‘I don’t think I am drinking enough these days,’ said the rose petal to no one in particular. ‘I feel a bit dehydrated and it’s not good for my complexion.’She looked at the petal over on her right with slight envy, noticing a marked difference in tone.
A ladybug, who was lazily crawling up the side of the rosebush overheard. ‘Don’t worry about it. Drinking is overrated, a fad if you ask me,’ he said.
‘It’s easy for you to say,’ the petal said, ‘you have legs but I am stuck here perched on a rosebush. Why they had to plant us in the sunniest spot in the garden is beyond me. Have they no compassion?’
The petal sighed which caused her to droop a little more. The brighter colored petal on her left looked at her with some disdain and said: ‘You haven’t used the treatment I recommended. Dew drops should be applied daily from left to right.’ She twisted a little to show off how rosy she still looked and started to hum with satisfaction.
The first rose petal was silent for a long time. A small stirring made her come back from her reverie and when she looked up she saw that the smaller petal on her left had disappeared. Another stirring and she realized that she and the haughty one were the only two petals left on the stem: ‘where did they all go? What happened to little Amy and Jenny? And our cousins Lois and Sarah? Look, our entire extended family is gone! It’s just you and me now.’ She began to cry.
‘I know what happened’ said the haughty one. ‘They didn’t follow my treatment’. She began to hum again, completely untouched by the disappearance of her close relatives. ‘Don’t worry, they’ll be back soon,’ she said.
‘What are you talking about? They won’t be back! That’s why nobody knows where they went,’ said the first petal. ‘I heard stories about them falling and falling.. But no one comes BACK to tell us what really happens. Oh my goodness, I am starting to feel weak at the thought,’ said the faded pink petal and drooped even more.
The second petal started to feel nostalgic. ‘I remember how cosey it was when we were tiny babies, all curled up in a single bud. We were so happy then, all together…’
‘Yes, and when we started to develop, we met quite a few interesting characters. Do you remember the monarch butterfly that tickled you until you almost fell off laughing? And those nasty earwigs trying to chew holes in us. I just wish those days had lasted a bit longer,’ said the first petal staring in the distance.
They were both crying now. The haughty petal finally said: ‘Enough. We are losing too much moisture with all those tears.’ She sniffed a few times, being careful not to sneeze. She had seen what happens if you sneeze too hard. Her aunt Mildred disappeared after a heavy bout of sneezing. And she never came back, that’s true.
Instead she said: ‘I have heard that some branches of our family can live up to 10 days! Someone must have messed with their genes, if you ask me. It’s not natural. I have seen pictures of Rosaline, my second cousin twice removed. She looks amazing for her age, but her husband told my uncle that her skin feels like sandpaper.’
‘Maybe that’s not such a bad deal. Look at me now! I feel the wrinkles piling up on my edges and I am shrinking by the day. I must look a sight,’ said the first petal.
‘No dear, you look fine,’ lied the second petal. ‘Distinguished I would call it. And we are lucky to still be here with all our cousins having fallen off. Let’s count our blessings.’
Then, without warning, a strong wind swept through the garden. The pink petal wanted to say how grateful she was for her neighbor’s kind words, but then she realized that she was alone. And she was ok with that. She was finally ready to fall and be free. *
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This is a wonderfully touching story.