Jasmine sits in the living room staring at the wall. She barely hears her son silently eating breakfast in the kitchen. The only sound is the clink of the spoon against his bowl. She thinks back to the day Joseph walked out.
Christmas morning started like any other year. She was up early cooking bacon and putting dinner into the oven. Jasmine had the ingredients for her famous omelets already chopped and ready for the pan. Even though it was early, her son, Joey, hovered nearby for the first piece of bacon. His eyes shone with excitement. He could barely wait to open his presents.
Jasmine smiled at him and glanced around her lovely home. Joey had been a tiny baby when they moved into this beautiful house. It was everything she had dreamed it would be. She loved the way each room was filled with memories.
She heard footsteps on the stairs and frowned. Did Joseph have on shoes this early? Surely he wasn’t leaving before breakfast and presents. She heard a thud of something heavy hit the door and listened to footsteps walk into the kitchen. Jasmine turned quickly to the stove and turned off the bacon. She pulled the pieces from the pan before they burned.
The day Joseph walked out
“Joey, head into the living room for a minute, please.” Jasmine cringed at the tone of his voice. What was he upset about now? Joseph criticized her every move now. But she had hoped to get through Christmas without another scene.
“Mom?” Jasmine pulls her eyes from the living room wall to the sad, concerned face of her son. “Mom, I’m leaving for school.” Joey pauses and Jasmine turns back to the wall. He sighs. “Eat something today, Mom, okay?” She doesn’t notice him as he walks out the door.
She only sees Joseph standing in front of her, an angry judge delivering his verdict. “I’m leaving you, Jasmine. You can stay in the house. I’m moving out. But you’ll need to get a job soon to pay for food and expenses.” Jasmine stood rooted in one spot. Her voice was completely gone. He isn’t staying for Christmas. I thought he would.
“Don’t you have anything to say?” Joseph slapped his hand on the counter and Jasmine jumped putting up her hand as protection. He scoffed at her fear and whirled around. She looked down at the beaten eggs ready to cook for a breakfast she’d never eat as she heard the front door close.
After some period of time, Jasmine realized her daughter was standing next to her. “Where’s dad, mom? Joey said he left. What did you do?” Jasmine looked into her lovely face twisted with anger and hurt. “Mom?” She turned away from her just as Joseph had done and Jasmine felt another kick in her gut. “She’s hopeless, Joey. It’s all her fault.”
Jasmine’s world spun away
As the world faded away, Jasmine felt a hug from her son. “It’s okay, mom. I’ll watch the timer and put away this food.”
Days later, Jasmine realized very few of the presents were gone from the tree. All of Joseph’s packages were still there and so were hers. Her daughter’s presents were all gone but her son had only taken one, the tablet he had wrapped with her a few weeks ago.
When she checked the refrigerator, it was mostly empty. Her purse contained no more cash and pizza boxes were stacked on the counter. She had no recollection of eating anything, drinking water, or sleeping. The only reason she knew how much time had passed was that her daughter was leaving for her college dorm. That meant her son had been going to school without her knowledge.
Her life was in ruins and Joey is the only one speaking to her. She doesn’t know what has been happening but she needs to begin functioning again. Looking down at the card Joey shoved in her hands the night before, Jasmine reads the note.
“Welcome to Planted Flowers! You have been placed into a new group! Your first meeting is Tuesday. Arrive by 6:30 pm at the community center and pick up your book!”
Jasmine starts Planted Flowers workbook!
Jasmine stares at the card and slowly remembers what Joey had said. He was worried about her and signed her up for a Planted Flowers group. She looks at the date again and reaches for her phone. Jasmine ignores the messages and notifications to read today’s date. That’s tonight! She focuses on the time and realizes Joey should be home by now. Jasmine rises from the couch and heads toward the shower.
For more on Jasmine and her first Planted Flowers group meeting, check out the free book, Lily.