“Why don’t you try taking care of a houseplant?” they said. “It might help ground you in your day-to-day life.”

I’d been planning to ignore that advice. What nonsense, right? It’ll take a hell of a lot more than some petunias to fix what’s wrong with me.

But now I’m sitting here with a broad-leafed viney thing in a little pot on my lap like it’s something precious to me.

I don’t know what kind it is, but I saw it at some specialty shop, and it called to me, and I answered, and here it is.

It is precious to me, though, and it’s surprisingly easy to live my life in service to a plant when my own life means so little to me.

If it likes the sun, I’ll open the curtains for it. When it is thirsty I’ll offer it my water. When it is hungry, I—

Wait, do plants get hungry? That thought feels a little funny to me, but there’s something in the curve of its flower buds that suggests hunger. If I wait at its side and keep my attention on it, maybe it’ll come to me.

Wouldn’t be the first time I slept on the floor, anyway.

When it blooms, I find its pollen too sweet to resist. Every flower beckons, demanding soft kisses, and I can’t bring myself to deny this plant anything. Why would I? I never believed myself to have much worth until I found purpose in caring for my love here.

With every kiss, we grow closer, and as we do, I come to understand its hunger.

I take it outside with me to a small grove I know, bringing a handful of tools with us.

It’s easier than I expected to dig into the earth here, even with this rusty, disused shovel.

The soil is nice and soft between my toes, and when I sit down, cradling my beloved in my lap, the dirt feels like it cradles me with equal affection.

The knife doesn’t even hurt. It splits my belly open in a graceful arc, and I open myself as easily as I opened the earth.

So easy to keep the pain distant. I’ve had a lifetime of practice. They might as well not even be my hands digging into the hole, pulling out weird clumps of gooey meat—just enough to make room—tossing them on top of the dirt pile next to the hole.

I lift my beloved out of its pot, gently supporting the mass of roots and freeing them from the bulk of the soil it’s been living in.

The way its roots immediately grip the exposed entrails left inside me, I know it feels much more at home already.

The two of us are growing closer than I ever imagined I could with anyone, but I guess plants are just better than people.

Look at how big and healthy our leaves are!