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While we escorted one child across New South Wales, handcuffed, and as far away as possible from the bright lights and debauchery of the city to the beach, our other child was left to ruminate her lot and has since accused us of neglect.

Red Hot Chilli Plant Test Of Love

Jon Hibbins Chilli Plant on http://www.flickr.com

‘Neglect, in her hour of need’, I think, were her exact words.

In justification of our actions, NC is twenty-one years old this year and we needed someone to stay at home to attend to the needs/demands of The Princess.

Admittedly, the Princess can be quite needy.

You might have noticed that I don’t mention NC (Nerd Child) in my blog as much these days. That is because she has chosen to abandon us, her parents, and spend much of the past year ‘loved up’ with NB (Nerd Boy). This means that these days we are lucky to see our daughter on only the rare evenings when she deigns to come home, and books a night at the parental hotel to catch up on eating and getting her washing done.

But then bloody NB went and got himself a proper job, (because making coffee doesn’t satisfy the brain matter of a physicist) – alas, in another city – and our daughter, who in spite of her strength, intelligence, stony-faced demeanour and refusal to suffer fools, (yet who always sobs in Frozen and CSI), has had her life turned back to single-dom and suddenly needs us again.

 

We’ve all been there – in the throes of a serious relationship when fate lends a hand to test our commitment. It’s a test to teach us the principle of ‘plenty more fish in the sea’, I think, although I haven’t told NC that.

 

Unbelievably, the old man and I managed to survive a whole year of only seeing each other twice a month during our courtship, while I completed another postgraduate course that would give me zilch in terms of employment options. Looking back, it was one of the best years of my life, but that’s said with hindsight and the healthy bitterness of someone who has spent the last twenty-five years with that very same man.

There is an adjustment process when you’ve been half of a couple for too long and suddenly that other person isn’t there anymore; and NC is adapting.

Fortuitously for her, however, NB is a thoughtful bloke and considered her dilemma before he left.

He gave her a chilli plant – to nurture and love.

It’s like he doesn’t even know my daughter.

I imagine it was meant to be symbolic of their relationship, and when he gave it to her it was a healthy specimen with vibrant green leaves and bulbous purple chillis.

That was a week ago.

Intelligent men can be trying and over-think, in my opinion – a piece of expensive jewellery might have been a safer bet.

Day 7 and NC has nearly murdered that plant twice.

And she can’t understand it. My daughter is a logical person – a scientist (although rocks, not living things, are her speciality) – and she has fed it and put it in a sunny spot, so she can’t understand why it wants to die on her.

Like mother, like daughter, ‘nurturing’ is not our strong point.

“That bloody chilli plant is needier than him,” she complained bitterly yesterday, having squealed in shame when she spotted several wilting leaves through the window as she ate her breakfast.

“It’s a test,” I might have responded with my wooden spoon firmly grasped in my hand. “You shouldn’t have to prove yourself with a plant.”

When did the course of true love get so fucking complicated? A pair of Tiffany earrings would have done the job. Just saying.

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