A Blue Rose For My Love

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posted on Feb, 13 2013 @ 10:13 PM
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This child stares back at me. I’m not really sure if his eyes see me, but he looks toward me as I look back at him. He looks to be about ten. He seems so innocent. So gentle. He holds something in his hand, but I can’t tell what it is from here. It glints in the sunlight. It appears to me to be something metal. Thin metal.
We stand in a vacant playground, outside a large, flat, burgundy and white building. Behind the child is a swing set. Its blue-rubber swings lie empty, unmoving, depressing. A wooden punt rots nearby. Slides, ropes, soccer balls. It all sits abandoned. This schoolyard inspires a feeling in me that I can’t quite describe. A strange sensation. The feeling of chasing a mirage in the Uncanny Valley. An unnerving familiarity. It occurs to me that I must have been here before, but something doesn’t seem right.
The child in front of me raises his hand – the hand with the metal object. He holds it gently between his fingertips. Still staring in my direction, he turns his other arm, outstretched, wrist facing up. He reaches out and slides the metal across his wrist. It leaves a red line. The line grows until the red drips from his arm.
I want to do something, anything, to make him stop, but I can’t move. I call out, but he doesn’t seem to hear. He just keeps staring. And he continues to cut himself, more of his young blood pouring from his wrist. I beg for him to stop. He makes another cut. And another. His blood is wasted at his feet, and my vision blurs. My head feels light, vacuous.
“Stop it!” I scream. “You never did this! I never did this!”
My words take me by surprise. I know this child. I know him. I know his thoughts, his emotions. His fantasies, and his nightmares. I know this place – this playground, this feeling of being alone.
“You’re not alone,” I tell him. “You’re not. You’ve got friends, family, people who love you. You can’t do this. I know you. You never did this. I know how much you wanted to, but you never did. Please…put the blade down.”
Finally, he appears to respond. His expression changes. His apathy disappears.
“Put it down,” I say again. “You can’t do this to yourself. You have so much still to do. You have so much of your life left. Look at me, look in my eyes. You know me. You know you can trust me.”
He doesn’t drop the metal blade, but his hand falls to his side and slips into his jeans pocket. There is something there, in his pocket, that I hadn’t noticed before. He removes it and aims it at me. My gaze fixes on the short revolver. Again, I am unable to move – this time paralyzed in fear. I no longer know what to tell him. Yes, his apathy has gone. It has been replaced by rage that disfigures his preadolescent face.
“Can you move?” he says to me. His face distorts, but his voice is calm, determined.
I do as he says, stepping aside. As I do, I see a shadow cast on the ground. It leads behind where I was standing. It leads to a second, somewhat older, child. This child is smiling. He must see the gun, yet still he grins wide, oblivious.
“Look who it is,” he says through his smile. “Why are you here? Nobody likes you. Why don’t you just go home? Go read a book or something. That is all you do, right? Pathetic little queer.”
I see the gun tremble in the younger child’s hand. I know these words are nothing new to him. I know what years of these words can do to an otherwise innocent mind. I know what I had so often wanted to do in return, just to put an end to it – what I had so often fantasized of doing.
“No one wants you here. Look around you. We don’t like you. There’s no one here for you. You’re all alone, and you always will be.”
“Shut up!”
As I say it, I realize the younger child is saying the same thing. The smiling child ignores us both.
“Or maybe not. Maybe you won’t be alone forever. Maybe you will find someone to love you. Another girl like you.”
I am unprepared for the force of the gunshot. It echoes in my head. I drop and cover my ears. I turn to see smoke linger at the end of the barrel. I turn back in time to see the other child collapse, still smiling. Then a second gunshot, and a third. A fourth blows a hole in the smiling child’s forehead.
“No!” I cry, over and over again, though my pleas are useless. “No! You can’t do this!”
I fall to my knees. My head is pounding. My ears are ringing. My skin feels tight, tense. This child, this expression of my own troubled fantasies of so many years ago – he stands over me, his face wet with tears. He drops the gun. He continues to cry. I don’t look up, but I sense his eyes on me.
“Do you forgive me?”
His voice is now shaky, uneven. Scared. Not like before. It betrays his need for approval.
“Forgive you? It’s not my place to do that.”
“Please,” he says. “Forgive me. You have to forgive me.”
He kneels next to me and wraps his arm around me.
“Please.”
I take him by the hand, and we stand together. I glance at his wrist. The cuts are gone.
“You don’t need me to forgive you,” I tell him. “It’s not up to me.”
He takes a step away from me. His hand slips from mine.
“Me either,” he says as I plunge backward to the ground.



The ground melts away, and I plunge into a vast ocean of darkness. My senses are overwhelmed by an incredible evil. The sour stench of bile. The feeling of thick liquid on my skin, covering my face. My instinct to breathe is restrained by the urge to vomit. I sink only a little ways. A couple feet at most. It might as well be a mile. The liquid slides over my body, twisting and wrapping around me. It burns as it seeps into my eyes. I gag, and succeed only in taking in a mouthful of the vile fluids. Panicking, I gasp, but there is no air. My chest burns. My arms and legs struggle, but I sink deeper. I fight to stay conscious, but I’m fading, as much from shock as from a lack of oxygen. I feel warmth. I see light. I hear a voice calling my name. It is faint, as through a wall, but I hear it. It calls to me. It tells me to have faith.
“This evil can no longer harm you.”
He grabs my arm and pulls me out. I gag and collapse, vomiting at my saviour’s feet. The burning in my chest lessens as I expel a large amount of the inhaled fluids from my lungs. I still see the light. It shines all around me. It shines all around him. He looks down at me. His face glows. His hair is white as snow. He holds out his hand.
I heave again, bringing up more thick yellow fluid. And the burning subsides. My breath returns. I take his hand, and he helps me to my feet.
“You were dead,” he says. “Now, you are alive.”
He looks out over the ocean, where I had come so close to drowning. I follow his gaze. The putrid substance is now water. Pure, calm water. My clothes are drenched – again, with water.
“You have been washed,” he says.
“What do you mean?” I ask him. “I don’t understand.”
He stares at me for a moment. In his penetrating red eyes, I see a reflection of my own. He smiles and says to me,
“It is not your place to forgive.”
Then, silence. No movement in the water. No movement in the air. Everything is quiet. Simple. Welcoming. I feel at home in this place. This place where the only light is the man before me. The one who saved me.
Something grabs his attention. He gives a slight nod as he looks over my shoulder. I don’t want to look away from him. I don’t want to, but I must. I am unsure of what to expect. If he is the light, then what could possibly await me in the darkness?
I prepare myself, and I turn.




posted on Feb, 13 2013 @ 10:13 PM
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My heart pounds. My body trembles. My eyes adjust.
In the shadows, I see a shape. A human shape. Delicate, curved. Feminine.
She steps forward and enters the light. She is in her late teens – sixteen, maybe seventeen. Natural dark blonde hair. Brown eyes. A camouflage sweater over a green Bobby Jack tee, and matching olive khakis. Her face is lightly freckled, lit by a smile that makes my heart beat faster. In one hand, she holds a blue balloon. It reads “Happy New Year” in festive print.
“I finally found you,” she says as she continues walking toward me. I sense relief in her voice.
“I’ve always been here,” I tell her.
“No. You left. I wanted you, and you left me. You couldn’t even see me. I was right there with you, Chris. Why couldn’t you see me?”
“I’m here. I see you now.”
She wraps her arms around me. Her grip is tight.
“I’m so glad you’re here,” she says, her voice muffled against my shoulder. “I love you so much.”
I hold her. I feel every breath she takes, every beat of her heart against my chest.
“I love you, too.”
Those words are so easy to say. In my arms, she seems a part of me.
Still speaking through my shoulder, she asks,
“Can you love both of us?”
I’m not sure what she means.
“Both of you?” I ask.
“Yes,” she says, moving away slightly.
She no longer holds the New Year balloon. In its place is a young child. A newborn. It sleeps, elegantly swathed in her arms.
“He’s so beautiful.”
She nods and smiles, her maternal pride obvious. His tiny lips pucker as he dreams. He has a little hair, all of it blonde. It takes no effort to give your love to a baby. Especially a sleeping baby.
“I can love you both.”
Again, I find myself in her embrace.
“I feel safe with you.”
“You are safe with me,” I tell her. “I promise. You never have to be alone again.”
She lifts her head, looking up at me. Tears well in her eyes. Gently, I cup her face in my hand. Her skin is so smooth. Her smile is so overwhelming. It makes me smile. It makes me happier than I’ve ever been. She says she feels safe. I have never felt safe with anyone before – but I feel safe with her.
“I’ve waited so long for this,” she says. “I’m so happy I’ve found you.”
In each other’s arms, our child between us, we kiss. And everything is perfect.


“I love blue roses.”
We sit by the water, in a clearing of green grass. The sun shines down on us.
“I’ve always loved them,” she says. “My father has been looking for one to give me for years. But I want you to give me one.”
“A blue rose? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a blue one.”
“They’re not natural. You have to buy them. I think they dye them.”
“I’ll get you one.”
She takes my hand and lays her head on my shoulder.
“Thank you.”
We stay silent for a long time. There are no words to enhance the moment. Nothing I can say to make us any happier. Nothing I can do to make it any more perfect.
Except, maybe, one thing.
I wait. We lie back in the grass. The sun sets behind us. The air gets cool, crisp. The moon gives just enough light to see. Is this a movie? A magnificent romance? Can a mere man direct a film of such flawless design?
“Let’s get married.”
It’s not me who says it.
“Okay.”
She caught me off-guard. I’m not sure of what else to say.
She holds me closer.
“I love you,” she says. “Nothing could ever make me leave you.”
I smile.
“I love you, too. I will always love you.”
And, below the stars, we fall asleep.


I awaken.
The moon is gone. The stars are gone. The sun has not yet risen.
Such incredible darkness.
I feel for my love. She, too, has gone.
“Nothing could ever make me leave you.”
Words from so long ago.
I sit up. I feel the grass beneath me. I hear a slight movement of water to my right. The air feels like ice, pricking at my skin. I see nothing. No one.
“Why am I alone again?”
“Don’t you know?”
I am surprised by the answer. I hear her, but I still see nothing.
“You should know by now,” her voice says. “You always end up alone.”
I call out in the direction of the voice:
“You promised. You said you’d never leave.”
Silence.
“You promised!” I say again. “How could you leave me alone?”
“You left me first.”
Her voice is cold. Her tone is distant, ethereal. Uncaring.
“I never left you!”
“You did,” she says. “You left us.”
“How can you say that?” I cry. “I was always there for you. Always. I loved you. I still love you. You and our son.”
“He is not your son.”
“He is. I accepted him.”
“He is not yours. Leave us alone.”
I get to my feet. My balance is off in the dark.
“Where are you? Tell me where you are, and I’ll come back to you.”
“No,” she says. “Stay away from us.”
“Just let me see you. Please.”
“No.”
“Please don’t leave. I’ll do anything.”
“No. There is nothing you can do.”
Turns out, she’s right. There really is nothing I can do. Nothing. Not a damn thing. She leaves, and I can’t do anything to stop her. I just stand here, powerless. Helpless. Pathetic. She turns her back, takes our child, and walks away. And I watch.
What a miserable fool.



posted on Feb, 13 2013 @ 10:14 PM
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I notice a hint of blue to my left, vivid against the black of my surroundings.
It’s a rose. A blue rose. I bend and take it in my hand.
What rose grows on its own from the ground like this?
What man allows his dreams to fall apart like this?
The ground illuminates around me. A few feet in front me, the water shimmers – tranquil and serene once again. I find myself wrapped in a brilliant light. I know its source.
He stands beside me.


We stay silent for a long time. I’m not sure of what words to speak.
The calm in the water before us is soothing. It distracts from reality. I am trying hard to get lost in its promise of serenity – its promise of interminable peace. But that peace is still at arm’s length.
“You hurt,” he says finally.
I say nothing in return. It’s not easy even to acknowledge the question. It takes some effort, but I make a slight movement. My neck stiffens, fighting my response, but I manage a discernable nod.
He continues speaking to me:
“You feel pain. Pain that you find hard to express.”
Again I nod. I don’t look at him. I’m not even sure he’s looking at me.
More silence. More quiet avoidance. I emotionally sink in the shimmering blue of the water to avoid the black in my head. Maybe I can prolong this. Maybe I will die before he can look any deeper. Maybe if I just throw myself into the water, I will drown and I won’t have to –
“You still love her, don’t you?”
I should have known he would choose the perfect time to interrupt my thoughts. I surprise myself and answer with words.
“I do.”
But I don’t stop there:
“I love her more than I ever thought I could love any flawed human being. We shared so much. We used to laugh so much. We used to smile so much. I miss her. Yes, I still love her. And I still love our son – her son. He’s so precious…he’s growing up so fast, and I’m not there. He’s not my own, but I love him like my own, and I’m not there. I can’t see the joy in his face anymore when I hug him and tell him I love him. He can’t see the joy in my face anymore when he calls me ‘daddy.’ His little hand doesn’t hold my finger anymore. My arms don’t cradle him anymore. I’m not there for any of that.”
He looks me in the eye. He can see the tears I’m holding back. He knows my love, but he also knows that there is something more than that. I can’t hide it from him. He knows it as well as I do. Probably even better than I do.
“You hate her, don’t you?”
I don’t hesitate.
“Yes. I do. I hate everything about her. And I hate that kid. Her parents – they keep bringing him around me, and I hate that they don’t seem to care what it does to me. I hate the day I first saw him, and when I first held him, when he was two months old. I hate that New Year’s night we spent together – the night I realized I loved her. I hate the room we painted together. I hate all we ever did together. I hate the sight of her. I hate the thought of her. I hate the sound of her name. I hate the Valentine’s Day I proposed to her, and I hate that she ever promised to never leave me. I hate her innocent smile. I hate the smell of her hair, and I hate the sweet taste of her lips. I hate the memory of her arms around me. Every beautiful day we spent together is now a daily nightmare that won’t leave me the hell alone.”
I have to force myself to shut up. My body trembles, my legs feel week. A warm and gentle hand takes my arm. The hand of the other arm reaches up to wipe the tears from my face. I hadn’t noticed that I was crying. I’m not even sure I would call it crying – more like the pressure contained by the emotions behind my words forcing its way through a path of least resistance.
“This is how I hurt,” I say after a while. “I smile each day, but I have this inside me all the time. And no matter how close I feel to you, the pain stays with me. It won’t go.”



posted on Feb, 13 2013 @ 10:14 PM
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The steadying hand releases my arm, though its warmth stays with me.
“Don’t come to me because you’re in pain,” he says. His words are now almost as burdened as my own. “Don’t come to me because you’re lonely. Come to me because you believe I am who I say I am. Come to me in faith. If you come to me in faith, then I will be faithful to take your pain and your loneliness and your shame from you. Christopher, I have already bore much greater pains for you. I have bore the pain of sin. I have bore the pain of thorns and nails in my flesh, and of a spear in my side. And I have bore the pain of insulting words, and of vile betrayal. And I bore this for you while you were still my enemy. You hated me when I hung on the cross. You hated me as my body was laid in the tomb. You hated me when I rose to proclaim my victory. You hated me even as I won victory for you – the same victory I won for all who hate and despise me.
“So many people feel pain, Christopher…and they turn to me for comfort. When pain causes a person to run to someone’s arms, the arms they find themselves in can turn out to be anyone’s. Or no one’s. If you turn to me in pain, you will settle for anyone who claims to be me, or anyone who claims to come in my name. When you turn to me with sincerity in faith, you will always find me. I am rest for the weary, and I am life for the ones in their graves, but first the dead and the weary must have faith.”
My reply is feeble.
“I have faith in you.”
“Do you? You have faith, yet you have so much hate and aggression. If you knew what I had done for you, there would be no room for hate in you.”
“I do know. You died for me. You saved me from sin.”
“I don’t ask for sacraments and repetitions. Do you know these things?”
“I do. I know what you have done. My love is incomparable to your own. I try to hide my hatred and the aching, the emptiness, that I feel each day, but it remains. I don’t know how to be righteous. The evil that I am capable of – none of it benefits you, yet you gave your own life to buy me back from corruption and depravity. And not only me, but the whole world. You allowed yourself to die in the flesh to be raised in the power of the Spirit, and everyone will rise by the same Spirit. There is nothing I can do, no kind of perfect I can be, to equal the victory you have won for so many, even those who now reject you. But I don’t reject you. I rely on you. I have faith in you.”
His gaze falls on the rose I still hold in my hand. The blue rose.
“Do you love me more than you love her?”
“Yes. I know that you are faithful. You know that I love you.”
He asks again:
“Do you love me?”
“Yes, yes, you know that I love you.”
A third time, he asks,
“Christopher, do you love me?”
“You know all things,” I answer him. “You know that I love you.”
“Give me the rose.”
I consider the rose in my hand. It feels so inadequate. I don’t understand why he would want it.
“Give it to me,” he says again.
I hold it out for him to take. He grabs it by the stem. He doesn’t seem to mind its thorns.
“When you were younger, you were led by the expectations of others. Even expectations you could not possibly live up to. They guided you blindly, leading you to failure.”
As he speaks, I can’t take my eyes off the rose he now holds. It has stayed so beautiful for so long. Has it really been so long? We measure time in minutes and hours, days and years. We hardly know what time is. For this man before me – the alpha and the omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end of all things – the rose must seem almost frozen in time. For him, all roses must coexist. And he accepts each one, thorns and all.
Now,” he says, offering me his free hand, “follow me.”



posted on Feb, 14 2013 @ 06:16 PM
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reply to post by CLPrime
 


Impressing!
Great prose too, Chris!

Darkness and light, past and present, realities, all is merged into one colourful and brillant story. I love the end... a nice wink to all those Christ-haters on ATS.

You expressed much feelings, both despair and love, without discrimination... I could feel the feelings you were conveying as if they were part of mine. For a reader, that's an important point. Magistral tour de force, as we would say around here.



posted on Feb, 14 2013 @ 06:32 PM
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This has been one of the better reads I've enjoyed in a while.
edit on 14-2-2013 by SLAYER69 because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 14 2013 @ 07:28 PM
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reply to post by swan001
 



You expressed much feelings, both despair and love


I certainly felt both of those while writing it. It's been a couple years, since the middle part anyway, but writing it made it feel like yesterday.



reply to post by SLAYER69
 


Enjoyed it? But...but it was supposed to make you cry



And, on a related note, happy Valentine's Day/Forever Alone Day/Thursday to both of you.



posted on Feb, 15 2013 @ 06:40 AM
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Originally posted by CLPrime
And, on a related note, happy Valentine's Day/Forever Alone Day/Thursday to both of you.

Thanks... It'll be the middle part for me... but I am never bored when I'm alone





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