On my way to the office Wednesday morning, I was blessed with the opportunity to see my ex with his new girlfriend. I would have been fine had my replacement been my age, my shape, my size but she wasn’t. The woman he was with was tall and blond and shapely…like Barbie. Seeing how happy Bruce looked with ‘Barbie’ stabbed at me the entire day and the more irritated I became, the faster I worked. Wednesday evenings I usually work until about nine thirty, but, thanks to the happy couple, I got to leave at seven.
Being around my friend, Maggie, always has a calming effect on me. , and since I had plenty of timepassed her house on my way home anyway, I stopped in for a visit and a small dose of sanity. Her husband, Ben, ushered me through the house and out the patio door where I found Maggie attacking the weeds which had snuck into her tomatoes. I stepped beside her and stood watching for a moment. There was a wonderful fragrance in the air around her.
“Do you always wear perfume to work in the dirt?” I asked, breaking her concentration.
“Oh my gosh…Hi” she said as she pulled off her gloves and gave me the hug I had come for.
“It’s the roses; their scent is really strong tonight. Have you been here since Ben and I put the rose garden in?”
“I don’t think so. When did you plant them?”
“End of May, beginning of June. Come on. I’ll show ‘em to you before it gets too dark” she said, beaming. “Hey, isn’t it Wednesday? How’d you manage to get off so early?”
“That’s what I’m here to forget.” I answered.
There must have been twenty rose bushes, each surrounded by a cobblestone footpath. As the dark, moist soil cooled from the heat of the day, a cloud of vapor formed, its warmth intensifying the fragrance of each flower. Amid the lush green leaves were buds and blooms of a variety of colors and sizes.
“I think this one is my favorite” she told me. “It’s a French Lace”. As I leaned forward to examine the frilly petals on this particular plant, a colorless spot in the back corner of the garden caught my eye. There, encircled by cobblestone, was a mound of dark earth, marked at the center by four thorny branches. Unlike the rest of the group, this plant was completely naked. Its bare stalks seemed to negate the beauty of the rest of the plants. Its presence added only gloominess.
I have never been a big fan of roses. With both eyes, I see their magnificence, but under my system of values, their exquisiteness is completely and utterly annulled by their viciousness. If you personify them, they are bitches. They are! “Touch me, smell me, enjoy me”, they tease–all the while, just laying in wait to draw blood if you get too close.
When I was younger I could see love’s tint in all colors. I believed in love. I thought of it and sang of it and studied about it. I would read works that compared love to the rose, but I just never got it. In my eyes, the only credible parallel between love and this despicable flower is this in order to fully appreciate its beauty; you must accept the hazard of its thorns.
This unfortunate little shrub appeared to be dead. I felt awful for the tiny stumps amid the other lush plants in the rose garden and I became annoyed at the haughty demeanor of its neighbors.
Maggie must have seen the look on my face change as I examined the underling. “Look at this”, she told me as she reached down just above the soil line. “Ben and I just found it this morning. We thought we were going to have to throw this one out, but look”. There, where Maggie was pointing, I saw a tiny green shoot about an inch and a half long pushing its way out of the very bottom of one of the dead brown stalks.
“I hope it makes it”, I told my friend. For the first time ever, I was championing a rose. If this little, dead-looking set of thorny stalks can survive to become the biggest bitch in the garden, I guess there really is hope for us all.