Rain, and roses.

24 Apr

The book I had intended to read- Persuasion- lay undisturbed in front of me on the wicker coffee table. I sat in an adirondack chair on the wrap- around side porch wrapped in a knit blanket, swinging my feet, which weren’t long enough to reach the ground, back and forth with the rhythm of the rain. It  splashed and pounded down all around in a raucus dance with the wind. 

I had every intention to read, to happily get lost in the world of Jane Austen, but I soon got caught up in the thunderstorm, becoming riveted by its theatrical display. The curtain swept back as the thunder boomed and lightening cracked. And as I stared out at the rain pouring down in front of  me in  sheets-  my own thoughts kept drifting and tugging me further into memories I thought had faded into oblivion.

My hair was brown then rather than a silvery gray and hands soft and smooth rather than calloused and wrinkled. It didn’t take a cane to get out onto the porch then, just two youthful legs. I never was pretty, but I had personality- damn lots of it. The boys used to say I was like their “best friend.” I secretly wished I could have been one of their girlfriends. But they never saw me like that. I worked as a typist in a law firm, and at thirty my family gave up all hope that I would ever marry. So did my friends. “You’re too independent” they’d tell me. Besides, I wasn’t the kind of girl who really cared. I was a realist. Romance wasn’t my thing. Maybe I just had never been romanced before.

I walked into work one morning and saw an unfamiliar sight on my desk. In fact I smelled them before they ever met my eyes. In front of my typewriter there was a boquet of twelve red roses sprinkled with white, baby’s breath flowers. There was a hand written note attatched. When I got over the intial shock this splash of red had on my heart, which was now thumping erradiacally, I read the note. “Why don’t you smile more?” It was signed “Hal.”

 This display was from a man who I had only spoken briefly to a few times in passing. I remember thinking this was something from the motion pictures, this boquet of flowers that looked so out of place on my desk and in my life. It was something that just didn’t happen to 30 year old, frumpy best friend girl. I adjusted my horn-himmed glasses, smoothed my blouse and took a deep breath before I made my way to his office where I would thank him and give him an answer to the surprising question.

The smell of those roses drift into my life at the strangest times, like right now while I’m sitting on the porch during a spring rainstorm. And with that smell, all the feelings of elation come flooding back.

Hal never did marry me. After our first and only date, he declared me a “funny gal” and said that he was sure he and I would become good friends, which of course we did. I just smiled at him even though it felt like he punched a gaping wound, the one place it hurt the most. I would have been fine, except for those lovely roses. I never could forgive him for letting me taste of something I never knew I had missed- romance.

The rain is slowing now to soft drip. The earth has drank her full. With the rain she will grow more roses, and I will allow the memories to fade once more as I turn to the first page of a book I have not yet  begun.

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