The Lawn Underwater

by wordwizard

A man travelled around the town's city center not knowing why he began to move there in the first place. It looked enough like old Europe, and he wanted to be familiar with the old country but something told him that this wasn't the same.

The streets no longer had the cobblestones that he would trip over occasionally if they were not arranged properly along the roadways. And he had the impressions that he was being watched wherever he went. It didn't matter what your economic level was in that town because as he got to meet people of different economic levels and felt they were being constantly observed especially when he stopped to see a neighbor water his lawn and take care of his spring flowers. He admired their dedication at shaping the flowers that grew in a dedicated patch usually in the center of the lawn.

He had seen his neighbors tending to their small garden patches and that bought comfort to him, unaware that city would apply strict rules as to how much water you could use and when. Meters would be set up which bothered one particular neighbor a Mr Leibovitch who always soaked his lawn until the water would form puddles on top. News of the restriction sounded all too autocratic for Adam who wanted freedom of choice. But instead, each time he stood up in class to voice his opinion or how climate change effected him and his neighbours or how he had the right to take care of his property, he would risk getting beaten. Just hint on having some kind of opposition, he would get whipped with a cane.

Big business was in control of the town and the minds of the staff that taught at the school, especially when it came to the earth sciences and how people should tend to the small pieces of land that would surround their homes. The cane was a symbol of authority that made Adam cower in the cloakroom of his class every time he would hear his teacher reprimanding his classmates for being late. The weapon would strike the desk of some unsuspecting pupil bend and snap back into shape.

On the road home one afternoon there was no noise in the neighborhood just an odd silence and the sound of an odd child's laughter in the distance. Adam had just escaped being scolded for not having brought in the sculpted piece of ivory soap he had promised for his art class and his mind was filled with the shame of having reduced his teacher's trust in him for being the responsible lad that he usually was. But he was reminded by the school master's instrument as old man Labovitch walked by steadied by his cane.

It clicked for every second step he took. The old man stopped and said "do you notice anything different in the lawns?"

"I see that they are alright Mr Leibovitch but there is one and I guess it is yours that looks flooded. What happened to yours sir?"

"I had it watered while you were at school and then all of the sudden the land would not drain. It became a lake But something else happened that I can't explain. Can you?"

"What would you like me to do, Mr Leibovitch?"

"Well you will have to watch your step as you enter but you can see there is another garden below. There I have a centerpiece you know that, right?"

"I have seen it for years Mr Leibovitch and marvel at how the bud of peonies would open up into leafy blooms."

The old man interjected " It is as if my watering caused this. Just take a look." And so the boy walked over in curiosity and saw the beautiful centerpiece of flowers as he always did but now the area was surrounded by a deep pond and in the reflection of the pool he could see another centerpiece of peonies, but far below.

"That is not a reflection", the man said. "If you step in the water or just put your face in, you'll see that the flowers are there below just as they are above." Well unless the universe had gone upside down, it made no sense that there should be another piece of lawn below the water's surface. Had his old neighbor gone mad?

In the background, the boy could again hear a child's laughter that began to intensify the moment he discovered there was something unusual beneath the water's surface and it was the presence of a second bunch of flowers almost as radiant as the ones above the water's surface and with additional colors! He ventured to kneel down and peer through the clear pond, whereby he wiped his face afterwards with a towel he had taken to his gym class that day.

The water strangely stayed on his property, it did not evaporate and the peonies grew below just as they did above, an impossible feat especially if you consider that plants have to transpire and the peony is not an aquatic plant.

The neighborhood got word of his wondrous property. One wonders how the neighbors felt that this was a strange phenomenon that could only have occurred to a retired man who looked like he could not look after himself well. But he managed to take care of his him next to the little "lake" and never did he become bizarre in insisting there was anything other than extra plants growing in about 5 feet of water. He was lonely and except his little mongrel there was no one to talk too.

So Adam went home for lunch after having peered beneath the pond's surface on his neighbour's lawn and there he recounted what he experienced. His parents were in their usual incredulous modes. They could not wrap their heads around a story that would make Leibovitch's lawn have weird properties of accumulating water that didn't drain off and of opening up into another world.

Back at school he thought of mentioning he site to his plant science teacher but no sooner did he do so, was he sent to detention for having fabricated an unbelievable tale. The teacher then amassed a group of colleagues that marched to the home of Leibovitch and asked him to drain his land. The man refused and ran into his house in protest. They called the city to come and drain the land while the old man was hastily rushed off in a paddy wagon. Silence fell on the neighborhood except or that little laughter one hears when one is hiding from view.

Years later the house was boarded up as Leibovitch was not allowed to return. Neighbors had sent him his necessary belongings and the rest was sold or given away. And what about his land? Well once the man was towed away, it lost its water and luster. In its place grew a spindly thicket of nettle and milkweed.

Adam refused to mention ever again that it has been an Eden for plants both above an below. They would put him away with the old man. He walked past and marveled how such a luscious property become so barren and uninviting. A group of children were running after a ball across the street. All of a sudden one of them stopped to stare and point at Adam and his neighbor's property and he broke out in a laughter that was all to familiar. It was the same as what he had heard all along whenever he stopped to chat with Leibovitch.

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