Sandrine grew up green. Now, this was not because she recycled or used solar panels, but because she was a plant. A holly bush to be exact. She had the most gorgeous, the plumpest, the reddest holly berries among all the other holly bushes. “I am the best looking bush in my pot,” thought Sandrine. The other holly bushes murmured enviously, “I wish I was that green” or “My holly berries can never compare to that sparkling.” Sandrine made sure to groom and preen herself every night. “After all,” she thought, “who knows who might buy me?”
One day, after her daily preening, large hands reached down and grasped her pot. Sandrine screamed at the change in height, but then settled her rustling leaves when she noticed she was on the cash register counter in the main store of the florist. She mockingly waved her leaves at the other “ugly” bushes as the door closed behind her.
Soon, she found her way into a superior pot. The red polka dots around the rim and the sky blue handles made her feel beautiful.
“Where am I?” she asked the other plants that were in the room with her. An old fern bush answered in his deep rustic voice from his corner,
“In the home of Ralph Waldo Emerson.”
“The writer!” she exclaimed.
“Sadly not. He is an environmentalist who takes care of and heals sick plants. However, his parents were poets.” Sandrine took no notice of what he said as she thought, ‘Sickly plants. Why am I here?’ The fern rustled his bristles indignantly. Sandrine glanced at him and asked, “Did I say that out loud?” He did not answer her latter question.
Instead he replied, “Have you not seen yourself? Come, look in the mirror.” Sandrine looked around the tiny glass room; she had not noticed the mirror hanging in the corner. Then, ignoring the gold edges of the mirror that she desperately wanted to rub her leaves over to test the validity of the gold, she stared at her reflection and promptly keeled over. Her pot hit the ground with a thud and as dirt spilled out, Sandrine’s mind shut down. She repeated a phrase as the image in the mirror burned into her memory.
“I’m ugly. I’m ugly.”
“No! You are just sick. Dr. Emerson will heal you and you will be back to your shop in no time.” The fern’s deep voice broke through Sandrine’s mind.
“But how! I was the most beautiful, with the most luscious red berries!” she shouted, her leaves waving furiously. “You did something, didn’t you? You made me look like this. Let me go!” her voice cracked a little as she screamed her displeasure.
“I did nothing. This is the true you. You are sick in mind and body. Your hubris has turned your berries black and have wilted your leaves. Well, your hubris and your refusal to be cared for in the shop.”
“What! How is that…explain,” she demanded. The ancient fern did not speak, but made Sandrine reflect. Sandrine looked back into her life and realized the truth. The other pots were not jealous; they pitied her. Some bushes seemed to shy away when they saw her. Now she knew. They were not awed by her presence, but were disgusted. Finally, all her earlier triumphs and successes of never needing a pruning or water came crashing down when she saw that she was not looking at a mirror in the florist shop like she thought, but at a newer, more elegant plant. That holly bush had bright sparkling leaves that reflected the light and lush fire red berries. He was the one envied. He was the plant Sandrine thought she was.
In the moment, Sandrine changed. She was not the best, the most popular, or the queen of the holly bushes, but a sad plant that needed to find her true path. She turned to the fern and in a quiet voice whispered, “Help me.”