the case of the invading tomatoes

Last week, I called A. at work, giggling to myself.

“Hi,” he said quietly.

“You are so funny,” I said.

“Why?”

“There’s a tomato plant growing in the pot on our deck! You planted it!”

“No, I didn’t.”

“Yes you did.” (A. likes to play practical jokes.)

“No, I really didn’t.”

[Silence.]

“Really?”

“I really didn’t.”

“Then how did…” my voice trailed off.

We get little sunlight in our living room. And so my plant of 8 years — one that survived the fire in 2006 and moved with me three times — slowly wilted since we moved in September. The leaves fell off, one by one. Finally, when they were all gone, I heaved the plant to our deck. Maybe sunlight would revive it, I thought. That was at least three months ago, if not more.

A few weeks ago, I noticed a weed — quite a beautiful one — growing from the pot. And then, last week, to my bewilderment and delight, I noticed tomatoes growing on the weed.

A. insists that he didn’t plant the tomato.

“I wish I was that smart,” he says.

But I’m sort of tripping out about it. I can’t for the life of me figure out how a tomato plant got into our pot.

On Friday, we were up on our neighbors’ deck. And I surveyed the decks within sight, craning to see if there were tomato plants. I didn’t see any. A. suggested that maybe a tomato seed got in the plant when we grilled kebabs for a couple in our birthing class. But that was in November, pre-baby — and when the plant was definitely still in our living room.

The only thing I can think of is that maybe we dropped a tomato seed in there when it was downstairs, next to A.’s lounge chair, where he often eats. We do eat a lot of tomatoes. But it still seems unlikely.

I don’t know why the mystery is driving me crazy. We’ve had at least four conversations about how it could have happened (most of them start with me saying, “I think you planted the tomatoes,” or “Come on, you planted the tomatoes, right?” and him saying, “I really didn’t!”).

So now, instead of trying to solve it — in order to keep my sanity — I’m focusing on caring for the plant. I watered it yesterday, and I keep checking on the fruit. I hope the tomatoes are delicious.

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