33. Helen the Gardner

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Helen was outside watering her lawn like she does every other day. She loves her lawn and her garden. She has the prettiest house on the block, but it's only because she works at it very hard. Helen is in her mid-40s but you wouldn't know it by looking at her. Her face is nearly wrinkle-free, and it seems she has more energy than people half her age.

"Good morning, Helen." I said as I walked outside on my way to work. "Hi Robert, how are you?" she asked. "Fine! I'm doing fine. Your yard is looking good," I said. And it was. Sometimes it really bothers me that I can't get my lawn to look as nice as hers. "What's your secret, Helen?" I asked. "Secret to what?" She answered. "To having such a beautiful lawn! I water mine, I seed mine every year and I still can't get it to look as good as yours. I'm jealous!" I said with a smile. Helen just nodded and had this funny little look on her face that suggested she was just better at keeping her lawn nice than I was.

I didn't like that look, but I guess it's okay that she feels that way. I've known Helen since she was a little girl and things have not gone well with her lately. She's been alone for a long time. She wasn't very pretty when she was young. She had terrible acne that covered her face from ear to ear. It made her very self-conscious so she didn't go out on dates very much, but that all changed when she met Josh. They were together for more than 10 years until, sadly, they went their separate ways. Since then, Helen has nurtured and tended her garden as if it were her child.

When I got home later that day, she was outside working on her roses. I said hello to her as I walked to my door, and she smiled brightly. She looked beautiful.

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