“NO….no no no no no no no- c’mon, LIVE…LIVE YOU SON OF A BITCH…you can’t die, not now, C’MON”, I screamed at myself as I stood in my kitchen, by the bay windows where sunlight flooded the room. I stood there bawling my eyes out, soaked to the bone with water. I fell to my knees, I couldn’t bear to look back up and face the grim reality of my wrong-doings. This wasn’t supposed to happen, not like this. I finally collected myself, took a few deep breaths, stood up, and opened my eyes. It was dead, withered like an old man’s face, and soaked with water. Tears were streaming down my face, as I silently sobbed.
“FUCK!” I yelled, and in a burst of rage, I picked up my dead plant and smashed it on the ground. I collapsed to the ground and laid in the mudded soil from my potted plant, and held the dead plant in my hands, wallowing for hours on end.
One month earlier
“Are you ready? No peeking! Keep your eyes shut okay?...Just a few more steps…okay, open your eyes!”
I open my eyes squinting from the radiant beams of sun. I let my eyes adjust for a second until I could finally see what was sitting on the bay window – a beautiful bright red tulip.
“Surprise! Happy Birthday!” my wife exclaimed
“Oh it’s beautiful Penny!”
“I picked them myself!” she boasted,
I turned around to hug and kiss her. It’s what I actually wanted for my birthday to tell you the truth, I know it’s not every day a man asks for a red tulip for his birthday, but this was a wondrous sight.
“I know how much you wanted to start your own garden, and I thought this would be the best thing to start with! Don’t c’ha think?” Penny looked at me as if I was supposed to know the reason behind the red tulips; I tried to side step it…unsuccessfully.
“Oh…uhh yeah totally, they’re beautiful!” I said, she rolled her eyes
“What is it?” I said with a hint of laughter in my voice.
“You have the worst memory John, it’s our wedding flowers!”
“oh..OH of course they are! How lovely!” I said as if I knew all along.
She scrunched her nose, and furrowed her brow pretending to be angry at me, hugged me once more, kissed me then said, “Okay, I have to leave to pick up the rest of your present; I’ll be back later!”
She kissed me one final time, and then left to go do her errands for me, twirling towards the door in her canary yellow sundress, she looked stunning. The beams of light glowed through our kitchen windows, reflecting off her curly blonde hair, illuminating her body in a heavenly glow, she could make Venus jealous. Her bright green eyes twinkled, reminding me of how the sun shines through branches in a forest; she pushed her hair behind her ear, grabbed her keys and left through the door.
I made myself a cup of coffee and sat down at our kitchen table marveling at the red tulip. One single red tulip stood perfectly still, perfectly beautiful. I went over to the flower to give it a smell; at first a musky smell of dirt from the soil it sat, but I stayed longer, gave my nose time to actually smell the tulip. Pollen sat atop the black pistils, I gave the flower a big whiff; honey, a warm soft scent of honey, it was downright delightful. I examined the flower closely feeling its petals with my fingers, a silky texture that warmed my hand. The stem was perfectly smooth. The whole flower was without blemish. I went back to my chair and continued to sip on my coffee while I pored over the crimson red tulip. It was in full bloom, the petals spread apart in a twisting cyclone of beauty, shaped in a form of a women’s dress as if she twirled, round and round. The tulip was backlit from the sun pouring into the kitchen, it looked like a flower descended from God, it was the holiest flower I have ever seen.
I sat still, admiring this angelic flower until I finished my coffee. I went around the house doing various chores until I received a phone call from a phone number I didn’t recognize.
“Hello? Who is this?” I asked,
“Hello, is this John Hermit?” the woman on the other side of the phone had very somber, disheartening tone of voice; it made me uneasy.
“Uhh…yes it is, may I ask whose calling?”
“This is Susan from Good Shepherd Hospital, and I have unfortunate news sir. Your wife Penny has been in a car crash, we’re afraid she doesn’t have much longer. We urge you to get here as fast as possible”
I couldn’t think of what to say, my mind was numb, I couldn’t muster any words from my mouth. My eyes started swelling with tears, I managed to say “thank you”, and immediately left towards the hospital, my stomach twisted in knots, grief as sharp as knives washed over me. I started to sweat, my hands could barely stay on the steering wheel, and the sun partially blinded me as I drove along.
“DAMMIT SUN” I angrily yelled thinking the sun would obey my command, but of course it didn’t; it just sat still blinding my eyes and warming my face.
I finally arrived to the ICU. I rushed in and Susan greeted me there directing me to Penny’s room. I ran to her room and found myself standing still, paralyzed in front of her door. I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t open the door, couldn’t make myself do it. I didn’t want to believe my wife who stood perfectly fine in front of me a matter of hours ago, was about to vanish in front of my eyes.
“If you don’t go in, she’ll never know you came,” Susan whispered behind me.
I looked at her, and looked back at the door, mouth agape, tears rolling down my cheeks. From some miracle I moved my arm and extended it out to reach for the handle, it was ice cold. I stepped inside, and was hit with an eruption of sound; doctors and nurses were flying around Penny shouting various orders. I watched in silence as her heart monitor continued to slow down until it reached its monotonous beep.
“Call it,” the doctor said
The doctor turned around and looked at me, said sorry with disappointment in his eyes, and left me with my wife.
The window was cracked open; I could see the sun still peering into the room, ever so slightly. I pulled up a chair and sat beside Penny, holding her now bandaged hand in mine; silently sobbing, asking myself how this could happen. She was lifeless, limp, I didn’t know what to do so I just sat there quietly crying. I looked over to the window once more and saw her canary yellow sundress sitting on the windowsill, with only a strip of sunlight illuminating it. What once was her perfect yellow sundress was now stained in blood and wrinkled like a rag. I sat in silence, remembering the crimson red Tulip sitting in my kitchen; it was the same color that stained her yellow dress.
“No…you can’t…” were my last words,
I sat there now audibly crying, I looked back at the window and the ray of light that once illuminated her body into an angelic glow has now vanished and the room was now black.
She was gone.
I laid on the floor in my kitchen for a few minutes holding my dead tulip, what was a beautiful crimson red tulip was now a browned and ugly weed. I eventually stood up, and wiped my tears from eyes, I turned around to set the dead tulip where it once stood proudly flaunting its beautiful petals, except something was already in its place; a letter with my name “John” written across it enclosed by a heart.
I wiped my muddy, watery hands off on my shirt and careful opened the canary yellow envelope. It was my birthday card from Penny, she must have left it under the plant and forgot to tell me about it. I opened the card delicately like it might fall apart any second.
Roses are red, Violets are blue,
Tulips are pretty cool too.
So here’s a flower
I chuckled stupidly to myself, and wiped my eyes dry, looked out my kitchen window where the sun peaked through, and smiled.