Wednesday, 15 September 2010

The Death of Sarah-chan

Apparently I’m not the only one who doesn’t much enjoy the heat we’ve had this summer. There is another Sarah-chan who has fared even worse. I even have before and after pics to prove the point.

But first let me go back, to when I first met Sarah-chan. It was mid-December and she was healthy and happy – she likes the cold weather. Of course, I didn’t call her Sarah-chan then, that was a name given to her many months later by U, but I digress. Sarah-chan and I met in the train station near school, she was gorgeous and caught my eye from where she sat at the front of the florist’s display. Her bright red leaves made me smile and remember my mother’s Christmas tradition of buying the reddest poinsettia she could find for my grandmother every year. While my grandmother’s annual gift tended to be quite large, I was attracted to Sarah-chan because of her diminutive size. I knew she would fit perfectly on my desk beside my computer and give me a little bit of Christmas spirit as I worked on my thesis through the holidays. And that she did, I loved having her there beside my computer almost seeming to cheer me on.

I finished my thesis a few weeks after Christmas and began spending less time at my computer. Sarah-chan became somewhat neglected, no longer did she get asked for advice on which word sounded better in a certain sentence, but perhaps more importantly, her waterings became rather more irregular. By the time I left for Canada in early February her red leaves had all fallen off, and she was looking rather scrawny. I was going to toss her – who keeps poinsettias after Christmas anyways? I’m sure grandma chucked hers a few weeks after New Years every year!

But U came to little Sarah-chan’s rescue. Perhaps he was lonely wanted something to look after while I was away for 3 whole weeks. I happily gave her to him, however, figuring that she’d die on him in a week or two anyways.

Much to my surprise, however, when I came back to Tokyo, U proudly announced Sarah-chan was healthy and green. It took me a while to figure out who or what he was talking about (it was his first use of the nickname for the plant, and I spent the longest time trying to figure out if it was a good thing that I had turned green or not…), but once I did figure it out I told a very happy U that he was welcome to keep her. He was full of plans to lavish her with care and love and bring her back to my apartment the following Christmas. I’m not sure if Sarah-chan will be able to become a redhead again after going green, but I wasn’t about to rain on his dream. He was taking it all so seriously after all – opening the curtains every morning and leaving them open so little Sarah-chan could get her daily dose of sunlight, watering her regularly, and meticulously watching her leaves for any sign of wilting.

Fast forward to the middle of summer. Poor Sarah-chan didn’t much like a week alone in the very warm confines of U’s dorm room. She looked very wilted when he got back, but regular waterings and the use of the AC at night (I convinced U he didn’t need to leave the AC on in his empty dorm room all day for the sake of a plant), and she started perking up.

It was then that poor Sarah was poisoned. U came back from Indonesia to discover his dorm room had been taken over by a horde of dust mites. No amount of sheet washing or dusting or vacuuming was getting rid of them so he went and bought a bug bomb. The first one didn’t get the suckers and he was still getting covered in little welts every night, so he bought a second stronger bug bomb, letting it off as he left to come to my place for the weekend.

When he got back Sarah-chan was looking wilted again. He turned on the AC and gave her some water as he cleaned up the residue from the bug bomb, figuring she was just over-heated and thirsty. A few days went by, however, and she continued to sicken, getting more and more wilted as she gradually lost the strength to hold her leaves up tall. Having realized what he did, U tried rinsing off her leaves and planned to buy special plant food for her. Long days at work, however, meant he wasn’t able to buy the plant food and poor Sarah-chan continued to sicken.

Her once green leaves are now brown and crinkly and still U refuses to get rid of her. He is heart broken that he let down poor Sarah-chan. I think he feels he let me down in letting her die and I can’t seem to convince him that he actually saved her and gave her an extra half year of life.


  1. Love the story - I laughed out loud when I saw the final photo. I don't think there is much hope for Sarah-chan.

  2. Poor Sarah-chan! And poor U! There is so much love in this story, from everything U did, and in your beautiful attempt at consolation at the end. love and hugs, Cath

  3. Sharon - no, there really isn't any hope for Sarah-chan. U refuses to throw her out quite yet though...

    Cath - I'm just glad this was a plant! U has been talking about how he'd love to get a cat when we move in together... I'm not sure I could handle having to deal with him loosing a cat!

  4. I think it would help if he does not call it or anything else Sarah-chan! When you live together, hopefully he won't need these substitute items to stand in for you... And it's 'losing', not 'loosing'! (Sorry, I'm in proofreading mode...)

    love and hugs,

  5. Cath - one of my current projects at work currently being translating, editing, and proofreading a major overhaul of the English website, I find myself unable to proofread, or even read through what I've written when it isn't work related... So there will be spelling and grammar mistakes, despite your best efforts (and the emails my father sends with corrections as well!)

  6. Okay, I'll try to turn off my internal proofreader when reading your blog... Just read an MA thesis that's getting ready for submission, so it's on high alert!
    love and hugs,