There are garden gnome people out there. You know them, with (shudder) scores of gnomes in their front, back, and side yards, puzzlingly acquiring more and never considering what the visual impact alone does to property values or neighborly relations. Normal have-
When we moved house recently, friends, as a lark, gave us a garden gnome as a house -
One day I was reorganizing and got fed up with the bulky box. "I’ll just take the stupid thing out," I reasoned, "toss the packaging, and stick it in the back of a closet somewhere."
I opened the box, wrestled off the polystyrene case, shifted away the clear plastic…and met him.
Not "it". Him.
He wore a black and white soccer uniform over a compact frame striking an athletic pose, his cherubic face mysteriously serene. His eyes twinkled.
I eased him out completely, shaken by the light that seemed to fill the room, the violins that suddenly struck up, the choir whose voices raised in unison.
He wasn’t cold to touch. He was warm, and I could swear I heard him say: "Gotcha!".
With him in my hand, I turned away, but not to the Closet of Shame as I’d intended.
Instead I walked to the glass door that lead out to the garden.
Stepping outside, I glanced toward the back corner wall, but dismissed it, the idea of sticking him back there now strangely cruel and pitiable. Instead, I walked to the street-
When I finally got him just right–high visibility yet protected from the elements, the flowers setting him off to best advantage—he seemed to smile and nod, "There now, that’s perfect. Thank you."
As I turned away, I stopped and looked, frowning at what I had done, trying to figure out why and how I had gone from belittling garden gnomes to falling in love with one.
"Don’t worry," he assured me with that twinkling eye, seeming to understand my dilemma. "There’s nothing wrong with you. We’re just like that."
I christened him Charles–because it suited him—and I visited him regularly, just to make sure he was settling in okay. Before long, I began to worry about him: amidst the now full blooms of spring, I worried about him hankering for companionship.
And since no one wants to be alone, it bothered me, so one day, I brought home a girl gnome, and introduced him to her. She wore a cheer leading outfit.
They fell in love.
He later whispered to me, "Well, I didn’t want to complain, but I was a bit lonesome. Thank you for bringing us together."
Charles and Sally are still together, smiling each time I pop out into the garden.
But I’m having them both sterilized. I will not become one of those "garden gnome people" I might have fallen unexpectedly in love with two garden gnomes, but I am not ready for more of their relatives.