I sat on the stoop of my flat that breezy September morning, a shambolic mess of half-packed cardboard boxes within, and sighed. I was sad in a tired way. I had grown to like the overgrown garden our flat shared with the letting agency below: the pear trees that were supposedly grafted from medieval trees, the overburdened trellis of roses with limbs arched in blossomed exhaustion, the tree that produced six perfect red apples each fall (no more, sometimes less), even the tropical tree with large, waxy leaves that seemed not quite at home in this gusty Scottish climate. I looked on them with a mixed pleasure. I envied the impassive stability of these trees; they would go on sprouting, blossoming, changing colors with the seasons, not caring whether I stayed or left, lived or died. Oh, to be so stubborn in one’s being and one’s needs, so sure of one’s literal place in the world.

I am a potted plant, I said to myself.