Just because the grass is greener, it’s better.

"Why can't we be a normal couple? Like the couples out there? Relaxed and happy." These were my very words to Sam when we have been fighting excessively. "Why can't we just chill?"

There are different kinds of grass in the whole planet. Maybe some are even yet to be discovered. Who knows? So why do we insist that our grass be green?

Fountaingrass pretty much assumes the look of a fountain with soft fading yellow feathery plumes that you can catch dancing in the wind. Although it looked more like a peacock's tail to me. Don't you think?

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Little Bluestem which in autumn turns into bold shades of green, blue, pink and orange. A rainbow grass. A cotton candy grass. A super stoke grass. The only thing missing is a handful of stardust and a unicorn.

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The Purple Millet which resembles a very skinny corncob on a stick with fantastic burgundy fuzzy foliage. Are you not tempted to pluck them?

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The Cordgrass which resembles a very small version of pine trees and lives in moist and wet soils. Don't they smell nice in the picture?

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There are so many variations of them that are similarly if not more beautiful than the ordinary ones. So why do we always want our grass greener if we can have variety of colors and specs to choose from? Just because green is standard? Just because it’s the norm? Just because society wants our grass green?

Just because theirs is green, it means it’s healthy. And just because yours isn’t, it means your doomed. Things are not always what they seemed to be. So be happy with your own shade of grass. [A lecture to one’s self.]

Nia

Nia stormed out of the flat when everyone else was busy in the kitchen. We were shocked. I was washing the dishes that time and the rest of my flatmates were busy preparing their own dinner. We’re like (but not really) a big family in the flat with sub-families that cooks separate meals and manages to share food on the table. Don’t ask. It’s just how we live our life here in Dubai. So it was one of those busy nights where everyone’s just soaked up working on our individual menu, in our respective stations boiling, chopping, garnishing and so on. It was Hell’s Kitchen to sum up. So when Nia barged in the kitchen and announced to Ice (her husband of almost a year and so) that she was leaving – which sounded like she’s never going back ever, the entire team of Ramsay was silenced. It sounded like as if someone just dropped her apron on the floor and  quit the reality TV.

She discovered some questionable messages on her husband’s phone. A lady friend by the name of Chuck who happens to be a very pretty Filipina. Nice try. Since Nia was carrying Ice’s few weeks old baby, we had to hypothetically cut Ice’s throat to stop him from acting like a total pus or wuss – whichever best describes a guy who unnervingly continued playing online games while his wife and his baby is out there in the middle of the night, all alone, perhaps dehydrated and sweltering under the raging humidity of Dubai.

He calls her. She doesn’t pick up.  Good job Nia. His ass is now sweating while he was nailed down the kitchen stool hoping for the phone to ring. It didn’t. But a few more hours of enduring the gravity of his misbehavior, the doorbell rang and we were all relieved.

This morning, Ice was all by himself in the kitchen preparing breakfast for Nia. [He’s a certified badass cook by the way.] I lined up my laundry beside their basket of dirty clothes while I left him alone playing some sort of a war craft game on his mobile. This has been his routine since the baby. Cook. Laundry. And walk Nia to her car lift when he’s on rest day.

He’s a good man. And we know that for sure.

But sometimes, to prevent our backyard from being infested, we need to control the weeds.

---
 Penny

“Do you want to buy something?” Sam asked.

I shook my head.

“Come. Buy pork or beef.” He urged. I said no. He’s Hindu and obviously vegan. I appreciate the religious sacrifice. I know how big deal it is to ask your Christian wife to buy something so sacred and highly opposing to your faith. I understand the blasphemy in the scenario. I have never and will never attempt to purchase anything that is offensive to his beliefs. But that moment I just didn’t want to take anything at all from the shelves – even say I was eyeing on a huge box of cereal! I was obviously on the verge of crying again. Tantrums are peeking the gateways. I hurried to the counter to avoid any more bribe from him. Damage is done. I am not going to take anything from his pocket anymore. It always sounds like I am tormenting him for disrupting our monthly savings by buying some stuff I like – even when it’s just a small cut from our monthly allowance.

I am not putting any item on his grocery cart ever. I am too angry to be tempted with food!

Kitchen was quiet which is pretty much unusual for a weekday. Penny who carries a Scarlet Johansen presence in the flat, was eating some resto food on the table, while Quinn – a younger version of me (clumsy, careless and a very bad cook) was filling her twin lunchbox with sausages. One for her , one for her boyfriend Mac.

Conversation started when Quinn asked Penny to join us for movie on Friday. Suicide Squad.

Penny groans. “I can’t. I have to see it with George. He loves movies. Every Friday we need to go out on a movie date. Can you imagine? Every Friday? It’s exhausting!”

Quinn and I exchanged glances. We seldom get movie dates. Most specially me. Sam never gets a week end off and we’re saving a hell amount of money. Quinn rarely finds enough time with Mac because he’s always on long shifting hours and they’re very new in the city. So instead of going to the cinema, we stream movies in laptops and wait until the buffering is over.

Later that night, Sam apologizes to me for accidentally breaking two of Penny’s eggs in the fridge. We know its Penny’s because every item in the fridge is labeled with a name to avoid getting confused on whose milk or eggs belongs to who.

Quinn and I – who are always busy in the kitchen preparing dinner for our beloved partners, exchanged glances like bad wives habit.

“Don’t worry about the eggs sweetheart, Penny never cooks.”

To sum up; Penny never cooks for George. They always eat out in restaurants. That or George cooks pasta for her. And they watch movies Friday night – on a regular basis. But still there she was in the kitchen rolling her eyes as if her current relationship is such a disaster.

Some gardens have fountains, art statues, bird baths and for chrissake a patio furniture. What else do these people want?

---
Sasha

By 7 pm Sasha was done cooking a very special kind of porridge which we call “aroskaldo” in a giant cooking pot that can probably feed all the homeless children in the Philippines. It was so huge that we never really expect we can all finish it within a week.

She calls her partner Arem on her mobile to check on him. Both of them are partial owners of the flat. Arem said he’s on his way home. By 8 pm we started to inhale Sasha’s porridge like starving street children. It was hot, tasty and spicy good. By 9 pm the kitchen was clear. Everybody has left for shower and some nigh time social media viewing. Sasha was still in the kitchen. She calls Arem by 9:30 pm a little worried and extremely hungry. Arem, in his very polite Syrian English tries to explain to her that he was stuck with his boss and will try his best to make it by 10 pm. At exactly 11 pm, Sasha took her dinner and regretted that she even bothered to wait.

Arem played video games with his boss the entire evening.

The next day, the lively, perky, funny, sweet and crazy Sasha who always try make every one laugh stopped talking.

This has happened multiple times before. But that morning was different. The flat ran out for gas. And nobody knew where to order. Sasha was immobilized and in non-speaking terms with everyone in the flat. Arem was no where to be found as well. The only two people who knows where to order gas went MIA.

Gas was delivered eventually after 50 years of waiting.

Last night the kitchen was empty and I found Arem foaming our huge electric stove with soap. The sink was wiped out clean and the floor was shining white. Man, this guy knows how to freaking clean a kitchen!

“I don’t like what’s happening here Arem. This is hardcore.” I joked.

“I have to do this or Sasha will go ballistic.” He smiles childishly.

He didn’t use the word ballistic. I made that up.

Consistent watering produce the best results. It’s called commitment. Do it daily.

---
Me

A few days ago,  I forgot that we don’t have brown rice anymore. Remember we had a huge fight about it over and over? I know as much as he wants to fume mad, he tried not to. Sam was very composed and I was very impressed with his self control. He tried to explain to me as mild as he can that I need to take mental note of things and be more attentive with the basic necessities at home. I swelled a little by his efforts. I know it was my mistake and I need to exert extra effort on things specially that he was battling psoriasis for a year now. His food items should always be organic. I need to be proactive with our needs, specially his.

He bought me two shirts from Maxx as well and even if it’s not Mango or Forever 21, it doesn’t matter. The things that drove me nuts the passed few days has now been  flushed in the toilet. A new sense of relief. He pays attention. He listens. He finds ways to prevent the things that can break us.

Although I know that beautiful gardens doesn’t happen in a day, I know that both of us are growing some good vegetation somewhere.

Whatever anger management Sam is practicing, it’s working so well so I hope I am not jinxing it by spilling it out here. I guess no matter how difficult it is to communicate the problems you’re facing with your partner, at the end of the day when negative charges are released, you get to have some valuable resolve out of it. So keep the communication line open even if it seems like it’s not working. Eventually, it will.

Stay cool. When heat strikes, provide shade to your plants to keep them from wilting.

Every couple has their own dynamics. I am grateful to have Sam in my life despite the unnumbered fights we had and counting -realistically speaking. We are not perfect. Just two people trying and learning.

I’ve got to stop obsessing with perfect couples around me. There’s no such thing.

Doesn’t mean it’s greener, it’s better.

We don’t have basket cradles or ceramic pots. We don’t have vintage pathways and street lamps on the pathway. We don’t have iron gates and cocktail patios. Man we don’t even have the basic tools of gardening. But we have good soil, enough sunshine, water and air to grow something really promising.

Photo Credit: hdimages, betterhomesandgardens
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