The Final Rose

The Final Rose

A Story by Druella

The young woman must come to terms with the loss of true love.

Melanie stood in the back of the crowd as she wondered what it really was that they were saying. Nothing seemed to make sense anymore. The chairs had been filled early and there was no where else to sit; though the ground was beginning to look really good at this moment. Her hand gently reached up and tucked the stray wisps of her blonde hair back behind her ear. The talking continued.
She let her mind wander back to a well favored memory; she and her husband Christopher were still newlyweds. They lived in a very small apartment and both worked to keep themselves a float. It was on a Friday that Christopher had come home to surprise her; they would be joining friends at the beach for the entire weekend. Just watching how suddenly young he seemed at the prospect of the weekend; just that thought alone was enough to bring a smile to her face.
The weekend had been the best one of their lives; the simplistic nature of it was sheer joy. The love of abandonment from the world they had joined. It was the only true escape that they had ever shared together; and it had been one of the last. Too many other memories; darker, less enjoyable memories threatened to creep into her thoughts and she did what she could to dash them quickly. Her only hope of surviving this day, this hour, and this moment was to hold onto that simple memory.
The talking was still going on, she tried to focus. The words that they were using seemed so cold, so unlike him. Again she tried to focus on the beach trip, the sand and the surf. It had been a really good weekend for all who had joined in; the little beach house had been crammed full of people. And if only then she had known where the course of her life would take her; maybe she would have taken a different route. Maybe she would have done things differently, made the following years turn out differently.
And even with these thoughts she knew in her heart that she couldn't change anything. Nothing she could have done would have made any difference in this moment now; the only thing that would have been different was the love that would have been lost. No, lost is not the word, the love was always there. The difference would have been the experience of that love; they would have both missed out on so much if it had been ignored. That thought was more unbearable than the feeling of loss she was experiencing now.
The prayer was being said as the group of people remained silent; each lost in their own memories and thoughts. Funerals where always hard to bear; the final realization of the loss of a dearly departed loved one. And he had been loved; the crowded room proved that. She fidgeted with the ring on her left hand; for so many years this ring had claimed her existence. It has set boundaries and responsibilities that she had agreed to and never would have expected it to change; but it had.
Melanie looked up at the crowds as each in their turn approached the coffin and then left for their vehicles to follow the procession for the burial. That was going to be the hardest possible moment for her to bear; how could she stay silent as they buried the one true love of her life? The crowds began to thin and shortly it would be her last chance to see his face, to touch his skin. She slowly made her way up the isle until she reached the coffin.
It was him; there was no denying that fact. She had been there when he died, and yet this seemed so more real than that. There would be no more late night talks, or afternoon strolls in the park. No more phone calls from or dinner parties for him to play host at. She gently touched his face and then let her hand rest on his; his ring on his left hand seemed as dull as hers was; he had worn his faithfully too. Again she reached up to tuck that same stray strand of hair behind her ear as she thought about how he teased her about it.
He had always thought it was odd that she would use hair accessories to pin her hair back and yet she always tucked it back behind her ears; where it never wanted to stay. A tear escaped her eye and she quickly wiped it away and tried her best to smile down at him. "I'm trying, really I am," she said to his motionless body before she turned and joined the others out at the car.
Ignoring the conversation she looked blankly out the window as she remembered their final moments together.
"You must promise me something," he said to her.
"If I can I will promise you anything. You know how much you mean to me."
"Then promise me that you will not cry tears at my passing. All though it will be an end, I know that we will be together in time. I have never and will never regret a single moment that we have spent together; I hope you won't either," he said as his breathing became more shallow.
She had to step out of the way as the nurses came in to check on him and take what seemed to be too much of his little time left. He smiled that smile and her heart melted from the love she felt for him; how could she go on without him? When the nurses left she stepped back forward to his side; placing her hand in his.
"You haven't promised me yet," he said with a smile.
"I can only promise to try," she said as the first of many tears escaped.
"I can't ask for more than that. No regrets?"
"Only that our time was so short," she said.
"It is not quantity but the quality of the time we shared. Every memory we have can be counted, every moment can be savored and yet not a single moment can we ever share with another being as long as we live. I love you with all my heart."
"I love you too."
His final breath had been taken only moments after their final declarations. There were so many regrets; if only she had taken the opportunity to kiss him just once before he had passed. There had always been too many people coming in and out of the room there never seemed to be a right moment; and then it was too late. Gently she let her fingers trace the fullness of her lower lip; he had always said that it was made for pouting, and he loved that about her.
He was always so generous with his compliments of her. She was sure he was living with blinders on; and that was something she loved about him. The final part of the funeral finished and she continued to stand there holding onto the corner post of the canopy staring at the coffin as everyone began to flock into groups and talk. Slowly she walked towards the coffin and reached out to grab a rose from the flower display on the top of the coffin before moving away again.
She watched from the side post again as they lowered the coffin into the ground, in moments they would begin to fill the hole and that will be the final end of that. It was already too much to bear but she held the tears back the best she could. She had cried for hours after he had passed even though she had tried to keep her promise; but that was something she couldn't help. It may have not been sudden but it was final, she was alone.
She would never be able to share that that with anyone else again. Her love for him was completely unexplainable and undeniable. It was a love that by all means should never have existed, but it had. She had been privileged to experience it and that was more than she had ever deserved or been entitled to. It was not about sexual intimacy but it had been the emotional connection that had made their love so great.
The simple walks hand in hand, the ability to talk about anything and everything that made their love so binding. It had never been about satisfying some primal urge or desire; that was not what they had been about. That line did not get crossed. She lifted the rose gently towards her nose as she breathed in the scent of the fully bloomed flower. Her life would have to return to how it had been before they discovered their love for each other; she would have to resume that life, that role once more. How she could possibly do so was beyond her.
He had become such an important part of her daily routine that to imagine not calling to see how his day at work was going; or to see if he could escape for lunch in the park. The group outings would no longer be the same without his enjoyable humor and view of life. She would not be the only one who missed him, he had loved ones and friends that would forever have a void because he was gone; but no one would ever miss him like she would.
"Melanie, are you ready to go?"
"Christopher could you give me just a minute longer?" she asked as she looked up briefly into her husbands face.
"Sure, I'm going to get the car started," he said as he gently kissed her cheek.
"Thanks, I'll only be another minute," she said as she walked up towards the gravesite and looked down at the visible top of the coffin.
"I'll never regret a moment that we spent together, but I will always regret that we never kissed. Just once I would have liked to have known the pleasure of your lips on mine, but that was never meant to be. I just hope that you were right and one day we will be together again."
She gently kissed the rose before she let it fall into the hole. There was no guilt, for she did not cease to love her husband any more than Richard had ceased to love his wife; it had been that love that had driven them to follow all the rules. It was one thing to know and voice the love they had shared with each other but to cross that line would have hurt them and all the people they loved. He had been right, it would always be better this way.
The rose rested on the edge of the coffin as she said her final good-byes and rejoined her life once more.

© 2009 Druella

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Added on November 26, 2009



Kansas City, MO

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