The pumpkin flowers in the backyard, always dragged her mind there. Kitchen garden, she called that. The creeper had crawled out slow and lazy from one amongst the plateful of pumpkin seeds they had thrown away, after one of their first grocery trips here. It was an an over-ripe one. Their fridge had smelt for days afterward. And one orange morning, in the drizzling rain, he had spotted, a nice two leaved thingy, peeping out of the moist, dark soil. They hadn't had to water it, or anything. It grew wild, sprouting leaves after leaves on its own, covering all the empty space in their tiny backyard, every square inch of space left apart from where the green chillies and coriander had stood, enviously rooted. Then, one afternoon, he noticed a couple of buds, tightened bunches of petals, held together in the gay love of floral glue. After a couple days, about a dozen of them flowers, bloomed together, simultaneously, on the very same morning. From the window in their bedroom, they appeared to be sunflowers. But those were pumpkin flowers, they laughed, quietly inside their cheeks. Lips parted only mildly. With their great freedom of choice.
Of living here, alone together. Away/ where life is not bought. Just lived. Only lived. Experienced, valued. Treasured. Not just bought. They had moved into this, months ago, abandoning their stories. Marathons they believed they were running. They had retired. Let go. And come down to live here, secluded by hills, on all sides. A river flowed by, beside the hills. Truly, it did. Does. The summer breeze made the pumpkin flowers dance.
Their raw smell came wafting into their kitchen, like asking her to come pluck. Fetch them in the cane basket and put them in a jar of water on his table. But that smell, wasn't very flowery. They were like their mother pumpkin, that way. She washed the pestle, wondering if she would, like generations of wives had, grind some rice grains and spices and dip and fry, shallow fry them flowers, till just about they were fried right.