The palm trees had taken over Jan Hill’s world.
She had moved from Florida to Nebraska for a job opportunity. It was a great job — one that fulfilled her emotional and professional needs. Pay was much better than average, with the promise of yearly raises. Great benefit package.
And it was located next to a combined Mrs. Fields/Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robins megashop. That megashop was a lifesaver on stress filled days.
But Jan missed the palm trees. She tried to see the joy and love in deciduous trees and pine trees and scrub bushes. But they failed to compare to the glory of a mature palm tree.
Palm trees were her universal symbol for home and peace and everything good in life that one couldn’t buy at a Mrs. Dunkin Robins megashop. But Nebraska was not Florida. Palm trees were not meant to live in Nebraska. The weather there was incompatible with palm tree life.
Jan Hill, however, wanted her palm trees. She would not be denied her comfort creature. So, she ordered a batch from Florida.
They arrived via UPS.
She planted them as soon as she could. Such beautiful wonderful reminders of home.
They all died. Maybe it was the weather. Maybe it was the soil acidity/alkalinity. Maybe they were just bad sports about being moved from Florida. It was anyone’s guess.
But Jan refused to be thwarted. She would have her palm trees.
She bought palm trees. So many palm trees. She firmly believed that it was a matter of time before at least one of them would have the powerful will to live in Nebraska. Not just live, but flourish.
Then, she bought one from some unnamed place, not even a country or a city, in South America. It arrived via UPS like all of the other Floridian ones.
But right off the delivery truck, Jan could tell that this one was different. It looked identical to the Florida palms. It gave her that same fuzzy nostalgic glow as the others did. But there was something unspeakably, unfathomably, unidentifiably different with this one. It wasn’t something she could see.
It was something she felt deep inside. And she didn’t know if it were good or bad. Or just….different.
She planted it as she had done with the others.
This one did not die.
And most worrisome of all, it spread.
Jan had been delighted when she saw the first baby palm growing right next to its parent. It was cute and endearing and a very good sign.
It grew as well and it grew sproutlings of its own. And they had sproutlings and they had sproutlings and on and on.
And each one grew.
And each one grew closer and closer to her home. Until at last they broke into her home.
Through the windows.
Through the doors.
Smashing through the ceiling.
And always growing more. Taller. Thicker.
Always growing more little sproutlings. More and more.
The house smelled of leaf matter and palm bark.
Birds flew into the broken house and set up nests in the palm trees.
And Jan Hill was delighted. At long last, she had her palm trees.
It was just like home.