art by Jeffrey Redmond
The Mobius Garden
by James Bambury
When Suriak was given her first watercolors she painted the garden she saw every night when she slept. In the first week she worked through the pad of paper that came with the set, and in the week after she covered the walls of her room with embankments of flowers. Her parents made sure she was never out of paper after that.
"What's that?" her mother asked as Suriak filled a sheet with splotches of yellow.
Brandon had never tried drawing anything his whole life even though he was older than Suriak. He was shocked when he saw the cloud of fireflies over his head while wandering through the city. He chased them through the spiral ramp of a parking lot and saw the swarm disappear through a metal grate in the wall. Brandon tugged at the grate and it swung open on a pair of hinges; inside there was daylight.
A garden opened up on the inside of the parking lot grate. Flowers and plants bloomed everywhere, and a giant banyan tree with draping branches stood in the middle of it all. Brandon went in further, having completely forgotten about the fireflies. He was transfixed by the patterns in leaves, petals, and sepals. He realized he had no idea if he had been in the garden for minutes or hours. There was a sun in this place that stood overhead and didn't appear to move beyond noon. He returned to the grate and climbed back into the parking lot. He turned to look back through the grate and saw only gray.
When Suriak was older she started using more elaborate supplies and tools for her artwork. Boys from school called and asked if she wanted to go see a movie or read books of poetry together.
"No, thank you. I have an important painting to finish."
She hung up the phone and opened up a tube of rusty red paint for the cat she had outlined.
Brandon had met a girl he was falling more and more in love with. He was on the way to her house with a ring in his pocket when he saw the green eyes in the alley.
"Do you remember the garden?" asked the cat.
"Yes," said Brandon, stopping suddenly. "Sometimes I dream about it."
"Would you like to see the garden again? Then you would not have to dream?" asked the rusty red cat.