Alexandra, sapling.

It’s raining this morning, but not hard enough for Bubba to refuse his walk. Even though the air is sticky, I put on a sweater and pull the hood as far over my face as I can. Ordinarily, I wear sunglasses to conceal the tired that never fully leaves my body, but I feel stupid wearing them when the sun isn’t shining. I try to keep my shoulders back, exude whatever shred of confidence remains after sifting through the twenty-six open applications to places I don’t really want to work at anyway. Maybe they can sense my indifference, but it’s really starting to bother me that no one wants to give me a chance.

I’m still sulking over the rejection from last week, the only application I was excited to fill out thrown into the compost heap by a local plant nursery looking for an assistant manager. While the advertised pay was far less than I was making previously, the idea of being surrounded by plants, of learning where they come from and how to keep them alive, budded a little seedling inside of me I didn’t know I had. I pictured myself in the dead of winter escaping to the greenhouse, sweat dripping from the walls of the manmade rainforest. I felt my arms get sore throwing bag after fifty pound bag of red mulch into the beds of suburban pick-up trucks. I could see my thumb turning green.

I wanted it.

I look down to avoid the aggravating mist, my knock-off Birkenstock clad feet covered in blades of grass and woodchips. The air smells like garlic bread. I love garlic bread, but for some reason this annoys me, too. Bubba veers right to a pine tree he likes to piss on. The ground around the tree is littered with woody petals, plucked from their cones by squirrels in search of pesto’s most expensive ingredient. For some reason this delights me.

I consider becoming a pine nut farmer. Or a squirrel.