A long while ago, back when Ann and I were dating, she gave me some of her prized shamrocks. What made them particularly great was that she gave me both green and red shamrocks, which are seemingly harder to find.
This was back when I was in Columbus, maybe a good four years ago. The shamrocks were hearty and hale, and doing well. I did some reading on them, and found that shamrocks go through a dormant period, where they just either don’t grow or show any visible signs of life.
The picture (above) was taken in Chicago, circa 2001. The plants were still doing really well, and flowering.
Over time though, I let them deteriorate. They went from what you see here to a stem or two. Since then, I’ve repotted them… but probably not as often as I should have. Eventually, the shamrocks dwindled from their initial prominence to a few lonely strands.
In many ways, this mirrored how I felt my friendship was with Ann. We had a strong relationship while we were together in Columbus, but after we parted ways (me for Chicago, her for California), our conversations became less frequent. The time between calls increased.
I let something that was pretty strong diminish away. This is what I tell myself, each time I see the shamrocks. When Ann died, I looked to these plants that I had once cared for… and blamed myself for the withering. They symbolized to me my own callousness, my own indifference. My neglect.