Somthing's missing from the garden!
There was something missing from the garden, thought Beryl as she looked through the kitchen window. It wasn’t Charlie, because he was in the greenhouse watering his tomatoes.
‘Hmm, there’s definitely something missing,’ she muttered to herself.
Drying her hands in her apron, she went out into the garden. She looked up at the sky and smiled. It was going to be another warm day.
‘Hello love,’ shouted Charlie, ‘how about an omelette for breakfast, with one of these?’ And he handed Beryl a bowl full of delicious fresh tomatoes.
‘Do you think there’s something missing from the garden Charlie?’ she said frowning.
‘Missing!’ replied Charlie curiously, and came out into the garden to look. He straightened his flat cap and rolled up his shirt sleeves. Then, like the Lord of the Manor, he surveyed the cottage grounds.
‘I just can’t put my finger on it,’ said Beryl as she followed Charlie down the garden path, towards the pond. They had worked so hard on their wildlife pond complete with lily pads. It was just as they wanted it, wild and natural looking.
‘I think you’re imagining it Beryl. Nothing has gone. Look!’ He gave a sweep of his hand. ‘The shed is still standing and vegetables are still growing and there’s the cat, stretched out on the bench. No, it’s all here. You’re imagining things.’
‘I didn’t mean missing as in gone,’ she said. ‘I meant missing as in something else is needed. It still lacks something Charlie. I just don’t know what.’
Charlie looked at his wife strangely. He had known and loved her for almost fifty years but he still didn’t understand her way of thinking. So he shook his head.
Beryl reached over to Charlie and kissed him affectionately on the cheek.
‘I don’t agree,’ she said stubbornly, ‘it lacks something!’
They both stood and looked around them. They had indeed created the perfect cottage garden, complete with an abundance of flowers and herbs, which, as you walked up the narrow path and brushed your legs against them, extracted heady scents. Unlike the smell from the compost heap, but then that was down the bottom part of the garden, by the tool shed.
They watched, as butterflies hugged the hollyhocks and delphiniums and the bees busied themselves extracting nectar from the flowers which trickled down from the hanging baskets.
‘No…it’s all here Beryl, we left nothing out and so nothing’s missing!’
Beryl didn’t look convinced and wondered back into the kitchen with the tomatoes. Perhaps there was something missing from her own life, she thought, perhaps it had nothing to do with the garden. She was struggling to come to terms with retirement and spending all day every day with Charlie, well it just wasn’t what she had expected.
She looked in the fridge for some eggs and but there weren’t any. So, she picked up her purse from the table and shouted to Charlie that she was popping to the shop across the road for some. Charlie waved and shouted back, ‘See you in a minute!’
An hour later, Beryl returned with the eggs. She was smiling and humming to herself. Charlie looked at her suspiciously.
‘What took you so long?’ he asked ‘and why have you bought so many eggs?’
Beryl didn’t reply. She just hurried past him and went into the house. Charlie looked through the kitchen window but there was no sign of Beryl or the eggs. He shook his head. Charlie had learned that it was often wiser not to ask any questions. Not that she would give him an answer anyway, at least not a straight one.
Charlie went into the kitchen and put the kettle on and if he thought he would get an explanation, he was wrong. Instead, Beryl came back into the room and grilled some tomatoes on toast for breakfast. Charlie soon forgot all about the eggs.
A few weeks later, when Charlie was looking for a towel in the airing cupboard he got the shock of his life. He opened the door and up popped three tiny yellow heads. They strained their scrawny necks towards him and opened their beaks for small offerings.
‘BERYL! ’ he shouted almost hysterically.
Beryl hurried up the stairs, she had guessed what had happened and there was a huge grin on her face.
‘So this is what happened to my omelette!’ said Charlie pointing to the nest of broken egg shells and three hungry chicks.
Beryl squealed in delight at seeing the miracle she’d created.
‘Well?’ said Charlie, trying to stay calm. ’What have you got to say for yourself?’
‘Oh my Gosh,’ was all Beryl could say. ‘They didn’t tell me what to do next!’
‘Well, you’d better do something Beryl before they either die of starvation or take over the house.’
Beryl gently picked up her babies and placed them in her apron.
‘Did you know Charlie, that keeping chickens is one of the fastest growing hobbies in our country?’
‘And so is knitting!’ said Charlie. ‘I don’t know what you were thinking Beryl, but you can’t keep those animals in this house or in the garden.’
Beryl didn’t listen to a word he was saying. She was checking for more babies.
‘What a shame, only three hatched out,’ she said frowning. ‘But there again, I didn’t expect any.’
For the next couple of days, Beryl devoted her time to caring for the new additions to the family. Charlie couldn’t believe the change in her. It was very unnerving, he thought.
‘You will have to make a house for them Charlie, and a run to play in.’
Charlie sighed. ‘You talk to them like children, Beryl. They’re chickens.’
‘They’re my children, Charlie. The ones we couldn’t have.’
Charlie looked at Beryl strangely. Then he looked at the three tiny chicks who peered up at him. There were definitely similarities in babies and chicks, he thought. They all looked cute and needed proper care. He tried hard not to, but the urge was too strong, and he bent down to smooth their soft yellow heads. Charlie melted.
‘I guess they won’t take up too much room in the garden,’ he said smiling. ‘After all, there are only three of them.’
Beryl hugged him but she had a worried look on her face.
The following day, when Beryl was in the kitchen, she heard Charlie scream her name from the bathroom. She looked at her babies in a box besides her.
‘Oh dear,’ she said, ‘you have more brothers and sisters!’ Then she looked through the kitchen window at their beautiful garden.
‘There’s nothing missing now,’ she said smiling.