“…claimed that because dandelions don’t have arms, she should be excused from the painting requirement,” Matthias Bing bristled, sniffing as if the air annoyed him. He wiggled his legs a tad, tucking them further underneath the sofa pillow. Not the cushion, but the pillow, which had been commissioned and designed to Katja’s exact specifications. “And I said that such an excuse was complete bullpucky because first of all, flowers may lack arms, but they have petals. Perfectly valid petals.”
From the opposite end of the sofa, Katja glanced up from her Cabernet glass. She waited a few seconds. “I was listening, Matty,” she said quietly. “But I’m not really following this.” A half-apologetic smile flashed towards him, paired with her usual side order of guilt. Katja adored her husband, but her reality involved earnings reports and Wikipedia entries; anecdotes about his day sounded like a bowl of pretentious applesauce singing. Last month, she’d celebrated twelve years at Edward Jones by rushing to the bakery after work, snatching up an exquisite Black Forest gâteau, and then wading so deep into the cake’s historical origins that she forgot to actually eat her slice. Matthias, who preferred scarfing down dessert over discussing where it was born, polished off her portion without her notice.
“Look, every student needs to…” Matthias crunched the thought, rolling it around in his mouth. What flavors do I mean? “If I tell a class full of theatre majors that they’re botanical for the next 50 minutes, what’s their motivation? To lie down in a sunbeam and feast on chlorophyll, waiting for the inevitable and terrifying bee swarm?”
Katja shuddered involuntarily. “Sounds like a Richard S. Crawford novel.”
“Yes. But how does a 21-year-old capture the essence of a plant? How can they truly inhabit experiences so different from their own?” Katja noted that they’d entered the gesticulating phrase of today’s sermon early. Her husband normally refrained from waving his arms until he’d reached the 10-minute mark. “So I asked them to connect, Kat. To paint as their characters might. They have petals, Katja. Arms aren’t necessary! That’s just a social construct!”
“I’M RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS FLOWER PATCH!”, her husband hollered at the fireplace.
Katja sipped more wine. Did he say a few minutes ago that something was “complete bullpucky”? I must have misheard. Matthias was explaining how limiting the paint color selection to rudimentary hues could serve as a creative catalyst for a plant’s backstory. I did, right? No one actually says “bullpucky.”