Fertile Ground


She said she used coffee grounds to fertilize her plants.

“Really?” I said.

“Coffee grounds,” she said, “Here, want a sniff?”

She thrust a plant under my nose.  It tickled.

“Great!” I said.


Her apartment was minimalistic.  Sparsely furnished, everything white and gray.  A painting on the wall, also white and gray, but with a slash of red through it, as though a couple of samurai had pranced about the room.

“No bonsai?” I said.

She went a bit quiet.

“I’m not so keen on … on stunted things,” she said.



We fell into an awkward silence.  Sipped our coffees.

“You don’t think it’s too …” she threw an arm out into the room, “Too cold?”

“You mean, the decor?”

“Yes,” she said, “The decor.”

“I like it,” I said, “And those coffee grounds, great idea!”

“That was my idea.  The rest,” she threw out the same arm, “Is my ex-boyfriend’s work.  Well, he was my boyfriend back then, of course.  Interior decorator.  You don’t think it’s too cold?”

“Well, now you mention it, I can’t help thinking …” I said.


“This Dutch friend I have …”


“No, more a neighbour, really, male, distinctly male.  Everything is orange with him.”

She pulled a face.

“Yes,” I said, “It’s too much, you know.”

“I can imagine.”

“But, I was thinking, a touch of orange, just a touch, let’s call it a kiss …”

“A kiss?”

“Yes, a kiss.  A kiss of orange could go a long way.”


She got up from the armchair, seemed to shake herself a little, then came over and sat down next to me on the sofa.

“And where do you think this touch of orange should go?”

“Well, I’m no interior decorator mind …”

“Thank God for that!” she said.

“Maybe a couple of cushions here,” I pointed behind us, “And, a floor lamp over there in that corner.  One of those tall elegant lamps, you know, with two shades.”

She looked over at the corner.

“I can see that,” she said.

We smiled at one another.  Now, that was out of the way.