Every day, as she went out the door and down the front porch steps, she paused, brushed her hand across the evergreen plant, gently bruising the rosemary nettles, releasing the strong scent into the air, a trace of it left on her hands. She carried the scent with her throughout the day, knew who she was, where she was going, and what she would return to. And every evening, when she came home, she again brushed the rosemary softly, a simple hello. And the smell brought her back to herself before stepping inside to her family, her home.
But Troubles beat a crooked path to her door, banged on it, demanding entry and paying no heed to the rosemary standing guard. Troubles kicked in the door, swaggered through the house, ravaged all that stood in its way and then left, never looking back as the door hung precariously from its hinges, as cries of alarm and despair floated heavily out the door and into the street.
She hid away, closing the shutters on the windows, creeping in the dark. She forgot the smell of rosemary. And the rosemary, neglected, untended, pulled into itself, stopped flowering, shrunk, shriveled. Died.
When she finally opened the shutters, finally stepped outside her door, she pulled the dried-out carcass from the earth and left the planter bare.
Time passed. She went in and out of the house, but she no longer remembered who she was, or even why the planter was empty and brown.