I was sitting in my apartment admiring the nest I had created for myself when it occurred to me that I was the only thing “alive” in my new abode.

“This will not do,” I said to no one.

My friend Ernie came over for dinner and brought me a beautiful orchid as a house warming gift. Although we’ve known and loved each other for years, he somehow missed the news bulletin warning people about my “black thumb”.

Plants enter my home green and filled with possibilities only to linger for a few days and then wither and— die. More water or less water, more light or less light, plant food or no plant food, proper drainage? The reasons for the quick demise of anything green in my care are plentiful. (This is why no one ever asks me to watch their plants when they go on vacation.)

I almost winced when he handed me the delicate plant. I think maybe the orchid did too. If plants really do communicate with each other I am sure this one had heard the rumors.

I named the orchid Hope.

The next day I went to the pet store and purchased a fish. I thought I would bring in more life before the plant realized its days were numbered. The fish came with a snail and took up residence in a fish bowl I had bought for a dollar at the thrift store. I named the fish Finn and I named the snail Sam.

There were now four of us “alive” in the space. The plant and the fish were both beautiful and the snail had a strong work ethic, but they didn’t talk much. I decided I needed something that was alive and a bit more demonstrative.

I named her ChaCha.

She was three pounds of energetic delight.

I had always thought chihuahuas were too yappy, but ChaCha has been here over a month and I have yet to hear her bark.

I had also heard that chihuahuas are devoted to their owners, but not very friendly to anyone else. ChaCha dispelled that myth too. If she were a human she would work in public relations. This tiny canine has never met a stranger.

She has wispy white fur with black, brown and gray markings. Her eyes look almost blue. Her ears stand straight up until she greets you with her happy dance and folds them back against her little round head.

At night she sleeps on a pillow with a blanket over her little body with her front paws crossed under her button black nose.

Each morning I now get up and say good morning to my orchid Hope, my fish Finn, my snail Sam and my dog ChaCha.

If Hope is blooming , Finn is swimming, Sam is vacuuming and ChaCha’s tail is wagging, I know it’s going to be a very good day.

Joy Sylvester-Johnson