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Aunt Libby's Garden

by Sara Harricharan  
3/05/2008 / Short Stories

"She's so mean!" Lucinda sputtered.

"Mean? She's worse than Cinderella's stepmother." Miranda tossed her head. "Mean is too good for her."

"At least she let us visit Aunt Libby." Lucinda wrestled her feet into yellow rubber boots.

"She just wanted us to be out of the way." Miranda retorted, bending to hold the boots steady. "Stop wriggling like that!"

"She doesn't care whether we're happy or not." Lucinda bent to hold Miranda's purple boots. "She thinks we're maids that-"

"Girls!" Aunt Libby's quiet voice cut through the twins accusations. "That is enough." She stood in the doorway, gardening gloves and trowels in one hand. The usual smile that played about her face had slipped into solemnity. "To the garden, please. No talking."

Lucinda opened her mouth to be silenced by a pointed look. She filed out dutifully behind her sister as they trooped to the garden.

Once there, Aunt Libby directed them to a thick patch of weeds. Groans and whines were again silenced, this time by a raised eyebrow.

They worked, wordlessly until Aunt Libby held up a thorny specimen. "You know, your words are like these weeds."

Miranda scowled. "If this is about Caitlin, I don't want-"

"I didn't say you could speak." Aunt Libby's gray eyes grew serious. "Yet. Your mother told me this story a long time ago."

The twins perked up at the mention of their late mother.

"Your mother had married your fatherand I didn't like him." Aunt Libby dug the trowel deep into the ground.

"You didn't like daddy?" Lucinda exclaimed, surprised.

"No. I didn't. I was convinced that he'd taken my best friend away. Your mother. We used to plant gardens together. But married life includes another friend into the circle. One rare day, we were together, gardening. She asked me why I didn't like him. I gave some sort of roundabout answer, and she told me I was planting weeds instead of seeds. I didn't understand. She said the way I was treating your father, was like planting weeds in my garden of friendship. If I planted seeds, then I'd have flowers of happiness and new friends. I took her advice to the depths of my soul."

The twins exchanged looks and then sighed.

"I guess." Miranda ventured. "If we planted seeds, instead of complaining"

Aunt Libby smiled. "I think you'll find that Caitlin isn't really such a 'mean stepmother'. You need to give a little. Give her time to get to know you. I've seen your bedrooms too. They could use a good cleaning." She frowned at the weed patch. "I think we'd better break out the weed killer-or we could be stuck here all afternoon!"

Sara Harricharan is a young Christian woman with a passion for writing for the Lord through faith-filled Science Fiction/Fantasy stories and pure words.

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