Wow! Surely I’m not the only one who totally missed the month of July….. Where in the world did it go? Ah, well, at least we’re a lot closer to football season than the last time I looked. Go Battle! Go Vols!
I don’t know if I’m early or late but in either case I hope you enjoy this week’s (whichever week you happen to be living in) #fridayflash, The Rose Garden, rated PG by my standards. Be sure to visit the Friday Flash Community where you’ll find more terrific flash fiction by outstanding authors!
By the way, how do you answer the infamous question: “What do you write?”? Visit This Side….Over Yonder and join in on the conversation.
The Rose Garden, by Roslyn Fain
“How are you doing in here sweetheart?” The voice of the buxom nurse filled the bedroom.
“Hey Georgina,” Alafia smiled, grateful for the distraction. She had been trying to write but, once again, allowed her thoughts to roam too far away. “I’m doing okay.”
Georgina frowned and put her hands on her hips. “Is that the truth, Miss?” she said.
“Yes, I promise,” Alafia said and she sat her notebook and pen aside and pushed herself up to a sitting position to prove it. She didn’t expect that her elbow would not cooperate. They both heard the snap as Alafia’s left side collapsed, leaving her bent sideways across the bed.
“Yep, I thought so,” Georgina said as she rushed to Alafia’s side. Alafia had drawn in a sharp breath but otherwise did not complain. Georgina made sure it was only Alafia’s bones popping and not breaking before she said, “You’ve not been up and around enough today. Come on,” she turned and grabbed the wheelchair behind her and sidled it up beside the bed, “let’s go outside.” She pushed the covers off Alafia’s legs and gently turned them to hang off the side of the bed.
“But isn’t it about to rain?” Alafia said.
“Naw,” Georgina replied, “It’s just a heavy mist is all, noting to fret over.”
It was often foggy there on the lake and Alafia knew Georgina was right – it was not more than a mist out there now. “I would like to get out some,” she said.
“That’s my girl!”
Georgina pushed the wheelchair across the portico and into the side yard, trying, but failing, to conceal her heavy breathing. They were headed towards the rose garden.
“I want to walk, George,” Alafia said.
“All right, let’s just get over here to the arbor first and I’ll help you.” Alafia was glad to feel the tiny jolts in her hips as they bumped across the cobblestoned walkway; it was when she couldn’t feel her bones and joints working that she worried.
The rose garden was an anomaly as no roses had grown in the half-acre portion of the grounds for at least a half century. According to Alafia’s husband, Kevin, his grandmother had planted several different varieties of rose bushes there when she inherited the homestead in her early adult years, but when the children came along she couldn’t keep up with it and finally her husband had removed the rose bushes and planted wildflowers in their place. Alafia was glad they had photos of the roses but wished Kevin’s grandfather had not completely destroyed the beautiful garden. She could imagine how gorgeous it would be today, how it would have likely grown further out and definitely higher than the bare arbor that served as nothing more than ornamentation now.
“You know,” Alafia said as Georgina helped her out of the wheelchair, “I’ve always wanted to plant roses here, to regrow the garden that Kevin’s grandmother started.
Georgina was silent. She wanted to say “Well, let’s get busy then!” but how could she encourage a dying woman to start a new life she’d not live to see come to fruition?
Alafia said, “What do you think, George, should we plant roses here again?” She held onto the railing of the arbor and inched along the winding path, Indian paintbrush and blue aster tickling her legs.
“Oh, I don’t know about that, Miss Alafia,” Georgina said.
Of course Alafia said exactly what Georgina was afraid she would: “Why not?” She had stopped walking and turned to stare at her nurse, challenging her to speak the truth, to say because you’re dying, nitwit!, but Georgina only turned her gaze away from Alafia and changed the subject. “You know, Miss, I think you’re right, it looks like it’s going to pour down the rain any minute.” She turned and hooked her arm around Alafia’s shoulders and guided her back towards her wheelchair. “Let’s get you back inside before we get drenched.”
Alafia wanted to protest. She wanted to demand that her nurse help her start preparing the soil for rosebushes immediately, she wanted to grab the sickle and attack those damn wildflowers, to get rid of them now. She wanted to run……
By the time Alafia had come to her senses Georgina had already gotten her back into bed and was snuggling the pillows up close to Alafia’s legs and hips. Alafia didn’t even recall the ride back across the portico and inside the house. She said nothing as Georgina went in and out of the room over the next few minutes, refilling Alafia’s water pitcher, adding medicine to the vaporizer, setting a fresh bowl of cold water with a washcloth on the bedside table. When Georgina reached to close the blinds Alafia said, “No, George, please leave them open.”
“But you need to rest Al, to take a nap.”
“I don’t care,” Alafia sounded like a spoiled child. “I just want to be able to see out,” she said, not as forceful.
Georgina planted her hands on her hips and looked down her nose at her charge as she always did when pretending to decide whether or not to argue. But she always gave in. She sighed heavily. “All right,” she said and she pointed her finger in Alafia’s face, “but if I catch you up and not resting I’m busting your butt!”
Alafia giggled. “Yes, ma’am!” she said.
“I mean it!” Georgina said as she closed the door softly behind her.
Alafia picked her notebook and pen back up from the table. She clicked the pen on and held it above the paper. But she did not write anything. She looked out the window just as the first large drops of rain died on the window pane, leaking down the glass like unchecked tears.
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