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Our Garden A Single Rose, a Simple Promise

The smoke alarm goes off. I can't cook as well as Osvaldo. When he makes Chiles Rellenos, my favorite, he doesn't burn them. I open the patio window and see the man I love at the end of our garden. With the sun setting behind him, he waves at me to come to him. Oh! How I miss him. He has come back for me. I run towards him through our garden, faster I go. He is so close, yet so far from me. "Come with me." I can almost hear him say. The promise he made has come true. Oh. How I miss him so.

"Halt." A beautiful feminine voice blares. I trip and land on my face over the garden's moist soil.

I raise myself to my knees. All around me are flowers the size of me. No. I'm the size of the flowers in my garden. The sun hides from the lush leaves above me.

Hyacinth rises from the soil. Her leaf raised at me to slow me down, ""Watch your step in the flower bed,"" she said. What is the rush? Why so haste?"" Her round face grinned at me, wondering what my destiny was.

""I am rushing to greet my man." I stand tall and firm, shaking the dirt from my body. I look around in the direction of the setting sun and can't see my man anymore.

""No, you don't."" She bends her leaves to her waist. Her beautiful face staring straight at me. "Why do you stop me?""

""You stay right there where you are at. You owe us an explanation.""

""I don't know what you mean?"" Fear filled my heart. Why am I part of the garden we planted not so long ago?

""Young man, where is your mate? Has he forgotten all about us, too?""

""I'm sorry for not caring for the garden. He went out of town to work for a while. He's coming back today."

"I only know what the other flowers have said to me. I want to hear your reasoning for making us and then suddenly abandoning us as discarded weeds."

"Oh, Hyacinth, where do I start? We met not long ago, and part of our pact was to plant a flower to see it grow just as our love grew. We watered you as we watered our love."

"That does not explain his abandonment."

"I'm sorry, Hyacinth." I look down to avoid her glare. "A month of love we had, and within that month, we exchanged vows. You are our love in true form."

"Why is he not here tending to our needs," her voice gets louder, leaves tremble, and other flowers come to our side.

"He had to go to work in a place far away, another state in the East. Oh. How I miss him so. Please let me go to greet him."

"No! You shall pay for your abandonment."

Movement from behind startled me. I turned to see Daisy flowering her white petals and placing her leaves behind her. She bent her stem, smiled, and giggled, "Where are you going, lover boy?" She also knew my love, my reason for being.

On bended knee, I kissed her leaf. "After my man, he's waiting for me." I tickled her gently.

"Ohhh." she giggled. "You're so cute and such a gentleman."

Tiger Lily roared beside her, "Keep your hands off my Daisy," he firmly said. "Don’t you have your own?”

I took a step back, placed my hands to my face, and cried, “I did. I do. I do not know anymore. He is gone from my side. He was taken from me too quickly if you ask me.” I compose myself and take a deep, calming breath. “I’m scared of losing him. What if he doesn’t come back?”

“Get a grip, young man.” Dandelion roared. “I know your fears. I have those too. My lovely Daisy, I almost lost once.”

“Oh. Yes, he did. I had lost my way, and he helped me see what I would miss.”

“Daisy, please tell me it is not so. I could not bear losing him. I’ve been with no one for over a quarter-century, and I am too old to find someone new.” I look to the rainbow above to prevent my tears from rolling down my cheeks.

A tap on my shoulder made me turn. “My dear man, you’re not a teenager anymore. Behave as such.” The lovely blue Hydrangea tapped my shoulder. “How can you be so foolish to love? Did you not have a life before your man?

“No. That is just it. I waited too long. I was scared. I was unsure. I thought I was destined to be afraid. Two decades have passed, and single still I am.”

“That’s no excuse. You took a chance. What exactly did you do?”

“I asked the universe to bring me a man just for me. I was not so sure it would work. I still think I am dreaming. Maybe he does not exist, but only in my heart.”

Hydrangea bowed her head, “Honor us with what you asked the universe for you."

My breathing became labored, my emotions ready to explode. "Time has passed long and by from me and from a relationship I hid, from the valley of the endless sun by the sea or, in the city of lights and sins. So many frogs I have kissed thus far, toads followed by close and near, warts and scars I carry with me. I did not know if I would ever find my very own prince."

"What do you mean? Tell us your woes."

"The youth of today seek money and power from their older mates. Power, I have and work not for fun, not for toned bodies that are the norm today, though mine lost decades ago today. So many chances encounter always found within a dating pool of lost souls, jaded men, fatherless boys, and married skeletons in closets. I want dinner, movie, dancing, cafe lattes, and no loveless, quick, dirty, unsafe sex with monies exchanged for unsuccessful conclusions to happy endings. Hours, weeks, months, and years have gone by without a relationship, and we have always been as lovers on a harbor on a passing ship."

"Young man?" Daisy pushed me with her bloom. "What did you ask for?"

"Come on, man." Tiger roared. "Tell us."

I walked to each flower and said, "I asked, I pleaded, I begged for a man that would love me for whom I am, not for who he wants me to be, who will respect me as a person, as a friend, as a lover, and as his partner. I asked for a new life, a new beginning, a new chance. I asked for my life." I twirled and twirled and fell to the soil to cry.

"Was he the one? Did the universe bring him to you?

"Yes. Yes. Oh. Yes. The universe brought a man who took a chance opportunity on me. I was answered and met him by midnight; I had met the man of my dreams."

My eyes closed from a splash of orange. Lantana gave me a hug. “How was your night when you two first met?”

“It was not a date, if you mean,” I say.

“Oh. Please, this is not the nineteen forties.” Lantana shook herself, and a few blazes of orange fell on my head. “This is twenty, fifteen. A time where men meet, kiss, and say goodbye the next day.”

“I am not like that, not by a bit. I am old fashion, and that is it. “Really?” She shook again. “I don't believe.”

"It was not a date-date, only a meet and greet, to have a drink, not dinner, not go dancing, just to be together and get to know each other with no expectations, no hiding, no lies. Grins and smiles on both of our faces. Deep breaths are taken for both to be relieved, neither a troll nor a twink that was our night to be relived. There was a night of war on the cards and rummy, the hours passed, and we drank beer and wine, sharing lives, favorite colors, and family. A night of longing for love and passion Inhibitions unbounded giving souls, hugs, kisses, tongue, in a mansion where two men are on a mission for love.

Peonies in full pink bloom exploded from the soil. “Don’t keep us waiting, young man. Tell us. Tell us about your time with him,” They said in a chorus of melodies.

“Oh. Peonies. Where do I start? I feel like such a fool of how it happened. I'm so afraid it might have been a dream.”

“A fool's heart does not try to find love,” they sang.

“It was my chance to make a new life with the love of a new man. It was a promise forever made. It was no less and no more than thirty days of passion, twenty days of joy, ten days of pain, and only two days of sex. I may have been too rough on him.” I blush as pink as Peonies. “This is our story where barriers were broken, our walls we tore down with our love embrace. Past lovers affected us no more. Baggage left unclaimed outside by the door. Fears left behind in our past. And new habits ready to be made.”

“Oh young man, how lovely a couple you make.”

“Ha ha ha.” A volcano of dirt and lava arose from the soil and many more followed around, creating a wall of fire.

“You stop that, Snapdragon. Stop scaring him so.” Hyacinth said.

“Oh, dear sister, don't you know? His lover was due back before the new moon. It is now one past a full. He is not here with him. Is he?”

“True," I say.

"Is he, my dear boy?" Snapdragon roared louder than Tiger.

"You speak the truth." I pumped out my chest and confronted him. "Yes. He was transferred to another state completely. However, he is trying to transfer back. I offered to move there, and he said no. It would only be temporary.”

“Temporary my bottom blossoms are, and permanent my roots shall always be. He’s not coming back to you any time soon. Or ever I tell you so.”

“Maybe, maybe not. The fact remains that time flows slowly through the day. My heart a vast emptiness no more shall be. I am filled with his love. Time has to pass, the time has to present, and time has to come. You will see that in time he will be on my side. He’s already in my heart.”

“You’re not yourself when you’re with him. You are no longer yourself without him. You have not been yourself since him.”

“Snapdragon. Stop. I say stop right now.” Daisy screamed.

“You’re right.” I stood tall. “I may not be myself without him. I did not learn to be without him. Nevertheless, I am not without him. He is in my heart. He is in my soul. He is in my being. And that is enough for me.”

Darkness surrounded the garden. The flowers retreated as Hollihill the Black Widow Lilly bloomed. “My dear, are you sure he’s coming back to you?”

“Why might you ask such a silly question?” Daisy asked. "Leave him alone."

"Yeah. Don't you see he's confused and hurt?" Tiger defended me holding his leaves around me and pulling me away from Hollihill.

“You’ve been waiting for a long time now. Have you not?” She asked louder.

“Yes,” I said, not liking her implications. I pushed past Tiger's protection to face the Black Widow.

“Like many women of my time, that stands by waiting for the sails of the ocean to bring back their man, which many do not come back.”

“That’s not a nice comparison,” Daisy said aloud. "You’re mean.”

“I love him and will wait for him. He promised he would come back. I have no reason to doubt. I have no reason to wonder. I admit that I step out onto the balcony as if it were a Widow’s Walk. At my Widows’ Balcony, I look to the rising sun towards the East, as those women look to the seas waiting for a ship, a sail, or a mast. I feel sad for them because I do not seek a ship or have to wait; I have his texts that bring me hope, his everlasting love, and his devotion to me. He shows me how hard he works to come back to me with each message. He may not bring me lobsters, crabs, or squids. He will bring me himself and his love for me.”

“I may stand corrected.” Holly hill took a vow in front of me. “I bid you good love from your lover on your Lover’s Walk.”

Behind Hollihill, Violet pulled her back and shouted aloud, “Be patient, and you will see that the man you love in your arms will soon be.” Her scent impregnated my senses. “You will see that the months will fly by quickly. Our leaves and blooms will wither away. Your love is eternal and will never die.”

I kneel by the flowers on their bed. I sob, I cry, and I hug myself thinking of him. I look towards the rainbow and to the sun hidden from my eyes. Clouds float white then dark. Thunder threatens like my fears for his warmth. I turn to the flowers with my tears raining on their roots, “It’s been almost a fortnight, and I miss him so. The sincerity of his words when he calls me ‘Baby’ or texts me, ‘I love you.’ throughout the day. “The lullaby of his voice when he calls my name, the warmth of his hot body when he takes me in his arms and cradles me to sleep, I love the aroma of his soul when I inhale him deeply, the comfort of his nude body next to mine when we sleep.

“Cry me a river and see me grow.” Dandelion grew fast, and his brothers spread quickly around me.

“Tiger!” Daisy yelled.

“Why should I not cry for my lover?” I stomped on his roots.

“He has abandoned you a few nights in a row not long ago. If he loved you, he would not have done so.” He smirked.

I sat between Daisy and Violet. “You’re right. He did leave me, and I did not know what to do.”

“Oh, young man, you don’t have to say anything to this bully.” Violet wiped a tear from my eye with her leaf.

“Those nights, I cover myself with his ‘Blankey,’ a blanket as soft as his soul, so warm as his body. I hold it tight as I sit and wait for him to get home.”

“Why would he leave you?” Daisy asked, holding me close to her stem.

“He would work late and be asked for a late-night drink by his peers. ‘ I’ll be home early,’ he texted me. The TV’s soft glow hypnotized me into a lullaby. Hours would pass another text, ‘I might be late.’”

“That just works. Why is that so bad?” Daisy asks.

“I had nightmares of him hurt by a drunk driver in the dark. Was he having too much fun that he could not drive home? People are crazy in this city. I would wake startled and cover myself tighter with his Blankey and try to go back to sleep.”

“But did you, young man. Did you?” Dandelion roared.

“My breathing would stop. My heart would race. I could not see through my tears. I could not feel my arms. Was I dying? I always asked if I survive the night without him. Then I would hear a noise outside. I would wait for the door to open. Nevertheless, there was nothing. I ran as fast as I could to the door to greet him. I would open the door, and there was no one there. Only an empty hallway and a cold breeze tuning an eerie echo. Walking to the street for movement in the twilight and pre-morning noises of children running. I would watch the sunrise. They were beautiful, as beautiful as his face.”

“Where was your sunshine?” Dandelion insisted.

“I waited. I waited. I waited. Scared and confused, I felt.” I look at Daisy’s face. “Is that feeling normal?”

“Yes. I am afraid so.”

“A key had jiggled. The door opened. I flung myself into his arms and took him in. He’s come home safe.”

“See, he came back.” Rose barked at Dandelion and his brothers. “Now scoot, you bully. Can’t you see my pal here is missing his man?”

I placed my hands to my face and cried, “I did. I do. I do not know anymore. He has gone from my side. He was taken from me too quickly if you ask me.”

The clouds clear, and the sun shines again. I compose myself and take a deep, calming breath. A ray of light shone on the beautiful, deep-red rose blooming with the sunshine. “Young man, you should kiss a flower once, thrice to bring you eternal love when you give your heart away,” Rose said.

I kneeled before her to give her three kisses. “Why only three? What happened to a Dozen on a vase or a single one with a diamond ring?” I ask.

“Silly, silly boy, I said, kissing a Rose. You deserve a dozen red roses for sure, but only from the man you date and do not deserve. Two of me is a promise for more.”

“And one of you?”

“A single rose and a diamond I know he will bring you to propose.” She stretched to me and kissed my lips.

“Excuse me. Please move from my way.” Orchid made her way through the brush. “Don’t disappear like most that have and lost Adam to Steve. Be brave and strong, and you will see.”

I sit on the ground with my face back in my hands. “I’m so confused now. I don’t know what to do.”

“The past is past. Cherish the memories. The present is hard, but you will see. That your future is with only one, and that is he,” she says to me.

“Baby?” His soft voice I hear behind me. “I’m home.”

“Osvaldo?” I turn to him; he helps me up and gives me a deep kiss. I inhale his soul in me.

He gathers me in his arms, and I rest my head on his shoulder. “I missed you so.” He pushes me to face him; he kisses me and bends on one knee. Along the stem is a red rose with a diamond ring in the center of his hand. “Marry me,” he says.

I take the rose. I accept the ring. I take him, and I lay down to dream about how our wedding will be. A single rose, a simple promise.

Our Garden A Single Rose A Simple Promise
Writer’s Bloc VII – Henderson Writers Group
October 26, 2016
Revised 05/28/22

Word Count 3,166

Published inShort Stories