Friendship Sad Suspense


“ Roses? Red roses?  They are beautiful but…too obvious….white roses then? Or yellow roses?” Paul wondered,  he couldn’t decide. His grandmother Ida was turning eighty and he wanted to bring her a floral tribute but he was undecided about which flowers to choose. ROSES…it’s obvious to think of roses when thinking of a floral tribute to celebrate ( to pay homage to) someone, but perhaps it would have been more original to choose other flowers…Orchids perhaps? Or tulips?”

Paul found orchids too sumptuous and tulips too modest.

“ You are going to visit grandma Ida, don’t you? Do you remember that tomorrow is her birthday?” his mother had said to him, seeing him going out.

While he was on his way to the florist he met her friend Alice with whom he was secretly in love but to whom he had never dared to declare himself. As soon as he saw Alice red roses came back to his mind: that’s whom he should give them to. And he saw himself in the act of handing a red rose to Alice. “ Why don’t you give your grandmother sunflowers?” Alice suggested when she learned of the floral homage. “ If I remember correctly your grandmother is passionate about painting. They will remind her of Van Gogh’s sunflowers! Or maybe a nice bouquet of daises…Here’s: a bouquet of sunflowers and daises, because your grandmother is also an exquisitely simple person “ How could Alice know how his grandmother was if she had met her no more than twice? Paul wondered, amazed at the girl’s confidence and nonchalance.

Paul went to three florist shops before he could find the sunflowers. Alice had convinced him, they seemed to him an original and brilliant idea. But when he finally found the sunflowers he didn’t feel like buying them for his grandmother. Suddenly he saw them with their heads bowed in the setting sun and it seemed to him that giving them to his grandma Ida could have reminded her that she was old and time was running out for her. And besides, the sunflowers with their corollas open toward the sun seemed to him to represent a young life in the fullness of his luxuriance. No, they weren’t suitable for grandma Ida.

Despite the variety of flowers from which he could choose ____the flower shop was a real whirlwind of colors and scents ___Paul ended up going back to roses. But yes, daises were too shabby. And since he found pink roses cloying, white roses too severe, and blue roses too fanciful, he ended up with a bouquet of  RED ROSES….and he came back to think of Alice.

Grandmother Ida lived in the countryside. It was spring, the trees were in bloom. A wonder, a charm, a miracle the trees in bloom. As Paul walked through the countryside with the bouquet of red roses in his hands he felt a little out of place. The beautiful red roses he was carrying to his grandmother seemed to him pretentious, arrogant, and also….insincere in the face of that flowering of trees swaying in the wind.

His grandmother on the other hand was very happy to receive his floral tribute. “ Oh, the red roses! It’s been a long time since I received them. Thanks, you’re a treasure. Ah, the red roses speak of love, of passion…Do you know what I say to you, Paul?   You should have a sweetheart to give them to at your age!” Paul blushed because he couldn’t help but think of Alice. “ Do you have a girlfriend?” The grandmother asked. “ Not yet” Paul stammered. “ Ah, not yet….So it means that there is someone who makes your heart beat, doesn’t it?” “Yes, in a certain sense” Paul stammered again. “ Ah, I see you don’t want to talk about it, “ the grandmother said. Then, pointing out the window she exclaimed: “ But look! All this blooming…it’s spring, my dear boy. Life is blooming again!” She was silent for a moment. “ You know, it was spring even then, in the distant time of my great first love…God, how much time had passed!” Paul was surprised to find out only then that his grandmother’s first great-love hadn’t been his grandfather John. “We, I and Peter, that was my love’s name, were two young people of your age in love, wrapped up in each other as if there was no one else in the world, “ the grandmother told. “ It was spring and we chased each other through the meadows. I remember that the trees were in bloom. You know that trees bloom and fade in a short time. The flowering crowns of the trees seemed to dance in the wind. Even when the flower fell it seemed like the rain, a dance of petals.

Peter reminded a song about cherry blooms when they whiter. “ As a child, I wanted to heal the cherry trees/ when red of fruit I thought they were sick/ their health had abandoned them / with those snow flowers that had fallen.” For his grandmother instead, the falling petals were a dance of flowers.

“ How much we loved each other that spring which passed in a breath….” His grandmother was saying with a dreamy look. “ And we had plans….we wanted to leave on a motorcycle trip….then we would have married, we would have children….” The grandmother fell in silence.

“ Unfortunately Peter died in an accident at the end of that spring,” she said sighing. Paul remained silent, he didn’t know what to say. But perhaps his grandmother, telling him about her youthful love, wanted to tell him something important, essential. She wanted to tell him not to fantasize, not to linger, but TO LIVE because LIFE IS NOW. Blooming trees fade in a very short time, time flies and we don’t know what tomorrow has in store for us. When he left his grandmother Paul had made his decision: he would declare his love to Alice as soon as possible. There was no time to lose. He felt the urgency to declare himself. He looked for Alice, but couldn’t see her until after some time. Alice on a park bench was passionately kissing Karl, a boy of their same age. Paul ran away in fear, feeling silly and ridiculous. Alice loved another and he, lost in his dreams, hadn’t noticed anything. He felt himself dying in the midst of flowering trees, in the warmth and scents of spring.


March 27, 2023 10:39

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Roger Skrypczak
10:28 Apr 06, 2023

Who of us has not loved without being loved in return. Nice job presenting that. I was a little confused by "her" friend Alice. I think you meant, "his" friend. Its always a good idea to have another person edit your work regardless of its purpose. I loved the way Grandma is thankful for the roses, but realizes that they were not really chosen for her, so then was able to tell a story about love lost and making Paul realize that he had to let Alice know how he felt about her.


Show 0 replies
Rebecca Brothers
15:11 Mar 30, 2023

Oh, how exquisitely sad! And beautiful. The flowers are so vibrant in your story. You have used the word whiter and it should be whither. I love your response to this prompt and the unexpected ending.


Mara Masolini
06:07 Mar 31, 2023

THANK YOU REBECCA you are too good for my English


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply