The Roses in the Autumn

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is the fictional story of Mrs. Winfield, Mr. Winfield, and Stanley Winfield as they experience love and loss. With the death of Mr. Winfield, different conflicts arise for Mrs. Winfield and Stanley, and they each struggle in their own way to try to make their lives the way they need them to be.

Submitted: October 02, 2014

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Submitted: October 02, 2014

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The light filtered dimly through the red, orange, and golden leaves of the beautiful maple tree crowned with robins’ nests, and onto the quaint village house crafted from a thin cut of pine. The giggling voices of children drifted along the cool autumn breeze to meet the village house residents. Mr. and Mrs. Winfield sat in their rocking chairs, located on their front porch in the insignificant village of Montesano, and looked admiringly at the magnificent roses resting before them. Soon though, they knew the sight would fade away, and be replaced by lifeless sticks and branches as the frost chilled the life and beauty out of their lovely plants so dear to them. Mr. Winfield pondered which roses he would add to the collection next spring, and Mrs. Winfield envisioned her newly born infant she cradled in her arms frolicking about whatever more beauty would be brought to her life.

The year was 1905, and being only the fifteenth of September, the autumn was only faintly sensed by the playful school children, and the few families who lived scattered throughout the village. The autumn was a time of despair for Mrs. Winfield, for the splendor of the gorgeous roses that signified Mr. Winfield’s devotion were not the only life and beauty to leave her. As cruel as fate would be to cause such an occurrence, her beloved Mr. Winfield would also fade from existence that dreary autumn.

The soft, colored petals began to fall in rhythm with the leaves drifting from the treetops just as Mr. Winfield set out for his annual travel to the Oregon coast where he was to meet with fellow logging representatives to discuss business deals and shipping costs. Mr. Winfield never made it to his destination; however, for a menacing storm hit while he was midway through his journey, and shelter was inaccessible. The carriage with which he was traveling to Oregon was trapped in a valley, and the dear Mr. Winfield drowned in the floodwaters.
As autumn turned to winter, and winter to spring, Mrs. Winfield waited patiently for her husband to return. When the time to plant the roses had come, and the deceased Mr. Winfield had not returned, Mrs. Winfield concluded that something had caused him to not be able to return on time, but that he would most certainly be home by summer's end. Thoughtfully she decided she would plant the roses for him, and when he returned they would marvel at the flowers' beauty together.
Year after year she planted more and more roses that bloomed brilliant colors of reds and purples, oranges and golds. Each spring she told herself she must make the flowers perfect this year, because then certainly her beloved would return to see her work. The entire village believed she was mad. Everyone besides her knew Mr. Winfield was never coming back. Women held their children a little closer in their arms when Mrs. Winfield passed. The children snickered at her presence, and exchanged furtively mocking glances with their siblings and friends.
Stanley, too, knew his father would not return. Along with his mother, he was mocked by the villagers constantly. The schoolchildren excluded him from games, and taunted him whenever they saw him. The adults gossiped of him, and told their children to give him a wide berth. His mother was the one who believed wild fantasies, not him. So why was he treated as if he were mad as well? Stanley did not know. He did love his mother very much, and he wished her no harm. But as he pleaded with her year after year to not plant the roses, and year after year she refused, he began to feel less sympathy for her.
When Stanley became an adult, he moved away from his mother. He did not wish to leave her, but he wanted to live his life without being an outcast, and she would not go with him. Shortly after he left, he received word that Mrs. Winfield had become ill, and was very weak. Upon his return, his mother's only request was that he tend the roses for her, since she was too weak to do it herself.
Stanley promised he would see to it that the roses were taken care of, but he had no intension to actually take care of them. When he looked at her scraggly hair, prematurely a soft silver, and gazed upon her weathered face, he knew that she had devoted her life, and lost it, to a dream she could never accomplish. He believed the roses were unimportant, and that himself and his mother would both be better off without them. Due to her illness, Mrs. Winfield could not get out of bed, so Stanley believed she wouldn't even know.
Mrs. Winfield always planted roses by the school house, because Mr. Winfield had always believed that all children needed beauty in their life. The freshly planted roses by the school house were in direct light of the sun, and without water, were the first to go. When the last petal of the last living rose finally drifted to the ground, and the short life of the beautiful flower ceased to continue, so did the heart of Mrs. Winfield. Stanley had just gone to fetch her a cup of tea when he heard her utter her last, and final words.
"My roses! My roses! My beautiful roses! It is over now! We shall be together my love!" The tea cup clattered to the ground, and Stanley rushed to his mother's side. He was much too late. His mother's heart had ceased to beat, and it would never beat again. Immediately he ran to where the lifeless rose petals lay, and desperately attempted to reattach them to the long gone plants that lay black and rotten, remnants of them littered throughout the dirt that surrounded the school house. Water poured from watering can after watering can, desperate attempt after desperate attempt failed and failed again. Stanley worked to revive the roses hour after hour, but to no avail. 
For more than a week he never left the school house. He didn't eat, didn't sleep, and didn't stop working on the roses for a mere second. On the twelfth day, Stanley passed away. Many doctors would later debate whether it was Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, starvation, exhaustion, or dehydration that caused his death. The entire time he had been at the school house, all he could hear or feel was the constant sound of his mother's wailing ringing in his ears. None of the school children attended school for those twelve days, and none of the villagers would go near the schoolhouse to save Stanley, because everyone else heard the wailing as well. Weeks passed, even after Stanley's death, with the only audible sound at the schoolhouse being the relentless cries and sobs. 
After a month had passed, the wailing stopped. Flowers began to grow despite the season for flowers having passed by that time. Beautiful rose buds bloomed on fresh green branches, and Stanley's body was nowhere to be found. Children returned to school, teachers resumed their lessons, and the rest of the villagers went on with their lives. Sometimes, though, when the sun shone in in visible rays through the clouds, or the moon shone brightly enough, the villagers would see Stanley. Constantly, and carefully, tending the eternally growing flowers.


© Copyright 2020 Jean Emerald. All rights reserved.

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