After R. left me for a town with better coffee, and L. and I parted with naught but bittersweet memories in trade (all her plants had been sacrificed to her cats, none of which she was interested in bestowing upon me, thankfully), I was a bit at loose ends. I had taken leave of the Philosophy department at Temple and started up some studies in computer science. It was in a Discrete Mathmatics class that I met E. She was a Bryn Mawr student, and had completed all but her thesis. While she avoided doing that, she took classes part time at Villanova to keep her brain moving. She was a fascinating and lovely person, and it took her little effort to trick me into her bed. But before we went to bed, that first evening when I drove her home from class, I watered James' plant.
E. had two roommates, both of whom shared her first initial, and one of whom shared her given name, and thus came about the name of their residence: The House of Es. There had been another roommate, James, whom I have never met. James had apparently moved out abruptly, leaving only a broken, trash-picked sofa and a rubber plant, and several months' unpaid rent and utilities. He told them that the sofa more than compensated for the missed rent.
The rubber plant bore the brunt of the Es' displeasure with James. They had decided to kill it, slowly, letting it die of thirst. It had 3 leaves when I first visited the House of Es. I made a point of watering James' plant every time I was there. As E. was rather fabulous, both as a person and in bed, this tended to be quite a lot, and James' plant began to recover quite spectacularly.
Unfortunately, fabulousness is not sufficient to ensure "in-love"-ness. Love is, in fact, an evil and capricious bastard that dooms us all, and while E.v2 and I kept our activities far from the House of Es, truth will, inevitably, be known. All in all, awful and unfair to E. Overwhelming guilt is inadequate punishment for what we did.
During the time of my banishment from the House of Es, James' plant suffered greatly. Even after E. herself was unfairly banished from the kingdom for taking the turn of events too much to heart, I did not spend as much time there as I had. By the time everyone graduated and the House was formally abandoned, James' plant had only a single, yellow leaf, at the end of a long and dessicated stick.
James' plant, once liberated, has flourished. It grew to enormous size then rotted from the roots. The cuttings rooted well, however. Each bears the memory of a more difficult time, and seems determined to make this life better than the one it left behind.