Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Hanami moment + Yellow water roses

A moment from this week: arriving at this walkway and being amazed by the cherry blossoms that are in bloom right now. Such a beautiful and almost surreal sight, giving an idea of the Japanese Hanami event . And nicely fitting for the new photo friday challenge "Blossom".

When I looked for a story for the theme, I moved from cherries to ... roses. This is a story written a longer while ago, and is now blooming again in a new, slightly different version.  And to go with it, a rose petal photo, from last summer:

Yellow water roses

He knocks at the door without announcement, in the middle of a sentence. Says he came to note the amount of water that is used up in a year, in this house. I stand there, unsure what to do, where to find the figure. “The counter is in the cellar,” he says. He walks down the steps, ahead of me. While he writes the figures in a black book, I tell him about a new measure installed to control the flow, to reduce it. “It doesn't make a difference,” the water man explains. “It's no use making these efforts, they come to nothing.” Then he leaves, without saying another word.

Later I finish the letter, and then go to post it. In the park next to the office, there are some youngsters, dressed in dark clothes that don’t fit. When I pass them, I notice a girl who stands at the edge, pretending she is part of the game. Yet she isn't. At least not in a playful way. Walking towards them, I pick some twigs and keep them in my hand. Then I enter their game. They all stare at me. I appear serious, but I am playing a game, too. “You”, I say, pointing at her. “You forgot to deliver the flowers.”

The words move her away, while the others stare, unable to protest. The thing is, every one is aware of the games played, of the intentions underneath. But none would ever acknowledge the knowledge. It would be breaking the rules of the game.

On the way home, I think of the girl in the corner again, and in two curves of memory the scene leads to a rose bush in the garden, in front of the house I don’t live in any more. The first time the bush bloomed, it carried one single yellow blossom. There was a spider living in it. A year later, when it bloomed a second time, there were three blossoms unfolding after another. Like past present future. Like morning evening night. Sometimes, in the mornings, I stopped to touch them. They felt like satin, sitting out there in the chilling cold.

It is this memory that makes me enter the flower shop a day later, to buy them. Yellow roses. But they are gone, leaving only red, pink and white. Thus I buy the red ones.

It was a wrong move. I know it already when I walk out of the shop door. The feeling gets confirmed when I put the roses in a vase, and fill it with water. They won’t do. For a minute I think of taking them back to the shop. Instead, I carry the vase to the room that isn’t used anymore. Yet the petals stay in my mind through the morning. I know it is silly, for they are only flowers. It is irritating that they have grown so important at all, as they would soon wither anyway. But then, that’s true for everything. And the roses, they are only there for a short time.

I didn’t see them again, by the way. The water man. And the girl from the park. But once in a while, I now find a flower in my mailbox, delicately pressed to a thin, timeless layer, talking to me without words.

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