Does the Rose Know That It's Alive?

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
A fatal decision. An unbreakable bond. Two souls destined to move on. This is the story of two teenagers' fall from innocence, the consequences of the choices we make, and the hearts we touch. In the end, for one boy and girl, eternity is shorter than they think, as one seemingly meaningless question dwells in their minds: Does the rose know that it's alive?

Submitted: November 29, 2013

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Submitted: November 29, 2013

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Does the Rose Know That It’s Alive?
by Jack Cloudt
 
She held him tightly, gentle sobs emitting from her cherry flavored lips. Small tears trailed from her violet eyes down her pale, smooth cheeks. He wrapped his arms around her, comforting her, as the lavender of her golden hair soothed him. Kissing the tears away, they both knew that the bond had been secured, their union replacing their innocence.
“Are you ok?” he asked tenderly.
“It hurt,” she answered softly.
“I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be,” she smiled, sniffling and wiping away her tears. She looked up at his eyes and grinned. “I love you.”
The words drifted gently from between her lips, wrapping themselves around him, consuming every ounce of his being. Every fiber of who he had been, who he was, who he could ever be, was eternally hers. Even if he’d never see her again.
“I love you, too,” he said with a crescent smile. That was one of the many things that had first attracted him to her those year-long months ago: he didn’t have to fake his happiness for her.
She snuggled up to him, her bare breast pressed against his side, her warm leg resting on top of his. Crickets chirped in the moonlight outside of her window. Any moment now, the moon would leave the sky, and with it would leave the boy. He had stayed longer than he had meant to. He hadn’t accounted for her welcoming him openly. Not after what he had done.
Feeling his eyes about to do what they hadn’t done for years, he sat up in the bed and wiped the sorrow away, not wanting her to see. He felt the bed creak as she sat up beside him.
“What is it?”
His eyes burned, but his voice was firm. “You know.”
Silence like a blade. Serene silence that stabbed to his very core. Silence like a heart empty of love.
“Stay with me,” she whispered through her tears of realization.
“You know I want to…”
“Then why don’t you?” Her words pierced like a spear thrust into the heart.
“Because I’m not even sure if this is real right now.”
Her fists beat against his chest as she cried onto his shoulder. “Why did you do this to yourself?” she screamed. “Why did you do this to me?”
“Sh, you’ll wake your parents,” he hushed her gently.
She whimpered quietly.
“You’re with me now. We’re together right now. Isn’t that what matters? Isn’t that what is real?”
“That’s all that’s ever mattered. That’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to be real.”
“Then why did you choose to leave me alone? We could have been together. We could have been happy! I could have helped you. It was me you should have come to, not a fucking bottle!”
“I know I should have.” His lip trembled, the dam fighting to hold back the flood.
“Then why didn’t you?” she yelled.
In his mind, he remembered the bitter taste of the alcohol. The guy he thought was his best friend had told him that it would make everything better. He said that it was okay, that one drink meant nothing. His ‘pal’ had said that despite all that the boy’s father had said, all that he had did to him and his mom, wouldn’t matter anymore if he had just one drink. The boy shut his eyes tight at this memory, locking in the tears of fury. He had never even drank before. Why did he let his ‘friend’ talk him into it?
“Because I thought that I knew how to help myself! I didn’t know what to do. In the moment, I felt like there was no one that could help me. All I wanted to do was numb the pain and drive away from everything as fast as I could. Away from my dad, away from myself…” he looked down. “Away from you. I didn’t know what else I could do.”
“What did I do to make you punish me like this? To have to live without you, blaming myself every day for not seeing beyond your disguise. Knowing that I could have saved you if I’d tried harder.”
He looked back up at her quickly and grabbed her. “No. You did save me. From the moment I met you, you saved me from things I didn’t know that I needed saving from. You saved me from the one person I thought I could trust: You saved me from myself. And from the first time you kissed me, I knew that happiness was real. It wasn’t just a long-forgotten memory. It wasn’t just the name of a character I played whenever I left the house, or a fiction I read in some books. It was a reality that I saw in your eyes. You taught me the meaning of ‘forever.’” Pulling her to him, he caressed her smooth auriferous hair. “I just made a mistake.”
“Will I ever see you again?”
“Every time you close your eyes.”
She pulled way and looked at him, placing her loving hand on his cheek. Reaching to the bedpost, she took the single red rose that he had brought her, and smelled its sweet scent. “Do the roses know they’re alive?” she asked suddenly.
“What do you mean?”
“Where you live now. Do flowers go there too when they die?”
“I suppose.”
“Will you ask them? For me? Whether the roses knew if they were alive or not.”
“Sure,” he answered tearfully. It was now his turn to feel the salty tears swim down his face. It was so ridiculous, the simplicity of it all. One minute he was sipping the most disgusting liquid he had ever tasted, and the next, he was swerving in front of a pair of blaring headlights. He didn’t even know how to describe where he had gone to after that. Mainly because he hadn’t believed in that place since the seventh grade. It felt like a dream. And he would be waking up soon to a “good morning, colon and closed parenthesis” text from his girlfriend. Maybe he’d wake up to a text asking whether roses knew if they were alive or not. He chuckled quietly to the thought of that.
As she held him, he opened his eyes and looked past her shoulder, out of the window, at the dawning sun outside. He pulled away slowly.
“It’s time for me to go now.”
Her lip trembled, but she merely nodded, knowing that if she let her defenses down now, they’d never come back. He got up and tugged on his blue jeans and pulled on his T-shirt. Tying his shoes, he glanced back at the bed, and saw her lying there, looking back at him. He rose up and walked back over to her. Laying down beside her, he held her against himself one last time, kissing her forehead. He closed his eyes, feeling himself with her for the moment. Right now, this was all that mattered. It was all that had ever mattered. He had been an idiot not to realize it before.
“Live on and be happy for the both of us.”
She opened her eyes, alone in her bed. It was as if she were waking up from a deep sleep. Laying on her side, she could see the framed photo on her bedpost of her and a boy. They were holding each other, her in her dance uniform, with a bouquet of roses in one hand. Looking at the picture, the girl smiled to herself, remembering all of the “awe’s” from the other girls on the team. She remembered how he had been blushing almost as much as her, when he asked her to be his girlfriend as he handed her the flowers, and how she had answered him with a kiss that had felt like eternity. They hadn’t known it then, but eternity was shorter than they had thought.
Beside her on the bed lay a single red rose; a strange thing to fall asleep with. Lifting it to her nose, the sensual aroma alleviated her spirits. It was like time was frozen, as she held that flower in her pearly-white hands. One of the green spikes pricked her finger, and a single drop of red blood make its way down her arm, as a single tear made its own path down her doll-like face. She collapsed into her pillow, a torrent of tears unleashed from her eyes as she remembered the car crash report on the news two days before. She gasped for breath when she remembered the moment of silence at school, and the pitiful glances as she made her way down the hall alone. 
Live on and be happy for the both of us, she heard the bodiless voice whisper in her ear.
“I promise,” she vowed aloud, not sure if he could hear her. “I promise.”
Looking back down at the rose from her dream that now lay in his place, a thought echoed in the back of her head. She wasn’t sure of the relevance it had to what had caused her breakdown, but she couldn’t seem to get the question out of her head.
Does the rose know that it’s alive? Does the rose know that it’s alive?


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