The Rose and the Thorn

Nodding Out in the East Village

A woman at the gate waved at Mrs. For, who left her seat to chat. Flies buzzed in the cool. It was quiet under the peach tree. Mrs. For's grandson sat at our feet and played with a ball.

"Let me see can I find you a good one," Mrs. For said to her friend, reaching up to the rose vine and clipping a flower at the peak of its bloom. Returning to her seat, she said, "I've had my problems here, yes, with the dope fiends and running out of money. My fish pond is just a ditch now because I couldn't afford to get no further. I have faith though. Last year for six months I had no running water. I thought my trees would die of thirst. They say these trees can't make it at all in the city. But here they are."

She looked around her garden with a careful, appraising eye. "I start at eight," she said, "and I don't leave here until five, or sometimes 4:30 if I'm so tired. But while I'm here I can ignore the outside world.

If heaven is this way, with childrens playing in the grass, it still couldn't be any better than what I have here on earth." With that, Mrs. Fr tossed Kai his ball, and he toddled after it, out of the leafy shade into a bright patch of sun.

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