“I’m tired of work, you know? It feels like nothing I do ever leads to anything getting done,” his friend moaned.
Trellis sat patiently, stirring his coffee and listening to his old college roommate talk about his work, his love life (christ, he thought), his hobby, whatever streamed from his consciousness. Mostly he sat stirring his coffee, cold after so many minutes of waiting to get a word in edgewise, and thinking about his plants.
“Anyway, you know how it is. Chicken one day…hey, uh, are you there?” Flake asked, talon tapping on the table.
The deer, shaken from his navel gazing, let the stirring stick go, briefly watching it spin around listlessly in the coffee. “S-sorry.”
“Nah, nah, don’t worry about it. What’s on your plate these days? How’s the flower shop?”
“Spring’s around the corner. The plants aren’t used to it being so nice so early. Global warming…”
“Yeah,” said his friend, gazing out the window at the rain. “Terrifying.”
Trellis tapped his stick against the side of his coffee cup and gently laid it down on the table, as if that would somehow improve the quality of the already dead beverage. He took a pull from the cup, sucking down the grounds. “This coffee…detestable.”
Flake laughed. “What, you don’t like pour-over? Got any plans?”
“You know I don’t like pour-over and you know I don’t have plans.”
“Want to get together for drinks tonight? The Shady Pine has some really out-there new wave jazz trio doing a downtempo set.” He waved his hands in the air when he said “out there” as if to emphasize the oddity.
“Five dollar cover,” the bird sing-songed. He waggled his eyebrows some. “Eh? Ehhh?”
“No, no. Evening in. Sorry. Maybe another time?” Trellis frowned.
A sigh. “Sure thing, man. I understand.”
– – –
Trellis McCormick boarded the bus home, took out his little black book, and started doodling. Little tiny sketches of trees, plants, grassy patches the bus passed by. He wrote the names in the margins.
The rain picked up. What was simply background noise and streaks on the windows had turn into full blown wipers-on-high interrupting-idle-conversation rain. It beat against the leaves of the trees and the blades of grass in his neighborhood. The bus slowed down to cope with the weather and Trellis perked up.
He took a pull from his water bottle, then offered an empty toast to the windows and the plants beyond them as the bus rattled down the forest road. “Spring,” he whispered to no one in particular. “It’s here,” he smiled.