I actually don't know much about flowers but for some reason I felt the need to write a story like this anyway.

Single Wish Flower

The graveyard had been located on that hill since the time of the earliest settlers in the county and it seemed to overshadow the town below. It was almost as if someone had wanted to remind the people of the inevitable coming of death.

In spite of this, most people ignored it unless they needed to visit a grave or tomb of a loved one. Today, though, the graveyard had a single visitor named Marcus Bonner.

Marcus was a man of about 30 years with stringy, brown hair that seemed to go everywhere at once. The people who saw him said that he looked perpetually tired and they usually attributed this to the stress of work or the shift he did work which was in fact, "graveyard shift"

Marcus had another reason for being tired though as this was the 200th time he had been to this graveyard to visit his mother's grave and replace the flowers there. He had climbed that hill so much in the past year that he always went home with his legs aching along with the rest of his body. This was not the worst of his worries.

Every day he had come to her grave site, he found the flowers had died. At first, he thought that perhaps someone had come by and taken his flowers away and put the dead ones in their place but, when it kept happening over and over again, he knew it could not have been something like that.

It felt like it was a prank, but Marcus didn't know anyone who would go to all this trouble just to prank him with dead flowers on his mother's grave. No.

This was a prank played by the universe itself or .. something from his mother. A prank that was being pulled on him by his mother. "That's an odd notion", he thought to himself. Perhaps it was more likely that his mother was still vying for his attention, nagging at him continually as she did during the final years of his life. Now, she was doing it even in death.

He had to do something.

It was getting expensive, getting flowers almost every day for most of the year to put on her grave, and if he wasn't too careful, he wouldn't make rent.

So one day, he was in town with the intent of purchasing more flowers for her grave when he happened upon a flower stand that had just recently been set up in town. The vendor was a young, African American woman with long hair that had been braided into a single strand that went down her back. Marcus stared at her in surprise. She smiled at him as she asked him, "looking for some flowers, hon?"

Marcus nodded his head as he continued to gape at her without saying a word. He felt himself move slowly towards her as if his feet had a will of their own apart from him.

She continued the conversation with him. "So what's the occasion? You know I got everything you need!"

He chuckled lightly. "That would be nice!". He shook his head while looking down at the ground. "I have bought flowers almost every day over the past year and for some reason, they all die within a day. I go up the hill, " pointing towards the graveyard, "and I put some flowers in the vase on her grave and the very next day, they're dead. "

He shook his head.

"Sometimes, I think I must be cursed. I tried to do what she asked of me, always and every time, she complained about it and told me that she may as well have done it herself!". He leaned against a pole nearby, his lips parting slightly and quivering. "And now,...... even in death, she calls me back with more complaints.".

The woman approached him slowly and touched his shoulder tentatively, and then embraced him. She could feel the great sobs from as his chest and stomach tightened.

After a few minutes, Marcus released her from the embrace and saw that her face too was wet.

"I'm sorry, ". He began. " You're a complete stranger and...."

"It's okay. In the flower business, death often pays a visit as a sort of reminder. ". She took a deep breath and let it out, and wiped her eyes.

He shook his head again and started speaking again, rapidly. "Thank you! I don't know how long I have been keeping all of this bottled up. It's good to...sort of talk it out, you know?"

She leaned back against the cart and looked at him and nodded her head.

"Well," she declared, turning around towards her cart. "I might have something for you." She reached over the side of the cart and retrieved what Marcus thought was the most beautiful flower in the whole town. It was so vibrant that its light obscured the entire cart.

"What is it?"

" This one is rare. It's called the Single Wish Flower and it's only found once a generation in the mountains of Northern China. Some say that it was first found by a lost traveler and the flower helped him find his way back home. When he got home, he told his family the story of this mystical flower but the flower itself had vanished.

His family believed his story non the less because he had been gone for far longer than expected and had been presumed dead."

"Wow! That's some story for a flower!". He continued to gaze at the flower, his eyes wide, taking in all of its brilliance.

She laughed lightly and said "Yeah, but sometimes you can say a lot just with flowers." She walked around to the edge of the cart and waved her hand towards her display. " The red rose of passionate love, the pink carnation meaning, 'I'll never forget you, ' the white lily of purity or of heaven the butterfly weed which means 'letting go.. I could go on and on. As I said, flowers got their own language. This one, The Single Wish Flower, helps the traveling ones find their way. "

Mark would have loved to let her continue her talk about flowers or anything else she wanted to say, but she had stopped talking and was smiling at him again. He felt that he could live the rest of the day just on her smile alone.

He reached into his back pocket for his wallet to purchase the flower, but the seller said "Don't. This flower is meant for you today.

She smiled at him and approached him again giving him a small kiss on his cheek. "May this flower help you find your way home, Traveler!"

He stared at her again feeling the warmth of that kiss fill his entire being. He managed to stammer the word "thank you" to her before he headed back in the direction of the graveyard.

He briefly stopped and turned to her again and said "I mean it. Thank you! Thank you for everything!" She smiled at him again while she tended to the other flowers in her cart. She didn't say anything but to Mark, that was okay. Her smile was enough.

Eventually Mark made it to his mother's grave and when he got there there was already a huge bouquet of flowers that all looked as if they had been freshly picked. Some of them were white Lilies and others were butterfly weeds.

" The flowers that mean 'letting go'. " he said to himself. He stared back in his hand but the Single Wish Flower was already gone. He smiled to himself as he walked out of the graveyard.

March 27, 2023 13:13

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