A Bed of Rosesby Sophie Denny
As the sweet scent of roses floated in through her window, she smiled, fondly remembering that last day she spent with her, sauntering around the garden centre, searching for the last rose to complete her collection. She knew she was dying, but this was her one wish before she went. They were like her, she said; seemingly soft and delicate, but viciously fighting their way through tough seasons. She’d had to do that many times…just this time she hadn’t the strength to grow more roots.
They laughed and giggled as she pushed her round and round the hundreds of pots of roses, their fingers numb to the piercing pricks from the stems. ‘It’s nothing to me,’ she said, pausing for a while to catch her breath, ‘I’ve had so many needles in me that a tiny thorn’s nothing!’. She had always admired how strong and upbeat she had been, even until the very end, nothing would ever get her down. ‘Life’s too short for tears,’ she always said. For her, that was too true.
They spent hours in that garden centre, like they always did. The time flew by with the change of the wind, but they didn’t care; it was their happy place. ‘I just want to be surrounded by life,’ she would always say, ‘there’s too much death around me already.’
Stopping for a garden centre lunch, they sat in silence, admiring the beauty of the flowers that surrounded them, their strong perfume, and the insects they drew in. As soon as they had swallowed the last morsel, they were back up, weaving their way through the plants, desperate to find this rose. To describe it, she said, ‘it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen – apart from you of course!’. She’d always told her how beautiful she was, but it was she who was the beautiful one; even then her radiant personality poured out of her emerald eyes, always shimmering, making up for her lack of hair.
Eventually, they reached the heart of the group of roses, and there it was, standing in all its glory. The deep red contrasting so perfectly with the white, and the tints of pink as the two colours blended, marked it as a miracle of nature. ‘The Double Delight Rose,’ she murmured, overwhelmed with blissful content. ‘If,’ she whispered breathlessly, ‘we plant this now, there will still- be flowers- for your- sixteenth- birthday- next- month!’. It was all she could do to smile at her mother’s optimism; her hope.
When they got back, they immediately planted it in the awaiting hole where it shone in brilliant beauty. She was sure that she saw her mother’s eyes glisten over as she sat in her chair, smiling at all she’d achieved; but she’d never admit to it. Not her mum. And as she wheeled her inside, helping her into her bed that overlooked the roses, she was still smiling. And as she lay there, her smile remained, until she drifted off forever.
Sophie lives in Surrey and is studying English Literature, History, French, and Spanish at school. She also enjoys playing the cello and the harp, playing netball and writing a blog about books! She loves books, especially Jane Austen!