pearls around the neck • 77
“Looks liiika toad.”
“And look the’e, on yer left: ain’t it the face of a wise man?”
“Yep, maybe too.”
“Look at that one, the rock with the green moss: I placed it close to the waterfall. Now, ya see, t’looks
liiika woman with green hair shedding her tears in the pond.”
Bob was right: it was truly beautiful.
So I stayed with him under the ferns, listening to what the stones had to tell us. Suddenly it was like a
great cacophony of rocks all telling their story at once. The toad came to life, the wise man soothed the
green-haired woman and we closed our eyes to better hear the water follow its course.
The third phase could be named: the great escape.
To cut our eccentricities short, I suggested to Bob to shorten this session since my husband was due
to arrive 12 hours later. I knew that I could not put a big red bow on his present but I could at least
make the premises as neat and tidy as possible. I went back inside, got dressed and started going
through the tasks of my routine, daily “to-do” list. Absorbed in my own activities, I somewhat forgot
about the garden. By the end of the afternoon, however, I realized that the Cadillac was not longer
part of the décor, and that Bob had vanished. I took a tour of the property: a few scattered beer cans,
cigarette butts everywhere, his wheelbarrow, my shovel and my pickax. Oh, well. I just picked it all up.
Everything had to be perfect for the upcoming evening.
“What a lovely surprise, honey, what a great idea! Who made this gardening masterpiece?” Instead of a
true answer, I just cooed, at once strutting with pride and squirming timidly.
We had a late dinner, with a lot of good wine.
We let the evening drag on as we settled down comfortably in the living room: one last glass of Malbec,
and a Camel.
The water noises in the background, the gentle trickle of the waterfall made the evening even more
But this nice atmosphere was soon disturbed by a somewhat wilder sound: was it splashing? Could it
A terrible shiver ran right up and down my spine: I got up mechanically while my husband kept
sipping his Argentinean wine.
I turned on the garden lights.
Something was definitely off.
Or, rather, in the pond.
Something was happening in the pond.
There was a man in the pond.
Floating on his back, his face upward, gazing dreamily at the stars.
The haggard look on my face must have alerted my husband: he got up and came to my side.
“Baby, there is someone in the garden!”
“No, baby. There is a man in the pond.” I was more specific and I knew why I was able to specify this
There was a hesitant look first, then enormous question marks in his eyes. “Who are you?” my