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Page 4

Pete Symons

The next morning he is very excited and trots out hurriedly to the vegetable patch. And, happily, shows no disappointment at the lack of seedlings. ‘We have to wait.’ I say again.

I want him to learn that there is hope in the germination of a seed – to see the magnificence in the tiny, the Glory in order and the gifts we have been given. He can learn patience.

According to the packet, seedlings should appear after a few weeks. Despite little Joel and my efforts, nothing appears after a month or so. I content myself with the thought that it had been very hot, and perhaps the seeds will take their time to grow.

We go out each morning and look at our little patch. And still there are no signs of any growth. I could see Joel’s disappointment build a little each time. But he is learning.

But, after two months, no seedlings appear. Joel loses interest in the seeds. He doesn’t accompany me to the patch and plays in the sand pit instead.

I haven’t given him what I needed to. What he needs.

I am drinking coffee and watching Joel from the kitchen. He is in the sand pit as usual. This time digging in the sand with the shovel I gave him. As I finish my coffee and stand to wash the cup in the sink, Joel moves over to the vegetable patch and begins digging where we’d planted the seeds. Perhaps he wants to start anew.

Perhaps I just need to buy some new seeds.

As I rinse my cup, Joel comes running over to the glass door to the kitchen. He has something in his hand. I open the door for him. He has dirt on his hands and face. And holds up, in triumph, a tiny beetroot, no more than a centimetre across. He is beaming.

‘Beeboot,’ he states simply.

My little motherless boy is standing at the door of the kitchen, covered in dirt and holding up an inedible, scrawny beetroot. And he is the happiest I have seen him.

He walks into the kitchen and offers me the beetroot.

His face does not show doubt. Just happiness. My little one.

I take the beetroot from him and carefully place it in the fridge.

‘Eat?’ he asks.

‘Later,’ I say.

And I give him a tight, close hug.

He is my miracle.

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