This is a work of flash fiction I wrote in college, in response to a writing prompt. I usually don’t write short stories, but when I do, they tend to be like this. I’d almost call it prose-poetry, but I’ll let you decide for yourself.
Spring is here. It hits Rose like an earthquake, shaking her awake and blasting her with unexpected light. It calls her out of the quiet, cool rooms. Out into the sun, and the drizzle, and the breeze. Out into the garden. Diana’s garden.
It is very old. Once, it was cared for by a professional. Winding, careful paths, large majestic trees, intentional beds of careful brush. Bushes and trees pruned to perfection, watched over with the eye of an artist.
Rose is no artist. Most of the garden has been left to direct itself. The paths remain, but gentle weeds burrow between their rocks, making soft trails within trails. Raccoons and squirrels inspect its trees with the careful eyes of realtors. Over the stone wall, birds come to taste the garden’s delicacies. Nature comes to reclaim her land.
Rose tends it clumsily, but respectfully. She focuses on the once-pristine beds, leaving the trees and bushes to their own plans. She fills the garden with blooming light. Sunflowers, daisies, chrysanthemums. Vegetables grow right along beside the more frivolous plants, renewing each other. The days are long, and the nights magnificent. Her knees and hands hurt, but day by day, she plants, waters, prunes.
Spring. Flowers bloom and rain showers the Earth. But such things are temporal. Flowers always wilt.
In the fall, she cries over the garden. The leaves change color, green to red to yellow, finally leaving the branches naked and exposed. The animals seek shelter is less fragile lodgings. The sun glances less and less upon her children.
Rose inspects the wilting flowers. She holds the silky remnants in her hands, collecting the few perfect petals. Her treasures. She keeps them in a chest; small, delicate boxes of petals, one for each spring Diana has missed. When they are together again, Rose will lay her treasures out in welcome, and perhaps they will bring tears to Diana’s eyes, who so loved flowers.
She waits. Time slips away.