Of all things he could build for her, he gives her a garden. All green with considerable little dots of blooming flowers, white and pink and violet, and a line of trees that envelopes the vast space in their embrace — under the blue sky that mirrors the ocean itself except for cotton candy clouds up there and golden glitters on the surface of water below. When the wind blows, tall grass would lightly brush her ivory calves the way his finger always longs to caress her; sweet fragrance lingers in the air just like how he imagines what it is like to bury his face into the streams of her long, brunette hair; and sunlight would bathe innumerable leaves on tree branches in gold and brown shades that are her eyes. He creates this place after her image, after all. Plain and simple and beautiful. He can picture her, stubborn and surprised, asking why someone so dark and bitter like him can build such charming little things like this, and how a monster without the heart can understand the joy that can only be felt in one's heart. He would answer her that the garden is here solely because she has never seen so much green and always dreams of the ocean, and because his heart is with her — as simple as that. She has scavenged it without knowing, along with other things that are way more necessary and useful for an enduring fight for survival; or, perhaps, he might just throw his useless heart away like a fool. So it is now hers, buried deep at the pit dark bottom, always.
"I love it," she would say, "But I don't need this." He would understand. She has her own wings to fly to anywhere greener, prettier, and grander. And yet, "it's yours anyway," he insists. Thus his wasted gift will live on, like a lone, isolated world in a snow globe, untouched by dust and dullness. He hands her the key to the garden. "It's our big secret, alright?" She nods and takes it, leaving him alone there and going back to another world where he does not belong. The next time they meet each other in another circumstance and condition, none of them mentioned anything about it — their secret garden.
Until one day, she inserts the key and opens the door. All are too bright, too blissful. The ground is so soft beneath her bare feet and the gentle breeze holds her gently within its touch. He lies down there, his dark hair spraying on the velvet bed of grass, looking serene. When she reaches out to touch his pale but warm skin under her fingertips, his lips is slowly curling into a small smile.
"I still don't need this," she says, letting his fingers entwine with hers.
"I know," he whispers, eyes close.
Two of them stay like this, in the place where they can be side by side for a little while. The invisible and inaudible clock is ticking. The storm is coming. The flame is lit. But there is still the time in the world to spend and nourish safest fantasies before the fire will perish the earth time and again.
When the time comes, neither he nor she comes back to the garden. It is left abandon in silence, pure and never marred by any stranger's presence. The bolt becomes rusty; the key is already long lost; the secret is already forgotten. And yet, everything grows.
inspired by Howl's Moving Castle (2004)