Friday, November 21, 2014

Roses bushes lined the entire right side of our yard when I was a child. Wild pink roses. Delicate, soft, blooming among the wild thorns that entangled them. My mother had a remarkable green thumb, a trait she inherited from my Nonno, a Northern Italian farmer who immigrated to Canada in the 1950s searching for a better life. I always thought it was strange that my mother loved roses so much, since she was named after one. I used to wonder if she would have loved them so much, had she been named something different.

We always had a beautiful garden: flowers in the front, and vegetables in the back. What my mother valued the most, however, were the beautiful blood red roses, as large as a fist, that bloomed from the dead-looking stick she planted one spring. Every summer the roses grew, the roses bloomed, the roses were beautiful, and then winter came, and they died. For much of my childhood, though, they always came back.

After my mother passed away, the roses stopped blooming. The thorny bush that was once spotted with luscious blood-red roses, never resurrected from its corpse-like state in the ground. I remember standing in the dirt on a hot summer day next to my dad, digging up the black stick that used to produce beautiful roses, and throwing it away. The rose bushes lining the right side of our yard died too, and were removed so my dad could build an extra driveway for the run-down cars he would buy and fix up in his free-time. By the time I was a teenager, our yard was littered with car scraps and mechanical tools. There were no more flowers that bloomed in our yard.

A boy once came over to my house. I hardly knew him, and he knew me even less. I let him in only because I was sad. Entering my room, he saw the wall by my bed covered in pages of roses ripped out from an old book. He asked me why I was so obsessed with roses. I told him that I thought they were beautiful. I did not tell him that I loved them so much because they shared their name with my mother. I did not tell him that my incessant desire to cut out roses and glue them onto things is because I wish that the roses in our yard had never died. 

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