The Smell of Freshly Cut Grass

It had been a grimy morning when we first woke up, but the dust settled into the dew that hung from the tree limp over us. The branches were dense with leaves, and bent down almost to touch the ground. The bell-leaves were sagging and clean, heavy with the water that hung from their tips. The russet of the sky melted and dripped into the horizon, and from the center of the sphere, emerged a powder-blueness that we had not seen in a long time. The sun hid behind the tree, peeking through the shadow of the leaves, breaking into pieces while passing through the dew, spraying a combination of colors on the large field underneath. It was warm and damp, the birds already lingered on the earth trying to pull out worms and caterpillars.

I told my wife it was going to be a quiet, monotonous day, since it felt odd that anything eventful would happen while the sun shone so generously. She would not take her eyes of the horizon.

“Do you hear that?”

I sighed. I had already learnt to ignore the delusion that caused her to erupt into foolishness and obstinacy, but I was still not used her senses convincing her that she was hearing something.

“No, love, there is nothing there.”

“Do you hear that?” she repeated, as if trying to convince herself more than me of what she was hearing. Her body swayed with the wind, and for a moment I was convinced what I saw of her was a dead image of her former being. I sighed again, and looked up at the trees which seemed like were enclosing us from all the sides, like trapping us into its giant canopy.

“Please, listen.” She murmured this time, her voice fearful. I looked at her. Her eyes glistened in the sunlight, much like the dew pearls that I could see all around me. But it was something about them that made me curious. I had never seen them before, in spite of being in love with her for as long as I could remember. “I can hear them. I can smell them. They are here.” Something in her voice made me look towards the horizon, and close my eyes to concentrate on the silence.

An almost non-existent buzzing reached my ears.

My eyes widened. “Do you hear it now?” She was looking at me. She was alert and much more lucid than she had been in a while. “Yes, I hear it.” I closed my eyes again, trying to tell myself I was wrong, and that I was only believing her because she deserved it. The buzzing sound was louder this time, and I quickly opened my eyes. I breathed in deeply, trying to calm my throbbing heart. I turned around to look at my neighbor. “They are here!” It was a shout; I had not intended it to be. But I knew she was right; I knew I was right.

“That’s not possible. They haven’t been here in so long.” I could see the panic rise up his eyes as he tried to tell himself that we weren’t hearing what we thought we were. A pause followed, and I saw his eyes well up. A noiseless gasp escaped his lips, and he realized I was not wrong. I knew what I had to do. Do I have the will to do it? I thought to myself, doubting my credibility and my will to survive. “We have to start.”

He looked shaken, and I was not surprised. It was times like these that made me wonder if someone else was thinking the same thing that I was. The danger was imminent; and it was the same for him as it was for me. The same fears clouding our better judgment. “What if we- we- we are wrong? God, I haven’t done this in such a long time. This is all that is left of me! I can’t- can’t do this!” He stammered, stumbling over his words trying to explain to me what was already understood. He wanted to give in.

“We cannot. We are old, we need to tell them. The GLVs that have already been released will take a long time to reach the end of the field. We can make it faster. You know that.” I felt strangely peaceful suddenly. My own words were talking to me, telling me that all I was about to do was for everyone else. And I had to. I had no other option. There was enough energy inside me to at least go on for at least a few meters. With my wife, I could reach to the end of field with the slow breeze. My leaves wouldn’t be able to take it, but my roots could. I couldn’t snap myself broken, but I could uproot myself. But it would mean that- I interrupted my own thoughts by narrowing my eyes and breathing deeply in, a sting of green overwhelming my olfactory senses. My wife had definitely not been delusional. The other blades had already been releasing their volatiles into the air.

She stood calmly, the crystals of her eyes had disappeared and she just stood there still staring at the horizon. “You know what we should do, love. I’ll help you. Are you ready?”

“I am tired, honey. I can’t do this. But I want to.”

“It’s okay. I’ll help. I will. Like always. Just stay with me, okay?”

She stared ahead, not replying. I bent down in her direction and pulled at the ground below her. It shifted slowly. An old one like me only had so much strength. I pulled harder. Her roots began to show, and then slid out suddenly, like knife from a patch of butter. The buzz of the ground, and the ground vibrations were already felt by my own roots was already growing stronger. From the corner of my eye, I saw him trying to do the same thing. He still seemed unsure and fearful, he did not have the same determination as I did.

I did the same with myself, sliding out from the ground. It was easier than I thought. I thought that I had left a legacy longer than a few centimeters behind after living such a long life being prepared for nothing, if not this. And then I relaxed, in spite of the vibration of the ground crunching away through the remnants of a quiet life that I had been preparing for.

A small piece of her blade found mine, and twirled gracefully. I looked at it, and then at her face. She was smiling. “It’s here.” I squeezed her blade, it seemed like her veins were more alive than ever, even more than when I first met her. It was probably because of the volatiles now running through her and out from her roots. “I love you. I always have. Even when I didn’t.” I still hoped her it was her lucidity that was speaking. But I didn’t doubt her. Not now.

“I love you too.”

From the horizon, over the tops of all of our neighbors, I saw the glorious darkness approaching. But my eyes were on her, and hers on the majesty of the machine. I heard the swapping of the blades from my side, as she turned around to look at me. And smiled. “Goodbye.” I smiled.

 


He stood up straight, and let go of the bar of the machine as he adjusted his straw hat. Wiping his hands on his dirty overalls, he breathed in deeply. The smell of freshly mowed grass was exquisite, he thought to himself.

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