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Anja’s ashes are in that green swirly pot with the black bird on top. My mom bought the pot for me when we were in Mexico shortly after Anja died.

My mom also bought me the orchid that sits behind the pot. She bought one for E, too, and said they were for each of us to have in our bedrooms, to think of Anja. They need to be watered once a week, she said.

I decided to water them on Saturdays. At first I tried to water them as close to 7:34 pm as possible, a way to mark each week the time since she’d been gone.

I think this is as close to ritual as I’ve come.

I’ve watered those orchids every Saturday for a year and a half. They look as if they will bloom again, but they never do, and I don’t have much of a way with plants.

Sometimes I wish they would just die already so I didn’t have to think about watering them every Saturday.

Sometimes that moment of watering them takes on a nearly sacred quality, a moment I spend if not with her, then for her.

I know that when they do die, my heart will ache.

And if they ever bloom again, I hope it’s on a dark night in January. Maybe then I could believe in signs and messages, because surely that would have to be one from her.

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