He is careful. He uncoils the hose so there are no knots or kinks that could lead to disaster; he threads the brass connectors carefully, mindful of their grooves and how easily they might be stripped. He loops one section around his forearm, stoops to turn the faucet there emerging from the house, and water flows. It is a perfect thing. His thumb covers the outlet in such a way that the spray is diffused, is distributed into an even fan of moisture, just the right amount to cover without beating the flowers and bushes with which he begins his watering.
This is perfection, he thinks. He moves his arms in gentle patterns to cover everything growing against the side of the house. All the lilac, the last of the tulip, the rose, the forsythia, and the lobelia hidden all receive their droplets in measured doses. Each is satisfied and none denied. This is perfection, he thinks.
A light goes on in a window near where his plants are. The new illumination confirms his efforts. The greenery is practically stretching to gather his gift, the blessing moisture, into its tendrils, petals, fronds, leaves, roots. Earthworms themselves rise to the softening surface to gasp and to gather. The light goes off and he turns his back to the satiated.
"I'll be back," he whispers. "Be patient. Just wait."
And then the lawn, an expanse of green (he knows it is green though no moon shines against, no light reflects from its manicured blades) waits expectant and trembling in anticipation.
"Hello," he says. "Are you thirsty?"
His thumb moves the precise fraction to change the flow, to allow the arcs of water distance and coverage. His arm swings faster, more forcefully, and more potent to cover the eager.
"This is for you," he tells it. "This is all for you."
Another light goes on, a door opens, and a thin voice calls from the doorway. "Dad? Dad?"
He snaps a coil of hose behind him, takes up all the slack, and moves to another thirsty section. He avoids wasting water on asphalt or concrete.
"Dad?" the voice enjoins. "Dad, are you coming in?"
Behind the voice there are noises of ice in glasses and he knows that until that ice is melted, there will be no water there.
"Dad? What are you doing?"
He trails the long, green hose with its reptile-patterned skin behind him as he stalks the lawn and he can imagine the rising sun and the way rainbows will spark from the smooth sheets of clear water that erupt from his hands.
Originally published in Blue Mesa Review 4
Albuquerque, New Mexico 1992