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The flowers of Central Park bloomed in the May sunlight, stretching their limbs up toward the bright star. These famous plants had just begun to open up to the new season. The passers-by were all too busy to notice the beautiful display, all except one young woman. Her piercing green eyes struggled to see over the tall iron fence that surrounded the large garden. When her firey red hair fell into her eyes for the third time, she blew it away in frustration and turned back toward her busy street.
However, just as she started to walk away a voice called out from the other side of the fence.
"Excuse me, Miss," called the voice kindly, "Are you trying to get in here? We usually don't open until 8 on weekdays."
"Oh!" she cried, ashamed of the anger she displayed just a moment ago. "I'm very sorry, I didn't know. I'm from the New York Times and I am writing a piece about the young artist who creates all the amazing plant-art in the garden. I was looking to see if I could talk with him before the Park got too terribly busy."
The young gardener looked at the stunning woman for a moment with a quizzical expression on his face, the chuckled in a low, husky voice. "Well, Miss, I think you'll be a little surprised to hear that you are talking with him right now."
The woman was more than a little surprised. In front of her stood a very young Hispanic man., dark curly hair falling across his handsome face. He stood about 6'5" and was rather thin. His clothes were covered with dirt and grass from the garden he had been weeding. His eyes were uncharacteristically blue and watched her as she struggled to find something to say.
"O-oh!" she stuttered lamely. His mouth curved into an understanding smile as she sputtered on, "It's nice to meet you! I try to come in here everyday and see your work."
"Well, thank you. I'm glad to hear you appreciate it." He looked absentmindedly at his watch and then began to unlock the heavy stone gate. "If you want an interview, we have about 15 minutes before the morning routine starts up." He waves his arm toward the inside of the garden as the door creaked open, and the young lady stepped inside.
Lining the walkway in front of her were a group of huge bushes cut into shapes of animals and people. The definition and attention to detail was uncanny, more intricate than any the Park had seen in its many years. In the center courtyard in front of them stood the most stunning of all. It was cut in the figure of two lovers, caught in an embrace with the man holding the woman from the back, hugging her waist. The woman's head was arched back to look at the man behind her, her face caught in a tender expression. The leaves were woven together to give her long, curly hair, a single flower growing in the side of it to give the apperance of a barrette.
When the young woman spotted this particular bush, she dropped her briefcase in awe.
The young man laughed outright and picked up her briefcase for her. "You like it? I did it last night." He handed her the briefcase and said "Now, before you can interview me, I need to know who YOU are."
Blushing a slight pink, she cleared her throat and held out her hand, stating " My name is Ellie Parker, journalist for Parks and Recreations at the New York Times." Her voice caught an unnaturally professional tone as she said this, as if she were a reporter.
He smiled again, squinting in the morning sunlight. "Pleasure to meet you, Ellie," he said, taking her hand with his own calloused palm. In a booming voice declared, "My name is Alejandro Mendiaz, gardener of the great Central Park." Then, leaning in closer he added in a whisper, "My friends call me Al, though."
For the first time that morning, Ellie was the one to smile. "It certainly is a pleasure to meet you," she replied.