I wonder when anyone will pick me. Although I am crowded by others like me, I feel my heavy desires bow my stem low towards the overgrown path that hasn’t been walked in decades. Footprints have been whisked away by weather and time of which I have only caught glimpses while I bloom.
My routine is the same. With the sun, I open; and as the world begins to glow, I regain my ability to see. It is my favorite time of the day. I love the feeling of the dewdrops in the morning and the way they gently caress as they slither down my stalk. When my petals unfurl I am able to see the same path yet again.
From my height at the top of the bush I look down and search for anything new. A boot print, a paw print, a hoof print, anything. And I find my disappointment again every morning. I then wait for a disturbance as long as the sun shines on me. The moon comes and I must close myself to the world and wonder, will tomorrow finally be the day?
I wait, I hope, and I watch over and over again. I cannot tell you how many years I have repeated my routine. There have been many winters where my leaves have burned from the frost, yet I refuse to give up. I live in spite of the world while fellow flowers surrounding me live and die because I yearn to be picked and bask in the adoration of my beauty. I withstand, sturdily resisting the cycle of life, because I wish to see human eyes glisten at the enchantment of my crown of petals.
Perhaps I do not have to wait much longer. The wind brings me whispers of a woman with unmatched beauty who requests a rose from her traveling father. Oh, but would he dare? Would he be so tempted by my beautiful facade that he ignores the thorns behind me and the darkness that resides even deeper?
I am the beautiful face on the bow of a ship, hiding the sickness that, if I could move, would follow me wherever I go. I am tainted deeper than my roots by the soil that connects me to the castle of evil behind my brambles. I hear the other blooms behind me whisper between the leaves of the monster that we beautiful things protect.
Waiting for the old man to come and pluck me from background and pull me to foreground was torture. Cycles of the sun and moon passed. Many drops of dew traced the slight curve of my stalk. No footprints in the dirt blessed my wakening for many days. Until they did. Finally, on an especially cold morning in our enchanted blanket of winter, I bloomed, opening myself up to the sun. The sun’s rays relayed a secret: the end of my waiting is near.
Oh, the end did come.
After lightening the weight it bears by freeing the secret of my departure, the sun arced over me. It shone brighter and further away, no longer tethered to the words that it passed on to me. As the rays began to fade, the hooves of a horse pricked my thorns. The steady rhythm drew near and soon, a face appeared in my petals’ view.
It was magnetic. His eyes pierced me, immediately drawn to my blush crown. It was him, the old man and father of the beautiful girl who would finally love me in the way that I long for. The man stared for a moment, mouth slightly agape. I saw his eyes drift behind me, honed in on the darkness that I am meant to be protecting.
After a while, his lips moved and made sounds that, as a flower, I could not understand. And then he turned, got back on his horse, and left.
The night settled and I closed, taking one last look at the moon. Maybe he was telling me “not yet, I will be back for you.” Maybe, though, he will not be back for me. Maybe he will keep me waiting until I finally give up and wither away into nothingness like so many roses before me.