Dear G.,

You gave me the largest aloe plant I’d ever seen, until I took it home and watched it thrive into absurdity. God, I’ve been wanting to tell you this for so long. I wish you had seen me lugging that gnarly plant the five blocks home from your house, how it stabbed me in the shoulder every time I shifted my weight to keep from dropping it, drew blood, how I got home at last and dabbed at the cuts with, yep, aloe. I took it to Wisconsin—honestly, I repotted it and took it to Wisconsin, left bags behind on the sidewalk to make last-minute room in the car. I repotted it again, bought a sturdy table for it and its two progeny, already thicker than any you’d find in a greenhouse. Six months later, sprouts everywhere, new clay pots, all the windows choked with their hardy need, but me breathing better than ever. I had 20 before I started giving them away: come to a dinner party, leave with a succulent! The not-joke part: you watered this persistent misfit strain of plant, never taming, only tending, for years, and only for a bit of balm. And then you gave it to me. Woman to woman: Even cut limbs have uses. Transplants succeed every day. Store what you need most. Heal your damned self, and thicken up that skin. A bit of light and we’re all saved.

xo S


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