31 August 2008 – 3 years ago this day, Chris died. I have a dried rose taken from his funeral pressed in a book on my dresser. It was hard remembering the year the preceded that painful day, but then I thought of the wonderful years we all had with him before cancer took him from us. I thought about the day he tried to teach me the rules of cricket, the way he covered the back court as my badminton partner, his ability to out-climb people more than half his age up Mt. Kilimanjaro, a shared joke across the dinner-table, my first Arsenal game at Highbury when they beat his team Leicester 5-1. He sat with his arms folded in a huff every time they scored, but there was a sly smile on his face at my pleasure. He bought me a programme, which I keep in the top drawer of my dresser at home.
There are so many dried roses pressed and scattered around my house. Each of them is a memory. The one that sits in a box in my room was a momento of my grandfather. There is one in a wooden box, a gift from a friend on a rainy day through a rose garden. One is a memory of the first day of summer, another of the first day at Uni.
I’ve always loved roses, yellow ones are my favourites, but I only ever keep roses when there is something I want to remember. It’s not really the colour that matters, but the memory it represents.
Sometimes I open a book or a drawer and the memory comes back to me in a series of dried petals. Today, before I sat down to write I opened my filofax and found the yellow rose from the Princes Street gardens. I stole that one a couple of months ago wilst taking a stroll. It started to rain, warm, heavy drops. I was late for my train home after work, but I didn’t want to leave. I sat on a low wall to the rear of the garden and sulked at the thought of heading home. I was happy and didn’t want to move. As I forced myself up, I looked around and spotted a rose bush towards the exit. Wanting to preserve the memory of that perfect evening, I used my sharp little fingernails to cut through the stem. I twirled the flower in my hand, admiring its perfection and deposited it between the pages of my diary.
Flowers mean different things to different people. Most people have a favourite. What’s yours?
Use this prompt anyway you’d like. Right now, I’m back in the garden, feeling the rain.
Writing Prompt: When the rose is dead