Into the Coup
A fresh and warm Monday morning fills the city of Calgary with positive energy and light. The pinks, yellows, and blues of the sunrise show this. A courier van parks out in the alley behind a small gem of a restaurant called, “The Coup.” An ethical vegetarian restaurant in the hip seventeenth avenue southwest district. The owner Ivy Lane, walks out of the backdoor, smiles, and waves to the van driver who opens the door to show her the fresh produce that she had ordered.
“Good Morning Ivy.” He says leaning up against the vehicle
She replies. “Good morning Fred.”
“You look lovely today.” Fred says as he looks at her stylish outfit of a shiny skirt, blue jean jacket, red boots, and a T-shirt that says, “FIND YOUR WILD.”
“Thank you!” She walks over to the tomatoes, picks it up, and presses her nose against it to breath in its glorious garden-fresh scent. “For the compliment and the beautiful treasures, you just brought me.”
“Going to be in the specials today?” Fred asks.
“You know it.” Ivy breaths out with contentment.
Without another word, both Ivy and Fred pick up the fruit and vegetable crates to bring them inside to the kitchen. Ivy looks to her sous-chefs and puts the crate on the island counter.
“Hank, Suzie.” She greets her sous-chefs and pauses while Fred puts the other crate below the counter. Ivy instructs to Suzie. “Will you wash and prep these while I go prepare the restaurant?”
“Sure thing.” Suzie says with a big smile and brings the crate on the island over to the large steel sink.
Ivy goes out of the kitchen and into the restaurant. She looks around and feels her heart swell up with pride as she looks at the room. As she takes her watering can, Ivy goes to her giant plant wall to give it a much-needed drink. They don’t perk up immediately but she closes her eyes and puts her hand against the frame. She silently whispers an ancient chant that has the plants stand up and look a little greener. For a split second the leaves glow before looking like ordinary plants again, showing off their magical lifeforce.
She flutters her eyes open and smiles at the healthy plants. “Good morning my dears.”
She walks over to the wooden tables and brings down the red high-backed chairs from off them. The long windows give a lot of natural light that feels so wonderful against her skin. She walks over to the two trees she keeps in the corner and they stand a little straighter in her presence. She gives the palm tree a wink and goes to the dark wooded bar to wipe it down.
She thinks back to when she started this place in 2005 and why she did it. She wanted to show people that ethical food is the best way to eat because not only is it healthy and doable but delicious. She also recycles, makes sure that everything she uses is ecologically friendly, and that she can do whatever she can to improve the natural world.
Looking outside, she knows that it is going to be a beautiful day.
It’s only 11:15 AM and the Coup is bustling. There are customers in every seat and servers running around trying to get everyone’s order. Ivy is busy in the kitchen with at least five other chefs cooking away. Half of them are prepping while Ivy and Suzie were doing most of the cooking. With Suzie’s back to her Ivy looks at the vegetables she is cooking for the soup of the day aka tomato, basil, and spinach. With a dash of multiple spices, Ivy silently mutters an incantation where the soup briefly glows red and gently starts to bubble. This soup will warm her patron’s hearts and open them up to new possibilities. Nothing major but it will give the people who eat this a good day.
As she stirs the soup, Ivy rolls up her sleeves. Suddenly, she turns her arm and sees an all-too-familiar green vein bulge out. With a heavy sigh she rolls her sleeve back down before anyone can see it. She has to do something about this but later. She can’t just leave in the middle of the lunch rush. A few breaths in, she calms herself and hopefully the vein goes away on its own.
Once again, her glamour powers are giving her trouble. No one needs to know that she is a nature spirit that dwells in and uses the trees for her powers. She originally came from the Nether Realm where she can keep her skin in its normal complexion but in the Earth Realm it is a little harder to do that. It is very hard being a dryad here as more and more trees are being destroyed. There for she has more trouble as with her powers and appearance. The thirty-six trees she plants with Tree-Canada helps but more needs to be done. She just doesn’t know what right now. And if she doesn’t do something about it soon, she will turn completely into a plant before the next century.
“I know what you’re going to say Eddie.” Sean Palmer grumbles as he pushes the wheels of his wheelchair beside his brother.
“I’m not saying anything, except that I’m glad you are finally letting me taking you out for lunch.” Eddie says calmly.
“Oh yeah! I’m a real charity case.”
“I never said that and neither does Mom.” Eddie says to him in a sterner voice. “But you have got to get out and do something with yourself.” Before Sean can angrily reply, his brother interrupts. “We’re here.”
The two brothers look up at a big metal sign that says, “The Coup.” They turn their heads and look at the patio. It is a simple patio but it has potted herbs and plants sitting on the railing and umbrellas to make sure that people are comfortable in the hot sun. Eddie smiles at the couple on the patio and returns the little wave that they give him. He knows them a little bit since they both are regulars here.
“Really Eddie?” Sean says with contempt. “This is the “great” restaurant you were telling me about? It should be called “The Rabbit’s Den.””
“Be nice, Sean.” Eddie orders. “The food here may not be the meat, grease, and potatoes that you are used to but everything I’ve ever had here was awesome. You could use a better diet anyway.”
As his brother puts on his covid-mask, he walks in the restaurant and greets one of the servers. Sean miserably puts on his own mask and rolls himself inside.
The server whose name is Sally, sits them outside where Sean sits beside the herb basket. She lets them know that the menu can be viewed by their phones if they hold them over the scanner. As Eddie follows Sally’s instructions, Sean starts trimming the herbs with his fingers to make the basket look a little fresher.
“You still have your landscaping skills in you.” Eddie says, happy to see his brother not complaining for once.
“That was a year ago and if I was still a landscaper, I wouldn’t be in this hole.” Sean says glumly.
Eddie shakes his head and sighs. “Sean…”
“What?” Sean raises his voice and starts randomly pointing. “It is a hole! The kind of hole that suckers like you and these people think will make you happier and healthier just because.”
With that, the couple turn and look at him with shock on their faces. The couple stand up and turn to leave when Sally comes out to the patio. She watches them leave and tries to find out what is wrong, only to be met with mad silence. She looks with a befuddled distress at the two brothers on the patio.
Sean just sneers at her and says, “What are you looking at? You going to take our order or what?”
Eddie slams his hand on the table and points angrily to his brother. “Sean! Now that is enough!”
“Your right. It is enough with all the pity stares and smug looks I see every single day..” As Sean starts his rant, Ivy can hear the raised voices from the kitchen.
As she walks out she sees two of her regular customers sitting inside at the bar. She knows that they were sitting outside in the sun. Before Ivy goes outside, she walks to the couple.
“What’s going on?” Ivy asks.
“That man in a wheelchair just let loose.” The male customer says.
Ivy nods and says to them. “I’m sorry. I will give you both a free meal plus some extra Alberta Berry Apple Gold Iced Tea each for your trouble.”
“Deal!” The female customer smiles and puts a hand on her companion’s shoulder. “That’s our favorite.”
Ivy smiles and nods to the customers but gets an angry face on as she strides out to the patio. As the man in the wheelchair still yells at his brother, Ivy whispers to Sally to go inside and get her phone ready to call the police.
“Hey!” Ivy looks at the two brothers and yells. “Knock it off! What do you think you are doing?”
“You the chef here?” Sean mockingly says. “Why don’t you go back inside, cook us some of those shrubs, and…”
Ivy pushes past Eddie and points her finger at Sean, instantly silencing him. “You shut that trash-talking mouth of yours before I pull out your spine from your ass and turn it into a tail!”
Suddenly Sean’s eyes go wide as he watches this fearless woman confront him. Eddie walks up to Ivy putting his hands up as if to placate her.
“Please. I’m sorry. He’s my brother, he’s been in a wheelchair for a year, and is in pain.” He explains calmly. “We didn’t mean to…”
With a wave of her finger, she shouts at Eddie. “I don’t care!” She stands back to look at both brothers. “You two can’t come here, act like assholes, and abuse my staff and customers. Both of you get out and don’t come back! You’re banned!”
Both men look at her in shock and awe as she walks back towards the patio door. As they get their phones and coats, she takes one last look at them.
“It doesn’t matter if you have your legs or not. Nor does it matter what agony you are in.” She says with an angered calm. “A measure of a man is how he uses his words, not his legs. Grow up!”
Ivy closes the patio door behind her, leaving the brothers to exit out of the patio gate. Embarrassed and dejected, Eddie turns to his brother and without saying anything grabs his chair to push him. Sean says nothing as his brother pushes him down the sidewalk. Although he is surprised, Sean finds himself not humiliated but impressed. That good-looking woman who is skinnier than a birch tree just put him in his rightful place. He is being an asshole and instead of looking at his disability, looks at him as a man. He has got to see her again.
Ivy is back in the kitchen completely breathless. She pushes away a strand of her thick red hair behind her ear. She brushes her sweaty palm against her apron and looks down at her skirt to make sure it is straight. She takes a deep cleansing breath and prepares to get cooking again. That man in the wheelchair didn’t shake her. Everyone knows her policy on abusive people. So, without any trouble she gets herself back in her cooking zone.
Suddenly she feels a pain, hit her in the stomach. Sadly, Ivy knows what this pain means and she has to check herself. Quickly rushing into the bathroom, Ivy looks at her face and sees that her normally round deep-set brown eyes are slowly turning into wide green eyes. She looks at her arms to see that not only is her veins turning green again but a little leaf is sticking out of her wrist. She has to go into nature immediately.
Ivy rushes to the kitchen and grabs her purse with out a word to anyone. She jumps into her car, turns on the ignition, and speeds away towards Edworthy park.
As soon as she arrives, Ivy sends a text to Hank detailing what she wants them to do as she walks on through the park to get where she needs to go.
The text says, “I’m sorry to speed away but it was a huge emergency. Please take care of the rest of the lunch crowd.”
Almost immediately, she gets a text back saying, “Sure thing.”
A breath of relief escapes her lips and she walks on towards the Douglas Fir Trail. It is the perfect place for her to go if she is in a bind. She mostly has to watch out for hikers and runners but there are plenty of spots where that she can hide away until they are gone. Luckily, this area is empty at the moment.
She starts off walking on the wooden paths where green trees and bushes surround it. The smell is so fresh and inviting like she is coming home. In a way, she is. Trees and other natural places are a hotbed for nymphs like her. In this world, she needs to find any place available to merge with the trees and be one with nature again. Luckily, Calgary has enough parks and private places in these parks to do what she has to do. Still walking the path, she comes to a hill that had steps on it. She knows that it is going to be awhile before she comes to her destination but in the meantime, she can enjoy the sights, sounds, and smell around her.
The sound of little sparrows and finches whistling in the wind ease her way down the long, windy path. The smell of the dew on the green leaves and grass are better than any perfume that a human can create. What brings everything together is just the sight of the sun bringing out a whole variety of greens in front of her. The tiniest dark bushes and the light leaves in the trees seem to glow from the shine. With a deep contented sigh, she presses on down the path.
It isn’t long before she comes out of the woods and into a meadow where wild daisies sit on the incline that touches a rocky wall of a mountain. It is such a charming picture to see. A giggle escapes her lips when she sees a small cabbage white butterfly flutter into her view. She gives it a wave and continues to walk into the woods across from the path. In mere moments, Ivy finds the perfect place to merge. A merge is when a nymph transforms herself into her element of nature. It is used for protection, gaining energy, and gathering information from across the world. The sight of a wild rose gives her a sign that this is the wildest spot in the park.
Walking off the path and into bushes, Ivy goes to a large oak tree that is ideal for merging. She walks right up to the tree and begins to remove her clothes. Fully naked, Ivy turns her back towards the tree, closes her eyes, and mediates. Suddenly the bark of the tree slightly opens up and slowly envelopes Ivy inside.
Ivy opens up her eyes and looks out to the scene around her. She gets a perfect view of downtown Calgary, the place she has fallen in love with since the beginning of the millennium. It amazes her how steel and wood can create a place where humans and mystics can live in harmony…or close to it, anyway. Ivy’s energy recharges and she knows she will be ready for the dinner rush when she gets back.
At midnight, Ivy returns to her apartment above the restaurant pleasantly tired. She walks over to her couch and turns on her record player to listen to some soft instrumental music. Suzie constantly tells her that she should have an iPod to play her music but the way this music plays on record sounds so much more real than others. As the music surrounds her, she sprawls out on her couch and just listens to the music before getting lost in her thoughts.
Her magic is getting harder and harder to control. That is because nature is getting more and more lost despite her best efforts, it’s so hard to connect with nature the way she used to. She just has to find a way to make it all work, maybe she can find some eco-researcher or a philanthropist with a strong connection to the environment. Whatever she has to do, she will do it. Giving up her restaurant and going back to the Nether Realm is not an option. She means to stay in this world. Her eyes close and she drifts off to sleep.
A few days later, Sean who is dressed in his nicest button-up shirt and jeans rolls his way towards “The Coup.” With the bundle of flowers on his lap he wants to go and apologize to that pretty chef who owns the place. He’s really impressed with how she handled him. To her, he isn’t a disability but a man. That isn’t the only reason though. He knows that he treated the people there wrong. He has to make it right if not for him, for his brother who loves that place. So that’s why he’s outside the door right now at 11:00 AM sharp when that door opens. It is the server, Sally that opens the door.
“Woah!” Sally’s eyes go wide as she puts her hands up in front of him. “You’re not supposed to be here.”
Sean puts his hand up and gently says. “Please. I come in peace. I was hoping to talk with the owner.”
He lifts the flowers to show her. And seeing this she knows that he is being sincere. “Wait here a minute.”
Sean waited and as good as her word, Sally came back out with Ivy in tow. A look of annoyance flashes on her face and puts her hands on her hips. Sean can see that she is not happy to see him so he lifts the flowers to her.
“I just wanted to say how sorry I am for causing a scene that day. I have no excuse and it was completely uncalled for.” He says with the frankest look on his face. “I also wanted to thank you for stepping up to me the way you did. I’ve been pitied and coddled so much since my accident that I was drowning in it. You’re the first person to treat me like an equal again.” Her face softens as he hands her the flowers and continues. “And can you take the ban off my brother? I deserve it but he doesn’t. He loves your place.”
Ivy reads his face and sees his earnestness. Before he turns around to roll away, a touched Ivy says to him. “Would you like to come in and have something to eat?”
Sean turns his head, smiles, and nods. As Ivy leads him inside, he could not help but notice that her indoor plants aren’t looking so healthy. When she led him to his table in front of the plant wall, Sean got himself comfortable and started studying her plants. On the leaves he sees some yellow tinges with some brown tips. Always acting on his instinct he goes to the plant wall and checks the soil. It’s not dry but upon closer inspection of the roots they are slightly shrivelled. This tells him that their fertilizer is the wrong one. Luckily, he has a solution for that problem. So, he rolls himself back to his table and waits.
Ivy walks back towards his table with a smile and asks. “Would you like something to drink?”
“Sure, I’ll have that natural root beer I saw.” He answers.
“You got it.” Ivy perkily says but before she could walk away, Sean beckons.
“Oh wait!” She turns around and faces him again. “I couldn’t help but notice your plants are looking a little ill. May I ask what fertilizer you use?”
“I use an all-natural fertilizer that I get from the near-by flower shop.” Ivy answers but raises her eyebrows in surprise.
“Ah!” Sean says. “Well you might have the wrong acidity in that fertilizer. If you want I can help you recover them.”
“Well if you can recover them. You will get a free lunch.” Ivy says smiling despite her covid-mask covering her face.
“Deal!” He says and then tells her. “Oh! and I will try your Magic Dragon Bowl with the chickpeas, quinoa, and the peanut Thai curry. That sounds good.”
“It is one of our best dishes.” Ivy tells him. “I’ll be sure to bring out your order.”
Sean leaves the restaurant full, satisfied, and full of vigor. He never thought he would like vegetarian/vegan fare so much. The magic dragon bowl was just that… magical and fiery. The taste of those cooked vegetables and lentils filled him up yet the peanut Thai sauce gave him a huge burst of energy that he needed. As soon as it all touches his tongue, he feels a warm and invigorating feeling rush over him. Suddenly his mind and heart open up. Of course, he thinks it’s more than just the food. One sight of Ivy with her red curled hair and deep brown eyes looking at him has his heart race. He’s seen beautiful women before but this is different. There is something about her that makes him want to see her over and over again. Luckily for him, he has an excuse by helping her with her plants.
In fact, talking with Ivy about her plants gave him an idea. That’s why he is racing home right now to put his plan into action. If this works, he will not only find a new purpose but something meaningful to do for the rest of his life. If it impresses a beautiful chef in a particular restaurant, then that is just a bonus.
A few days later, Sean makes his way back to the Coup. He is eager to show Ivy his business plan and being an entrepreneur herself, he can get her input. The sidewalk is busy with all kinds of people wearing their covid-masks. He wizzes past everyone, in full control and maneuvering with a kind of grace you would think that only a dancer would have. He stops in front of the restaurant door and seeing that it is wide open, he goes in.
The first person Sean sees is Ivy and she is wiping down the bar. She looks up at him and smiles. His heart does a little flip and he makes his way over to her.
“Hi Sean.” Ivy says cheerfully putting her covid-mask on. “You look like a man on a mission.”
“I am. I’d like to go over something with you.” He says excitedly. “If you don’t mind.”
“Sure! Just give me a minute.” Ivy turns towards Sally to wave her over. Sally comes over immediately and the two of them speak in hushed tones. When they finish, Ivy comes around the counter and leads Sean to a table.
“So,” Ivy says as she sits down. “I believe I owe you a free lunch since you worked on my plants a couple days ago. They are just flourishing.”
Sean smiles at her while sitting across from her and says. “I’m happy to hear that, both about the plants and the lunch but that is not the only reason why I’m here.”
“Yes. Well I wanted to go over my business plan with you and as an entrepreneur yourself, I wondered if I could get your input.” Sean says hopefully.
“Sure!” Ivy nods at him, eager to hear what he has to say. She sits with him and removes her mask.
As an hour goes by, Ivy hears what he has to say and it is clear that he has put a lot of thought into what he is doing. His plan is to start a gardening business that specializes in container gardens. Beautiful, reasonably priced, and easy care whether someone has a disability, little time, or doesn’t know how to care for a garden. Ivy is impressed with his idea and would like to see what comes of it.
“So to bring this to a conclusion, I would like you to be my first client and it won’t cost you anything.” Sean explains. “Just a place on your counter to put my business cards for people who would be interested. What do you think?”
Ivy studies his face and being of a playful nature shakes her head no but says, “That sounds great!”
Sean laughs at her as he takes a bite out of the potato wedges. “You really had me there.”
“I think you have a great idea and should go with it.” Ivy tells him. “I would also love to be your first client. You do have a way with all things green.”
The two of them snicker together. Although it isn’t a date, neither of them has had this good of a time with someone else in a while. It’s almost like chatting with a good friend that you haven’t seen for years and are joyfully catching up. Suddenly Ivy stands up and brushes off her ripped jeans and yellow zig-zag open blouse with a dark green T-shirt that says “Balancing Out Opposites.” Sean can’t help but check her out. That casual outfit suits her.
“Well, I’ve had fun but I’d better get back to work. The supper rush will be coming soon.”
Sean pipes up. “Do you mind if I stay and work on my presentation a bit?”
“Not at all.” She says. “Just wave if you need something.”
Sean looks back down at his notebook and realizes that he will have to put this in print. Luckily, he has time and will do that tomorrow. Today, he wanted to hang out at his new favorite restaurant. He looks around at a couple of the people and hears what they order. A sad-looking lady comes and orders a tempeh shawarma with potato wedges. It comes out looking as good as it smells. As soon as the woman eats it, her face almost glows, and she looks happier as a slow smile appears on her face. It’s almost unbelievable.
The mom with two kids orders a sea buckthorn-carrot ginger tea and three rhubarb tarts for the table. While they wait, the kids are being extra loud and banging on the table with their fists. Sean figures they are under five years old and that poor woman needs a break. When the tea comes, so does the tarts. The mother pours tea into the cups and surprisingly the kids drink it. Sean never knew that kids liked tea. With that they calm down but it is the tart that lulls them into silence. Now that is amazing, if not a miracle.
Watching all these people eat, makes Sean a little peckish for another appetizer. Nothing major just the pan con tomate sounds like it could hit the spot. It isn’t long before it comes out and he can’t wait to sink his teeth into it. At first, Sean though he might be getting some vegan bruschetta but it turns out that it is more like a tomato sandwich. He won’t complain because a sandwich would be the perfect thing right now. It tastes like fresh herbs with zesty tomato on a sour piece of bread. It is a perfect balance of everything. He was happy before eating this food but now he is in a state of nirvana. He is a hardcore atheist but he is beginning to think that this woman is an angel.
Whatever is in the food, has him confident enough roll into the kitchen and he see Ivy at work. She looks so cool and calm in a fiery, harried kitchen like the eye of a hurricane. He could not help but smile at her. Suddenly, one of the sous chefs nudges her and points to Sean. She looks up, smiles, and walks towards him.
“You do know that customers are not allowed in the kitchen, don’t you?”
“Yeah but I wanted to ask you a question.” He says positively. She sees his expression and matches it with a impish look of her own while folding her hands. “Would you like to go out with me? Nothing crazy just and an outing.”
“Sure, but I will cook. I don’t like any other food than my own.” She answers him. “It’s my final offer.”
“Deal!” He chuckles at her. “Would tomorrow work for you?”
“Absolutely. That’s our slow day.” She says with a nod.
His smile gets even bigger and he turns to leave the kitchen. In his mind, he can not help but brag to himself. He’s going out with a gorgeous vegan chef. That is not something that happens everyday.
It’s a beautiful day at Edworthy Park. The sun beams down on both Sean and Ivy as they enjoy some fresh lemonade on the grass. Sean is still in his chair as Ivy lays on the blanket suntanning. She lifts her head into the air and enjoys the feel of the sun on her face. It’s like she gets more beautiful in it. Her outfit is a simple jumpsuit with strips and a yellow sleeveless top with an interesting dangly necklace. On some women it would look dumpy but on her it works. Sean can’t help but admire her. She is completely without pretention yet she looks like a goddess.
“You look gorgeous today.” Sean starts.
“Thank you.” She responds, looking up to him and smiling, “For the compliment and the day. It’s not often I have time to get out.”
“So, may I ask why you are a vegan?” Sean asks her.
“Of course.” She looks up to him and smiles. “I was born with some digestion problems. I am allergic to fish, I can not digest red meat, and I am lactose intolerant.”
“There is lactose free milk.” Sean says.
“I know but I don’t like the taste of it.” Ivy explains. “You see, I wanted to show the world that vegan cooking is delicious as well as nutritious. It’s also because I care deeply for the environment. Our carbon footprint is heavily reduced due the vegan diet.” Ivy pauses and turns onto her stomach. “I shudder to think that places like all the forests in the mountains or the beautiful ocean along our coast is being demolished. I like to think I’m helping in my own way.”
“A true nature-baby.” Sean looks down at her and smiles. “I really respect that. I admire you for being so passionate for a good cause. I used to be very passionate about gardening and planting trees.”
“Why’d you stop? Because of your accident?” Ivy asks him.
Sean shakes his head and looks a little forlorn. “I was told that I wouldn’t be able to do what I’ve spent my whole life doing. I lost my purpose and the only thing that I felt gave my life meaning. Gardening meant everything to me. I felt like I did my part to make the world naturally beautiful again.” He too pauses and gauges her face. He doesn’t see a look of pity but understanding. “It wasn’t until I met you that I felt I could still do something. You’ve inspired me.”
Ivy looks up at him and realizes that he is not like any other man that she has ever known. She has graced this world since the 1960s, during a time of peace and love that were supposed to be the norm. Sadly, the people she met didn’t practice what they preached. This is the first real time that she has seen and felt it with another. He might be worth telling him her story. But today, she just wants to enjoy the now.
“Hey. I know a perfect ending for this day.” He says to her.
“Yeah. It’s mostly downhill to get back to your place, right?” Sean asks.
“I think so.” She looks at him inquiring. “Why?”
A mischievous smile spreads on his lips and he holds out his hand to her. With his eyes saying, “Trust me,” Ivy smiles and takes his hands into hers. He leads her out of the park and with a slight nudge from him, she falls into his lap and he begins to turn his wheels. It is now that she realizes that he is “driving” her home. She holds onto him tightly as Sean wheels himself faster and faster until they both are riding down the hill. Neither one of them has a care in the world. They laugh and fill their hearts with the sense of fun as Sean rides them down the hill.
It’s a couple of days later and Ivy is in her kitchen getting her pantry stocked with new inventory. Her mind keeps drifting towards Sean. She can’t help but smile when she thinks of him. She begins to stir her pot of soup du jour and wonders what he is doing today. He could be making a container pot full of flowers or herbs, going about the neighborhood on a stroll, and passing around his new business card. She wonders if he will stop in for a bite.
She knows she has to focus on her soup so to take her mind off Sean, she turns on the TV. Ivy listens to the news and hears something devastating. An acre of forest in northwest Alberta is being demolished. Abruptly, she stops stirring her pot and looks to the screen. She sees a lot of people protesting it and a bulldozer rolling through the earth. A single tear falls from her face and she feels the vines coming back in her veins.
Quickly moving to her cellphone, she quickly texts her staff and tells them not to come in today. Distraught, Ivy falls to the ground and sobs. She makes the decision to be closed today. Her skin starts to slowly turn green and little leaves start poking through the skin on her arms. She doesn’t know what to do.
An excited Sean, makes his way to the restaurant. He has two new clients and can’t wait to tell Ivy about it. He thought about calling her but visiting her would be better anyway. He wants to celebrate with her in person. With the flowers on his lap, he stops in front of the restaurant with a smile on his face. Just pausing to take everything in. It is because of Ivy that he has found his drive, passion, and purpose. That’s what the flowers are for. To thank her for inspiring and helping him in the most unexpected way.
He tries to open the door but finds that it is still locked. That is very odd. She always opens at 11:00 AM, why would the door be locked? He gazes into the front window and sees smoke coming out of the kitchen. He doesn’t think twice and rolls himself with fierce speed on his wheelchair to the back alley where her kitchen is. Something is wrong and he won’t rest until he saves her and the Coup.
Sean sees the back door is open with the exception of the screen door. With all his adrenaline rushing in his body, he rolls towards the door and breaks it down. He sees the pot on the stove with smoke coming out of it. He rolls towards it, turns off the stove, and pushes the pot off of the hot element. As the smoke slowly dies, Sean looks around in a panic for Ivy. He sees her huddled in the corner, crying.
Ivy?” He worriedly says. “What is going on? What’s happened?”
“…I should have told you…” She tearfully whispers.
“What are you talking about?” He says rolling closer. “Told me what?”
“I’m not human. I am over 320 years old.” She begins.
“What?” He rolls himself until he is arms length of her. He puts a hand comfortingly on the top of her head.
“I’m a dryad. I get deeply affected when trees around me are dying or being destroyed. Another forest is being demolished and it comes with terrible consequences.” After she explains this she looks up to him and he gets a huge shock.
Her skin is an olive green, little leaves are growing out of various places on her skin, and her normally brown eyes are a bright translucent green. He sees that she is telling the truth and it has him back up from her until he hits her cooking island. Seeing the tearstains on her face has him stay put. He studies her and can already feel her pain. It reminds him too much of his own. He slowly rolls himself towards her. Despite his shock, he finds himself feeling very emphatic with her situation.
“This happens when trees are destroyed?” He asks.
She nods at him and pleads. “Please don’t leave me.”
Her desperation has struck a chord with him. He knows now that he could never leave her. Not just because of her situation but because in the most fantastical way, she is just like him. He felt so alone when he was first confined to his chair. Now here is a woman who is trapped by circumstances that she can’t control either. He holds his hand out to her and she slowly takes it.
He says gently. “How can I help you?”
Those words are just what she needs right now. She gives him a little smile and says, “I need to go to a place where there are trees or any other natural element. It’s not so easy, I have to hide from other humans.”
“Would a container garden work?” He asks.
“Anything will do at this state.” She says as she holds up her hands and fingers get longer with leaves growing out of her nails.
“Get on my chair.” He gently orders. “We will take all the backways and avoid traffic until we can get to my garden.”
She nods and smiles at him. He is different from other humans. She climbs up onto his lap and wraps her spindly arms around him. He smiles at her without any trace of fear and says. “It’ll be okay. Trust me.”
At that moment, she leans towards him and presses her lips to his. He returns the kiss and pulls her closer, not caring about how she looks. They separate from each other and both of them realize that they have found something special. Without a word, Sean rolls his wheelchair out of the restaurant and rushes to his house with Ivy on his lap. Hopefully they can make it.
A year goes by when a CTV reporter stands in front of The Coup faces the camera. She straightens out her black curled hair while the make-up artist touches up her espresso brown skin, making sure that it is stellar. As the artist backs away, the reporter brings the microphone to her mouth and gives the camera a big grin.
“Good morning Calgary. This is Delilah Plume here with CTV news and we have an interest piece about two people who made an undeniable success both in their businesses and activism.” Delilah speaks and turns towards Ivy and Sean who are waiting by the front door. As soon as she steps up to them Delilah asks. “Mister and Missus Palmer. You two have really brought delicious food, artistic container gardens, and nature awareness to our city. Why did you start this?”
“Well it is important that every person knows their ecological footprint makes a huge impact on our world.” Ivy says and Sean reaches over to take her hand in his. “If everyone does the smallest of help towards our world it’ll make a huge impact.”
“We firmly believe that plants are the key to healing our world.” Sean explains. “And it is in us all of us to give a little bit back to the earth.”
With that, Delilah turns back to face the camera. “As you can see, the Palmers are gently changing our world and for the better. This is Delilah Plume signing off.” She looks over to Sean and Ivy, and bows to them. “Thank you both for this. You are an inspiration to us all.”
“Thank you for helping us spread the word.” Sean says. “We’re excited to be on TV.”
Delilah chuckles as she and her team leave. After they go back to their van, Sean and Ivy look to each other. Somehow, Ivy knows exactly what he is thinking.
“Want some lunch for another day of hard gardening?” She asks smiling.
“Absolutely!” He smiles up at her and he tilts his head up to receive her kiss. “It’ll have to be to go though. I got two big jobs and a consultation at 5:30 but I should be back when the dinner rush is done.”
The two of them go back inside the restaurant and prepare for their day. A lot has changed in the year. They are now newlyweds, living blissfully in Sean’s house with his family, and thanks to their combined efforts, Ivy has not had an episode where she turns into a plant. Their energies are often being put towards their new blog/charity “Nature Saves.” They educate, give tips on how to live a natural life, and make sure all donations go to saving wildlife (starting with the Rocky Mountains). They both have purpose and each other. What else do they need?
Special Thanks to:
The Coup: For the delicious food and atmosphere. 924 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2T 0A2, www.thecoup.ca
Edworthy Park: For the beautiful views and experience. 5050 Spruce Dr SW, Calgary, AB T3C 3B2. https://www.calgary.ca/csps/parks/locations/sw-parks/edworthy-park.html
Pennies By Purr: For the cute clothes! 908 17 Ave SW #106, Calgary, AB T2T 0A3. http://purrclothing.ca/penniesbypurr
Danielle’s Consignment Boutique: For a stylish Outfit. 908 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2T 0A3. https://shopdaniellesconsignment.com/