Green Green Grass of Home
If Wifey ever has a bucket list of must-care persons in her life, I am not sure where I would figure, on a scale of 1 to 10. But what is as certain as sunrise is that Epipremnum Aureum would beat me to it.
A native of French Polynesia, this dude has become a naturalised resident of tropical and sub-tropical regions across the world and a regular fixture in my humble home. I’m not sure when and where this affair began, but Wifey was
already drowning in ecstasy by the time I got wind of it.
Every night, I went to sleep listening to the encomiums Wifey heaped on the gallant and was woken up in the wee hours by their chinwag in the scullery, balcony and living.
“How are you today?”
“Oh boy, you look so tired and dehydrated.”
“Oh dear, you look as pale as snow. What’s wrong with you? Here, have some supplement.”
Mr Epipremnum swayed in imperturbable jocundity as Wifey’s cajolery, which I had longed to hear in our honeymoon days, reverberated across the house all the time, making me feel de trop. Weekend visitors crooned oohs and aahs as they froze in awe of Wifey’s newfound love.
The guy is no stranger to me. I knew him, whose sobriquets include Golden Pothos, Silver Vine, Devil’s Ivy, Solomon Islands Ivy, Ceylon Creeper, Hunter’s Robe and Money Plant, from my botany major days. He’s suave and sophisticated, and looked rich. There’s an air of class around him, and I know his family and its social standing. I know that his qualities outweigh his vices. The most realistic of all the reasons why I feigned ignorance about his arching presence in our lives is the compassion towards a living thing.
So intense was Wifey’s love for him, she even booked an extra ticket when we relocated to Singapore in 2000. Ladies who had crowded to see us off, nursing the dream to adopt him, were in a shock to see Wifey painstakingly stuff the money plant in a large, corrugated box to transport it thousands of kilometres across the ocean. Every house we inhabited since was a Republic of Love, where the money plant was the king and prince.
It was on the strength of a couple of drinks at Ceylon Club in Singapore, I
finally raised the topic.
“Why do you love the Ceylon Creeper so much?”
“Because it makes the home livelier, unlike you. It’s evergreen, unlike you. It requires less maintenance, unlike you. It reduces stress, unlike you. It could bring wealth, health, happiness and positive vibes in the house, unlike you. Finish your dink now.”
“You are getting personal about it. Be scientific.”
“I’m surprised you were a botany graduate. Haven’t you heard Vava memorising the line, trees and plants provide shelter, food, pure air, and many other useful benefits to humans? The money plant is good at removing indoor pollutants.”
Taking the argument forward wasn’t good for mental health, so I let her be happy with her green shoots of love, which I thought was crucial for the sustainability of marriage. The more financial commitments life brought upon us, the more money plants sprouted in our home. But the affair left a sour taste when I noticed a can of American lager missing from the fridge.
“Where’s it? Did you drink?”
“No, I fed it to the money plant.”
Every time she returned from vacation, I was accused of a conspiracy to starve the plants to death.
“They died of the summer heat,” I argued.
“It’s a plant for all seasons. The point is you didn’t care a damn about my feelings.” All hell broke loose when my friends magnanimously offered to help prune the plants on a weekend.
“Don’t you know letting outsiders prune the plant would give away your wealth?” It was a scream.
“The plant has nothing to do with money. It’s called so because its round, flat leaves resemble coins,” I tried to argue when the house was turning into a little forest. Every tumbler and water bottle was used up.
“Besides, the Ceylon Creeper’s biological invasion is a global threat to agriculture, natural ecosystems, biodiversity and human and animal health,” I reasoned.
“Sure you aren’t growing it to attract wealth, but to purify our living nest?
“No, it’s a feel-good thing. I love plants and trees. Period. By the way, did you buy this month’s Big Ticket?
“Yes, darling,” I shouted over the hissing shower.
And when I returned from the washroom, she was prostrating to one of the potted plants, maybe seeking blessings for a bounty from the Big Ticket.