The word “orchid” comes from the Greek word for testicles, orchis, but this beauty is all woman.

The word “orchid” comes from the Greek word for testicles, orchis, but this beauty is all woman.

I am now in care of a Phalaenopsis orchid. My co-workers gave me the beautiful plant as a birthday gift. Its sepals are bright fuchsia and striated, like the palm of a cold hand or stretch marks on the hip’s skin. They explode on the end of a slender stem like in-love faces. I feel nervous holding its pot. On the long subway ride from school to home, riders moved aside for me and my orchid as I settled into the train, uncharacteristically considerate and careful. Looking at it high atop my book shelf, safe from my cat, I’m nervous I’ll lead it to a swift demise. I need some guidance.

I wish I lived near a 19th century botanist who spent his days staring through magnified lenses, a scruffy and wretched recluse more adept at communicating by way of cultivating plant life, grunting affirmations or negations.
Internet research just doesn’t do it for me.