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It was springtime – the air was crisp, the draught chilled, and the flowers out in full bloom. Gardens were filled with poppies, daffodils, snap dragons, and geraniums. Except for the garden at the end of a particular paved court – this garden was expertly placed in front of a large, imposing white cottage – whose windows were framed green and roof matching. Instead of conforming to the neighbourhood, the owner of this abode had decided to plant roses – red and white petals framed the garden terrace under which one man sat. Situated under the rose-covered pavilion, the man was at peace within himself - the blissful faint aroma of his roses calmed him, while the sight of the stark red against the white exterior of his house refreshed his sight. Nothing was ever the same when it came to roses; their colours were always changing, the perfume constantly fluid, and the arrangement of petals unique.


The man himself was much like a rose – delicate, perfumed, and exclusive; but he too, like a rose, was guarded. While not physically evident, the man had thorns protecting him from those who would dare to associate with him. It was a barrier set to repel possible invaders and ward off those wishing to inhabit said man. His skin was soft, body lean, hair a deep shade of burgundy, polished off with lips that could rival the colour of the roses he took so much care of. One would assume such beauty and reservation to be only found in the centrefold of glamour magazine photo-shoots that involved a scantily-clad model draped over an equally dressed man. This fantasy could not be further from the truth; the said man not even owning a magazine of the type, being all too content with his exquisite garden of roses.


He was a simple man, with his ambition in life innocent – to own his own florist shop. A place where he could relax and do the things he loved; like taking care of his roses and enjoying the visual joy of satisfaction he received from those who were lucky enough to possess those beautiful flowers. He could already imagine it – pale yellow light streaming through the windows, bouncing off crystals and reflecting colours onto the flowers, hues of bright reds and vibrant blues. It was his idea of heaven.


However, as the winter chill made its way to that court, the man withered in the cold, and eventually finished his life. In this way too, he was like a rose; beautiful and upright in the spring, but lifeless and dead in the winter. Red hair fell against the snow, lying unmoving and still on the fresh ground, the colour splayed around his head in the way that created such an illusion of a bouquet of flowers dropped on the flawless ice in a hurry. It was a fall that brought him to his death – a simple slip off the icy balcony where he had been tending his flowers. All too quick, all too painless. Joining the red of his hair was also the warm, rich wine colour of his blood, melting patterns in the snow where his final resting place was. If it wasn’t so grim, it would have been a beautiful sight to behold – it belonged somewhere as an exhibit in an art gallery, for all to see. The contrast of the red and white was stunning and minimal, something society endlessly and aimlessly wishes to achieve.


It was true, the man was like a rose. Painful, unforgiving, a symbol of death.