Roses

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
"2,142 roses. And they're all my favorite."
The power of a rose is overwhelming.

Submitted: January 01, 2014

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Submitted: January 01, 2014

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A A A


You told me you loved roses, so promised you I’d bring you a rose a day.

I don’t think you believed me at first, but as the days went by and you found a new rose in the vase on the table, you began to realize that truth rang in my words.

It was simple at first, just putting the rose in the vase and then leaving. Too simple. I began to get creative. I began to put them in your bathroom, on top of your alarm clock, hanging from the front door so that you’d see them as you walk outside to get the mail. Sometimes, I would place them on the kitchen table next to a plate of my pancakes that you never seemed to like. I can’t blame you for not liking them, though. They were always burned, almost black.

Of course, my task was easy when we were together. I suppose you probably didn’t expect me to carry through when we were apart, but once again, I proved you wrong. I remember getting your call at two in the morning, my time. I was so happy to hear your voice that I couldn’t sleep afterwards. But, I didn’t mind. I would stay up for months and months at a time if it meant I could hear the smile in your voice.

I remember the first fight we had. I remember how you screamed so loudly and so much that my ears rang and your green eyes turned grey. I remember you grabbing the vase that held all of your roses off of the kitchen table and I remember how you had thrown it towards the floor. I remember how your breath had steadied immediately, almost as if you took comfort in standing over the shattered glass and the water puddled on the kitchen floor. You’d mumbled something and then you were gone.

It only took me a moment to realize what you had done. I dropped to my knees and grabbed at the shards of glass. They cut my fingers relentlessly -- and I still have the scars -- but I didn’t care. I grabbed all of the flowers and rushed them to the sink, where I washed the blood from my hands before grabbing a new vase from the top of the refrigerator and placed the roses in it and set it on the table. The new vase looked just the same. Almost as good as new, I thought.

I didn’t expect you to come back, but you did. I can’t remember the time, but you crawled into bed with your shoes on as I pretended to be asleep. You took my bandaged hand and brushed the hair from my face and you whispered in my ear about roses, glass, and the blood on the counter. Then, you kept saying you were sorry, but when I opened my eyes, you weren’t facing me. Were you apologizing to me?

When I woke up the next morning, you were still sleeping with your shoes on. I slipped out of bed as silently as possible and jogged down to the store to buy your rose. After I set it on the bed next to you, I went back downstairs to the kitchen. The glass and the water was still on the floor so I decided to clean it up. I was almost done when I had seen you coming down the stairs, flower in hand. You didn’t say a word; you simply kissed the rose and put it in the vase along with the others. If I’d have been someone else, and there weren’t 21 roses in the vase, I’d have said something; but, I was myself and there were precisely 21 roses in the vase, so I stayed silent.

I remember the day you had discovered the first dead rose. You took it in your hands as if it was radioactive.

“It’s dead,” you had whispered.

“Is it, now?” I asked, frowning slightly at the drooping petals.

“It is,” you confirmed. “What do we do?”

“Throw it away,” I answered simply.

You narrowed your eyes for a moment, but shrugged and threw the sad flower into the trashcan.

The roses began to die, but a new one would always take its place. There was no doubt of that.

Years later, when you got sick, we came home from the hospital. The first thing you did after we walked through the door was take a rose out of the vase. I watched as you inspected it, as you lightly touched each thorn with the pad of your finger and pulled gently at the petals, sniffing the dark-colored flower.

“This one is my favorite,” you said.

“Why?” I asked, trying to scrutinize the now particularly interesting flower. There was nothing different about it.

“Because you got it for me,” you said, putting it back in the vase.

“I got all of them for you.”

“Yes,” you said, “and they’re all my favorite.” You took another rose out and pointed to the petals. “This one is slightly lighter than the rest, and it’s my favorite.” You took another one out of the vase and pointed to its thorns. “See this thorn? It’s pointing upwards and the rest are pointing downwards. It’s my favorite rose.” You went through the entire vase, selecting each flower and naming something special about it. They were all special. And they were all your favorite.

When you got sick, I think I got sick, too; not in the way you were, but I was sick. I hurt so much, Aiden. It felt like my heart kept breaking and breaking, but some days I felt like there was nothing left to break. It was like my heart was broken into more pieces than it was made of.

You didn’t like it when I came to the hospital, but I did anyway. Every single day, I brought your rose. I woke up every morning to see you smile and place the rose in the vase on the table beside your bed. Sometimes, when the head nurse was feeling extra nice, she would let me stay later than everybody else and I would fall asleep in a chair beside the bed as you told me your favorite things about each of the roses.

When you died, I think I died, too. Of course, my heart is still beating, but some days I wish it wasn’t. I was on my way to your room when the doctor stopped me in the hallway. He pulled me into a corner and I gripped the rose in my hand so tight that the thorns cut through my fingers. I nodded as the doctor spoke, although I couldn’t hear a word he was saying. I pushed past him and ran into your room, where I found your empty bed. The vase still sat on the table, the roses untouched. I could barely breathe, but I set the single rose I held in my hand into the vase and picked it up. There was a small card underneath.

 

Lauren,

2,142 roses. And they’re all my favorite.

- Aiden

 

I still buy your roses, Aiden. I’ll never stop buying your roses.

 


© Copyright 2020 BreanneHalton. All rights reserved.

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