The sun shone down on five year old Maribella as she skipped along her parents’ garden, admiring the array of colors that surrounded her.
In the middle of the garden, decidedly her favorite place in the world, the roses seemed to gather around and welcome her. Once a month, she helped her dad pick out these roses for her mom. Her parents’ love, fresh and genuine, seemed to be renewed with every bright red rose her father gave to her mother paired with a gentle kiss. The gesture, both simple and true, would follow Maribella as the years passed on.
She couldn’t wait until she would receive her own rose when she was old enough. She could already feel the tears of joy that would ensue when the boy of her dreams would grant her the same special gift. A soft pink spread across her cheeks at the thought of it.
High school appeared out of nowhere along with Valentine’s Day. The school sold roses to be sent to the rooms of the receivers. Excitement filled Maribella, as she already imagined herself receiving a rose from a secret admirer. Maribella sat in class, nervously pretending to do her work, as a student council rep handed out the roses. She heard the door close and looked up. The rep was gone without so much as thinking her name and her heart broke. She could feel the tears collecting in her eyes as she tried to hide her blotchy face.
All of her friends received a rose except for her. She felt horrible that they had to tone down their excitement to make her feel better. It was the same the following years in tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade. She would have the same amount of hope and the same broken heart every year. Her father passed away two weeks before graduation and her mother was too ill to attend the event. Over the years Maribella had more broken hearted moments than whole and she started to forget what it was that love meant to her. She received no flower to call her own.
Maribella fell long and hard for Luke, the boy in her university creative writing class and he felt the same way from the moment he laid eyes on her. She still wasn’t sure about love but that didn’t stop her from spending Saturday nights cuddled up in Luke’s favorite flannel, watching Netflix. As much as she wanted to believe Luke was perfect and as much as she wanted to love him, he wasn’t what she wanted. She thought she was selfish for the longest time until her not so perfect boy was spotted carrying a single rose. And it wasn’t for Maribella.
Five year’s later, University in her wake, she woke up to a nervous well-dressed man standing beside her. She caught sight of a bright red rose in his hands that matched the colour of his cheeks. Tears trickled down on her cheeks. Daniel, her boyfriend of two years, took her in his arms. Dan’s rose mirrored her father’s rose, filled with love and imperfection.
In that moment she knew she wasn’t looking for a rose, she was looking for a love that was as simple and yet complex as nature itself.