Poison Ivy

She slowly gazed through the square-shaped window to the gleaming neon green grass that stood still outside, then back again. It never occurred to her that her five-year-old son would lead his curiosity to a few other places. But the process became habitual for her. Stir, stare, and repeat. It was only until the soup she carefully prepared boiled over the top of the pot when she broke that habit. Five minutes passed as she panicked over sweeping the mess and turning down the heat on the stove. When she looked back, little Jack was still there. In relief, she decided to go outside to ask him if everything was ok. But as usual, it was. For his age, Jane had always been surprised at the mischief he was never in. She thought it was too good to be true for her first experience as a mother. Jack stood outside in the same position as he had been every time she looked.

But those five minutes with her back turned made her unaware of what had just happened. The three leaves on that one branch captured him, the branch with the red stem, the webbed veins, and the oily coat. Little did she know, Jack’s curiosity did lead him to a few other places. One of the places happened to be that branch. So as he had done before, he slowly rose from grass, leaving a few unnoticeable grass stains on the shorts she just bought for him. When he reached the branch, he carefully plucked each leaf one by one, until he could count to three. They were the only numbers he had learned at that point in kindergarten. He gradually walked back to same exact spot on the ground where the dirt-covered swings were to the left, and the three rocks he planned to add to his collection were to the right. Jack added the three leaves to his new assortment, the kind of assortment any five-year-old would be proud to tell his mother about creating. He wiped off the oil from the leaves on his shorts leaving yet another stain for her to sigh over while doing laundry. Jack remained counting his new leaves and rocks. And Jane continued the same method of motherhood she discovered. Stir, stare, and repeat.





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