail stop. There, though the light was poor and the mosquitoes numerous, she managed to dig up many bulbs and bring them home in a burlap sack. Thus, Andrew’s restless wait for lovely yellow blossoms is not much rewarded this spring. He has no idea, however, that Rosita is the cause of this disappointment. As he rocks back and forth in his porch rocker and thinks various thoughts on a few decent evenings in March and April, it occurs to him that perhaps he hasn’t properly remembered exactly where he planted those jonquils. There’s some ground to cover here as well as a sense of urgency, and so he brings his rocking chair to a stop and goes inside and asks Rosita to come with him in the morning and help him locate his bulbs. Rosita hugs and kisses her brother very warmly (almost as if he were a suitor or a lover come to call), and she bids him all the luck in the world, but she flatly refuses to accompany him the following day or any other day. She then returns to mending a heavy blanket, because regardless what Andrew does or doesn’t do come daybreak, there can be no withholding the chilly winter.