This story is by Alicya Xanders and was part of our 2020 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
TOKEN OF LOVE
Why can’t I open my eyes? I asked myself. My eyelids felt heavy, as if something pressed down on them. It could be a ton of weight. On top of that, I suffered extreme pain downward in the stem. The ache in my body left me paralyzed. I struggled to move myself, and with so much effort I could open my eyes. The morning light coming straight through a window blinded me. I squeezed them. Then bit by bit I re-open them again, partly from the sharp light, I had kept my eyes open. I told myself that I could do it until the words sank in. The window above presented a stunning view of the outside world.
Where exactly am I? I glanced around and tried to investigate the place; I noticed that I sprawled on something hard.
I’m lying on a table, I informed myself. And that was when I understood that I wasn’t in the garden anymore, but plucked out of my branches. I found myself in an unfamiliar place. From what I could see, it was a beautiful and organized room. An exquisite room, just like me.
“Wow, what a lovely rose! Who dropped it here” I heard someone scream with joy near me which interrupted my investigation of the place.
I turned toward the sound and met a youthful woman standing above me. She sounded delightful to see a flower and looked deep in thought.
“Oh, my God.” She seemed surprised and held me up. She pulled out a piece of paper from under me.
Oh, I laid on a paper.
Her fingers trembled while she unfolded the note. She started reading it and cried with silent tears. A young man entered the room and walked toward her. He stopped just a foot beside her. He fixed his eyes on her trembling hands.
She turned to face him. Her eyes glistened with fresh tears, as bright as sunshine. The guy seemed proud to be the reason for her happiness.
He held her hands with both of his and announced.
“I love you, Mary. I had wished to tell you many times, but couldn’t dare to push these words out of my mouth.” He looked deep into her eyes.
“Harry, you don’t know how impatiently I have longed to hear these words from you. I have loved you long before you could have imagined” Mary said.
Harry hugged her. They kissed; a fervent kiss that punctuated their love and the rapturous moment between them.
Wow, I saw all of it and somehow found it fascinating.
They were in love; They were in love with each other. I thought sadly, and peeked inside myself, feeling the emptiness as I missed my plant which Harry took me from. The memory made me sad, and I realized I couldn’t save myself when he plucked me. It all happened because I was just a poor little rose. Harry grabbed me out of my field just to make his girl happy.
“I like the flower, thank you,” she looked shy.
He nodded, his eyes twinkled with satisfaction. Then he took her out of the room and entangled her in his arms. Leaving me alone in an unfamiliar place.
Despite the room’s beauty, I couldn’t help but felt isolated, cut off with no one to communicate with. Anxiety enveloped me. I cried silently in a quiet room, where I felt unable to share an unstoppable grief with anybody. I longed for my garden; my home.
The feel of fresh air on my face seemed like a dream now. I missed the joy of mornings and the glory of sunsets in the garden. I was powerless and alone; a hopeless flower who wouldn’t be able to reach back to home again.
Looking through the window, I watched the sun setting down in the west. The Sun, who was a symbol of power, had lost its battle with the moon. Though it took its time sinking low in the sky, begrudgingly accepting its fate. It portrayed the sky in pinks, oranges, greens and indigo. Translating the stunning view into something heavenly. Its defeat made people happy.
I compared myself with the sun and found no difference. The sun shined all day long and died peacefully in the end, but left joy in other’s hearts.
Just like the sun, I also made people happy through my elegance. But it led me to lose my life. Everything worth having required a price. I knew that better than anyone, but that didn’t keep me from wanting to scream my cries and frustration to heavens. Still, I couldn’t mold the world to my own wishes. It was human nature to celebrate their happiness by plucking flowers out of their plants to decorate their homes.
In my garden, I observed that people took many of my friends out of their plants. All those had sharp thorns around their stems, but selfish people didn’t hesitate to pluck them out.
Why do people like to make themselves happy by plucking flowers from their plants? Amazed by the selfish nature of the world, I wished that no one would take a life to make them happy. That was a bittersweet truth of the world.
I laid there, no idea for how long. I spent an entire day alone. While lying on the table and facing out through the window, I felt so much pain inside me. For a moment everything darkened, and I thought that maybe I passed out. But then the pain hit me repeatedly in shocking, terrifying waves. I actually didn’t know what hurt more, my dying body or my broken soul. Therefore, this was how it felt after a long hard struggle – to lose the battle and finally fall out of place.
What could I possibly do to save myself now? The day turned into evening; I could feel my strength draining minute by minute.
I heard the doorknob turn, and Mary came in view, all smiling. She shuffled toward the table, pulled me up and brushed her lips to my dying petals. Closing her eyes, she enjoyed my fragrance. Her fingers warmed my weak stem, she moved up to stroke my petals. The touch of Mary’s hand somehow comforted me.
I felt so good when she carefully touched my fragile and dying body.
She picked a nearby notebook and opened it. She kissed me once again and then placed me inside the notebook. But before closing it, she said something I didn’t expect.
“Hey, little flower, I’ll always remember you as a token of love between me and my lover,” she paused and smiled.
” I’ll take care of you.” She closed the notebook.
I felt my breathing slow as Mary closed the notebook. I already knew that was the last minute of my life, be that as it may. I was glad to die as I found that I made two people happy before I closed my eyes. I only hoped that I could survive furthermore and make more people happy every day. But alas, I couldn’t. As a flower, I did what I was supposed to do.
I had been a symbol of beauty that made everyone happy when they looked at me until that day. But now, the sun would no longer help me blossom, nor its warmth would soothe the soul of my dying body. My petals would no longer glow in the sunshine, the color would no longer be rich.
Mary was happy as she cautiously placed me in the notebook. She held me for herself; Though she seemed very kind. Time will pass, and maybe I will become less beautiful and less attractive to her. Someday she’ll give up on me and throw me out. And even though I’ll try my best to show her the inner beauty that still exists.
As I laid there on the table losing my strength with every passing moment, I could barely draw a breath. That was my last day, but my heart had already left me long before Mary could close the notebook.