Open Letters to People or Entities Who Are Unlikely to Respond
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An Open Letter to My Dying Ficus.
BY JULIA LOFASO
Jesus Christ with a puka shell necklace, you are such a goddamn diva. I understand that it was stressful to make the ten-block walk, cradled in my arms, from Home Depot to my apartment, but this whole slow suicide routine is seriously trying my patience. I’m sick of hearing you over there in the corner, dropping leaf after leaf, dink, dink, dink, as I watch TV.
At first, I thought that you were just getting used to your new surroundings. I admit this is not a luxury apartment, and I apologize for that. There’s the blistering wall paint and fluorescent lights, the sweating toilet and asbestos. There are the basement-dwelling husband-and-wife landlords who scream at each other in Italian, using English only for words like cunt and youshithead! Still, I mean, it’s possible to get used to such things. I’ve been here for six years. I thought you would appreciate it when I put on an Edith Piaf record to drown out the yelling, but no, you didn’t seem to like that very much. Dink, you said. Dink, dink.
I did what I could to ease your transition. I did not leave you in your plastic pot. I bought you a glazed ceramic pot. For twenty bucks! The Internet said you like to be talked to, so I told you all about my job search, my dwindling savings. It was therapeutic for me, and I thought we had a moment. I slept through the night for the first time in weeks—then woke to find five new leaves on the floor, curled in defeat.
I was told you don’t like it when your leaves rustle, so I moved you away from the window. I was told you don’t like shade, so I moved you back. I was told you don’t like moving, so I left you alone to sulk and shed.
The sad part is, ficus, we were supposed to have such a beautiful symbiosis. I would shower you with sweet breezes of carbon dioxide, and you, in turn, would purify the air in this tiny train car of a tenement. Together we would fight the black silt that builds up on my windowsills frighteningly fast, filling my lungs as I sleep. And now, just look at yourself: bald spots everywhere, a compost heap’s worth of leaves in your ceramic pot.
I am the only one who’s allowed to die a slow death in this apartment, DO YOU UNDERSTAND?
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