Flash Fiction Journal: Rose Garden
An unedited flash piece I handwrote in my journal about what it means to anticipate happy changes while also holding a space to be weary of it.
I started a rose garden. It was years ago, long before my husband moved in or our kids moved out. At either end of the front porch, the roses are crated in two small flowerbeds. I moved in thirty-something years ago to find the bushes standing on their last leg. It was the dead of winter and I wasn’t certain flowers could ever bud from the plant again. My gardening obsession began there: in the stale bushes. I was on a mission to revive the roses from the cruelties of the harsh freeze.
By May, the flowers began to sprout. That year had only yielded three decent flowers - a coup of yellow roses that fit neatly inside a champagne bottle on the kitchen counter. And the rest was history: fresh roses every Spring and countless mornings tending to their growth.
While the flower bed was small, it came with my favorite memories of the house. From making my youngest daughter fresh flower crowns for her princess escapades to the numerous times I’d lost my wedding diamond in the soil; My husband would always be the one to find it, and when he did he’d take one knee to the sod and propose all over again - in the midst of golden and flush bloom. The flowerbeds came with their challenges - countless storms devastated the roses and my fingers calloused daily behind a million thorned finger-pricks. And yet, I unquestionably received my sunshine-colored flowers behind the greyest months life had to offer.
When I dove into my gardening obsession, elbows, and knees, the house slowly filled with LED lights and counter plants, a trace of soil always following me up and down the staircase. My husband often asked me why I couldn’t move my obsession back into the flowerbeds to which I always responded: “There’s no room. That’s the rose garden.” He’d joke about getting me a greenhouse, but I never took it to heart. We lived in the city with no backyard. Until yesterday. It was a surprise gesture that brought me to tears of joy: My husband bought us a new house south of town, fit with a backyard and a greenhouse. Everything I’d dreamed about for years was here in an instant: we were to move tomorrow. I couldn’t stop smiling as we packed our small home through the morning. But when the moving truck came this afternoon I found myself frozen in the front yard: my rose garden.
“What do we do?” I asked my husband. I couldn’t leave it behind. His hands flowed over the yellow flowers and he smiled. “They’ll be someone else’s to enjoy. You left them far more beautiful than you found.”
He left me to myself, boxes in arms, while I stood quietly with my gorgeous roses once more. I let my hands catch a thorn for the last time. And as happy as I was, I cried, goodbye.