I wanted to know more about the rose. Maybe Mippy replaced it every time it wilted and started losing its petals but as I looked at it, I somehow knew that it was the same rose I had seen since I was a little girl. I knew it, but I also knew that it couldn’t be possible.
As if Mippy was reading my thoughts, she said “I know you are wondering about my rose and you have asked how it could still be alive after all these years. I believe it has stayed with me as a symbol of the love between me and Jus. Every time a petal falls, I know it’s him, telling me that he is thinking of me, and telling me that one day, he will be returning to me.”
“But Mippy,” I said, “it’s been over fifty years.”
“Yes, but my love for him is as strong today as it was the day I said goodbye to him on the train,” she said.
Mippy smiled and put her hand over her heart as she said “true love knows no boundaries. It’s ethereal. Those of us who get to experience a great love are truly blessed and even if our physical being dies, the love never does.”
As we watched yet another petal fall, Mippy said “I long for the day when my thoughts no longer make a sound and when my heart no longer aches with every beat. I believe that will happen when Jus finally comes home. Sometimes at night, when I’ve just drifted off to sleep, I think I can feel his arms around me.”
I didn’t want to hurt Mippy’s feelings, but I said “you do know that he’s never coming home.”
Once again, Mippy acted as if she didn’t hear what I said as she picked up the petal and put it into the little pink bowl.
I told her that I needed to get back home. I had a lot of packing to do. Mippy said “oh yes, child. You’re going to college and you’re off on an adventure the likes of which you’ve never experienced. You have an opportunity that I never had, nor did your mama.”
She got up and hugged me. She said “I want you to know how very proud of you I am and I want you to know that I have loved every minute we have spent together.” She surprised me when, with a twinkle in her eye, she said “maybe one day, some fetching young man will give you a rose.”
Sometimes I wondered if Mippy had escaped into her own little make-believe world, when love was forever, no one ever went away and roses never died.
I told her that I would be back tomorrow and it was probably the last time I would see her for quite a while.
As we got to the door, we both turned and looked as another petal fell from the rose in the small glass vase.
To be continued_______________________