Feist Garden

by Evan Tyler

After Michael left the home and garden show in a haste I knew it was over. For weeks he had been acting aloof, distant, even angry at times. I couldn't understand it.. we had been together for three years and not once had I ever expected things would end like this.

I knew something was up when we entered the "Feist Garden". Michael was such a big fan of Feist, yet he remained irritable and disinterested inside the garden. The Michael I once knew would have stopped and held my hand and reminded me of those times he used to drive me to work blasting the song "Feel it All", one hand on the wheel and the other on my thigh. He'd gently hold me by the waist and slowly usher me through the garden and whisper in my ear,

"You're the most amazing woman in the world, and I'm the luckiest man."

We had always attended the Annual Toronto Home and Garden Show, it was a tradition for us. When I heard there was a "Feist" themed garden that year I was convinced it would be the perfect place for Michael and I to rediscover the contours of our passionate bond; I was gravely mistaken.

I tried to keep a slow and deliberate pace in the garden as I pointed out to Michael the cacti, lilies and purple tulips, all carefully manicured and growing in organic Ontario soil. Discretely hidden behind the display were speakers playing "Feist" songs. The cedar walkway guiding us through the garden lead to a River Birch, I pointed out its understated elegance to Michael but he paid it no mind. Towards the end of the display there were some decorative empty birds cages, each one a different colour: sky blue, bright orange and cadmium yellow.

I  stroked Michael's back but he resisted and sped up a bit, leaving me a few steps behind. He pulled out his phone and started fiddling with it, leaning his hip against the garden post.

"Great Feist Garden", he sarcastically remarked.
I walked closer to Michael and assertively questioned him,

"Michael, you're not here. I don't know where you are but I want to know what's wrong.."

He was not pleased with this confrontation. He looked at me like a stranger and barked:

"Teegan, what?! Like, why do we even come here anymore? It's basically the same thing every year."

He was so cold, I couldn't believe he was the man I fell for, the man I lived with for three years. I didn't recognize the man in front of me at all, it was deeply disturbing.

"'Michael, you love Feist. I mean.. we love Feist!!"
I started tearing up, Michael rolled his eyes.

"Yeah, like three years ago," he replied. I looked at him in horror. He went on,
"Like, fine, it's a "Feist Garden", wow… I don't even see how any of this has to do with Feist at all?!  It's just a fucking garden, a regular garden with Feist music playing. How original…"

His sarcasm and cruelty seemed to know no limits. I lashed out emotionally..

"This is our place! How could you say that!? What did I do?"

Michael looked to his right and sighed with genuine aggravation. Some other garden visitors noticed we were having a troubled moment and moved past us awkwardly. I was horrified. Michael looked at me in the eyes for the first time that day and said to me,

"I don't know."

In a huff he walked away from me, left the Feist Garden and then proceeded to the exit. I remained in the Feist Garden, tears falling from my cheek to the cedar boards I stood upon. I stared at the wet tear shapes subtly forming on the wood.

The Fesit music continued: "One , two, three, four, tell me that you love me more.."
I couldn't take the music anymore, nor could I handle the garden show. I waited on a bench feeling heartbroken and morose for a few minutes and then I made my way out into the parking lot.

Michael had taken the car, I knew he did. I didn't even bother trying to find it.
As I walked through the parking lot, drying my tears, I passed by a woman fixing a flat tire. A sudden need to express empathy and kindness came upon me, I desperately needed a loving human interaction. I walked over to the fashionably hip woman. She was tall and thin with dark brown hair and prominent bangs. She seemed flustered with the tire changing process. I remembered when I taught Michael how to change a tire on our road trip to Niagara; it was a total role reversal and I relished the memory. I approached the woman to help, and as I made my way up to her, wiping my eyes with my sleeve to remove any residual tears, I couldn't believe what I saw. The woman fixing the tire was was Feist. I kneeled down and without acknowledging her celebrity, I simply said,

"Let me help you."

When Feist looked up at me her eyes widened and she smiled tensely without moving any muscles in her upper face. It was a nervous smile, I could tell. I tried to comfort her,

"Changing tires is a drag."

I proceeded to loosen the lug nuts on her Austin Mini while Feist wiped the sweat from her forehead. She looked at me and smiled a little bit more.

"Thanks so much… usually the men in my band would fix a tire. Mind you I haven't traveled by road since 2005. I guess you could call me a frequent flyer.."

Her candidness impressed me. I figured this was my time to acknowledge her celebrity, without playacting to what I thought she wanted to hear from a stranger.

"I guess you're here to see your garden?"
We both giggled. She responded,

"Yeah.. I thought it was hilarious. I had to see it."

"And what did you think?" I asked.

"Let me get back to you on that," she answered me. Her cheeky response was followed by light laughter.

Suddenly I decided it was my turn to be bold and candid.

"My boyfriend broke up with me in your garden. He drove away and left me here.  I was just walking to the bus stop I guess and I saw you. I didn't realize it was you until I got closer."

"Fuck off, really? He broke up with you? That's awful."

Fesist put her hand on my hand to help apply more turning pressure to loosen the lug nuts.

Her sweat smelled fresh and sweet, like stone crop formula. I wondered what products she used in the shower, what kind of skin regiment she had. I could hear my heart beat faster, tapping against the wall of my chest. I began to feel a little weak in the knees. I caught Feist examining my face through my peripheral vision, but I didn't acknowledge it and instead I played hard to get. I wondered what the real Feist Garden looked like.. what parts of her body did she trim and shave? What were her nude curvatures like?

As I began using the jack to lift the car, Feist became more flirtatious. I felt her eyes on my breasts as I kneeled further to get a better grip on the jack.

"You are something else, what kind of douchebag would leave this ?"
By "this" she meant me, and she made it obvious by gesturing her hands around my body as I cranked the jack harder and harder. As I continued jacking I said to Feist,

"We listen to your music a lot, so I thought he'd love the garden. But he acted like an asshole the entire time".

She looked at me with empathy and attraction, I could feel it. She whispered to me,
""He's probably driving listening to some bullshit music right now. He's not worth it."

Just then a truck drove by us in the parking lot blasting Gwen Stefani. We both looked at each other and broke out in simultaneous  laughter.  As our laughs calmed down and morphed into giggles and then grins, I moved closer to Feist and began kissing her slowly. She reacted positively to my advances and gripped my waist the way I wanted Michael to. We knelt down by the nearly finished tire change and kissed intimately for a few beautiful moments. When we finally disengaged out lips, Feist looked at me with love and astonishment.

"Who are you?", she asked.

I looked into Feist's infinitely Canadian eyes, past her indie-rock celebrity status, and into her gentle soul. After a moment of stillness and silence I said to her,

"I ain't no holla' back girl."