I remember my mother working in the garden. The yard behind the house was so small that, by the time I was six, I could stand with my back to the house and bounce a rubber ball off the fence. My mother would have transformed the entire space into a garden if I hadn't been such an active child, if that narrow strip of grass running parallel to the house hadn't been my only place to run with abandon.
As it was, she divided, staked, plotted, and tilled every other inch of ground. She started vine tomatoes in the western corner and let them spread along the back wall as they desired. Near the middle of the fence, where they could be easily seen from the dining room window, she planted honeysuckle and star-gazer lilies. She conceded the need for some shade and planted an apple tree in the eastern corner.
Thus was the simple separation of our backyard: vegetables on the left, flowers in the middle and fruits on the right. Spices were cultivated in raised beds beside the house, on the closer side of my running strip. There was rosemary, tarragon, chives, dill, several types of jasmine, and mint.
I used to love the smell of her hands when she came in from working in the garden. All the flowers—the daisies, the daffodils, the roses, the irises, the peonies—would merge into this indistinguishable floral scent that would float about her like fine dust, and the scent of jasmine would permeate her clothes. But her hands. Her hands always smelled of mint.
She would rest her hand against my cheek, cupping my chin in her palm as she came in from the garden. My nose would fill with that crisp freshness of the mint.
Of course, I associate it with safety. Any first-year psychology student will point that out. Who wouldn't feel safe in their mother's arms?
Before I shift into a patient's dream, I always swallow a time-release capsule. It counteracts the oneiric pharmacology of the entheogens. If I get lost—if I lose control—then the time-release capsule dumps a near-toxic cocktail of stimulants into my bloodstream.
It's the sort of combination that gets your attention. I'd rather not detail the ingredients here, but . . .
. . . it is dextro-methylphenidate, cathinone, and black phosphorus with just a touch of spearmint oil. Of all the ingredients, I think the spearmint oil is the most significant to mention. Do you understand why, Harry?