Hortensia sat quietly in her car for a few moments. She had finally been able to stop crying and ranting. She pushed any thoughts of scale out of her mind. Once she started down that path, there would be no stopping her ranting and crying once again. She was grateful that it was such a long drive to the office. It had given her time to compose herself. She looked into the rear view mirror, viewing her face from several angles.
"Being quite myopic can, at times, have its advantages," she thought. Between her thick eye glass lenses and her insistence that eye strain made her eyes look a bit weepy, She hoped that the evidence of her crying on the mountain road would pass unnoticed.
When Hortensia entered the office, she found Jenna hard at work. Jenna was concentrating on her laptop screen, working on refining a slideshow presentation for her next lecture.
Without turning her head from the screen, Jenna began to speak.
"I'm working here at the other desk today so that you can get right to work. As you can see, there are literally piles of mail and paperwork to deal with."
With her heart weighed down and thoughts of a massive scale invasion again creeping back into her mind, Hortensia sat at the desk and began to work. This was not the time to approach Jenna about her problem.
* * * * *
"Well, that's that!" Hortensia exclaimed, as she pushed herself away from the desk.
"I've still got lots to do," Jenna said. She turned to look at Hortensia. "After I am done with this slideshow, I've got another presentation to work on, and after that I have to get to work in the greenhouse."
"Oh, yes," Hortensia replied. "Despite the late snow, the season has certainly begun."
"So ... what else have you got going on, Hortensia?" Jenna asked.
Hortensia had been waiting for this moment all day.
"My Pilea peperomiodes has scale," she replied, in a mournful tone. "My plants— "
Before she could launch into a tearful diatribe on the demon scale and the fate that would surely befall her, Jenna interrupted her.
"Where there are plants, there are always insects. Sometimes the plants survive the insects, and sometimes they don't. Sometimes all the plants die ... and then, we get new plants. That is the life of one who gardens.
"When you come the next time, I'll have some things ready for you, to help with the scale, if you like. It is tedious and takes months, and even then your plant may die. It's all up to you. Think about it and let me know."
"All right, then," Hortensia replied. "I'll give it some thought. Thank you for your advice. I'll see you on Monday then." She was headed home for a weekend of worry and dread. There was no more to be said. She had a lot to think about.
(to be continued ... )