Runner Up: ‘I HONESTLY DON’T KNOW IF THE CORRECT TERM IS SEEDS OR STONES’ by Deirbhile Brennan

Does anyone know what happens to those seeds in the corner? Yeah, the avocado  seeds. They’ve honestly just been sitting there for the last five months since I moved into this  apartment. They stare out at the kitchen: dry, cracking eyeballs, patient and biding their time.  I know you’re supposed to put them in water and wait for them to sprout, grow them tall out  of glass jars so they look fashionable and decorative. Maybe someday when we’re both really old those seeds will grow avocadoes of their own, for people like us to buy in Lidl and dry  out their seeds on the windowsill to look at every day in the hopes of someday planting them.  They’re a health hazard in the meantime. They make the place look like a load of hippies live  here and have throwing contests. They’re like if hippies played golf and then stacked the golf  balls up on the kitchen windowsill for everyone to see and say, Oh, these guys are golf  players. They know what they’re about.  

But the people who stacked the avocado seeds have no idea what they’re about. A  only comes out of the bedroom to eat and mutter about the state of the country. B cries on the  phone and stalks around watering plants every morning and evening, legs miles long trying to  poke through the floorboards with every step. They interact at dinner time, a soft rhythm  belying years of cooking together and exchanging inane facts about the divine realm and  species long extinct. Their conversations have no weight in the material world, no roots in the  ground. They sway and keep ahold of each other for stability, but they’re both like trailing  avocado roots in a glass of water: they can see all around them, but can’t move in any  direction. After salads, garnishes, clumsy guacamole, they stack used avocado seeds along  with their brethren. We have to sprout these, B says to A regularly. Yes, yes, A responds.  They continue with their daily tasks as usual. I stop asking them how they are because I hate  being ignored and can’t stand not getting the same question back. (This is most of the reason  why I’m the wrong person to nurture the avocado sprouts.) 

One night after a fight and a joint they leave the kitchen window open. It doesn’t open  far – the world intrudes a bit in the form of a barbecue tang, the barking of a dog, the pull of  the street. Rage-inducing motorbikes. The rain comes in the window, filling and filling and  filling up the cups and lunchboxes and pots of seeds seeds seeds that have accumulated  beyond strict measure. They soak and spread and topple and roll, and by morning the doors to  the kitchen open to find leaves and roots and sprouts spread all over the kitchen floor,  interlocking and intertwining, lovers in the biggest embrace you’ve ever seen. Silky green leaves luxuriate towards the light. Wormlike roots twist satisfyingly around the table legs and  up into the seats of the chairs. B and A scream in unison, their belief in the supernatural put  to the test by the physical in front of them. I roll my eyes and crunch some stems on the way  out to work.  

Over the next few days and weeks we all get used to living alongside the sprouting,  stretching, and thriving avocado plants. Not content with the floor, after a while they begin to  explore the walls and ceiling, casting the room in the sort of greenish light usually associated  with shipwrecks. They are gently curious about our bedrooms, edging in at the threshold as if  waiting for permission: suspiciously granted by A and B, grudgingly tolerated by me. One  night I am caressed on the cheek by a leaf as I leave my room to brush my teeth. A and B are  standing in the kitchen, embracing, and the avocado plants are carefully twining around their  bodies, coating them in leaves. By the time I’m ready for bed, they are no longer recognisable  as people. You guys OK in there? I venture. They both rustle in response.


About the Author

Deirbhile Brennan is an Irish writer living in London. Currently researching queer spaces and migration, their work has previously been published in VIBE, Nothing Substantial, and The Globe and Scales Anthology. Deirbhile’s favourite activity is spending time with their friends. 


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Published by sonderlit

New Irish literary magazine reflecting people, our differences and similarities.

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