Julia kept down the phone and adjusted the sofa cushions. The summer sun was streaming into the living room through the white honeycomb window of her duplex house. It was her seventieth birthday and her close friends and family were calling her to know how she was doing. Just five months back she had lost her husband, after battling with cancer for a long time. It was the first time in forty-five years that she was all alone on her birthday. She looked out into the garden and inevitably her eyes fell on the rose plant that had a beautiful white rose till yesterday. However, today morning when she woke up and went to the garden to water the plants, she was shocked to see it gone. She couldn’t understand who would do such a lowly thing as stealing a rose from someone’s garden. She knew that if George would have been alive, he wouldn’t have let that rose go missing. In this world, if she loved anything more after her husband, it was those white roses.
There was not a single birthday when George hadn’t gifted his beautiful wife, her favourite white roses. Along with the roses there would always be a handmade card with a lovely message for her. Those roses were not just flowers, but they were the witnesses of her entire life’s story. They were the symbol of the everlasting love that she had experienced with her husband of forty-five years. Today on her birthday, she missed the presence of them both.
She sighed at the thought of how carefully she had nurtured the rose plant, after George left for his heavenly abode. Two days ago, when the rose bud had finally blossomed, she was sure it was George’s gift for her on her birthday. But now everything was gone. She wiped the tears and turned away from the window, when the doorbell rang. She was surprised as she wasn’t expecting anyone. When she opened the door, there was nobody outside. She was about to close the door when her eyes fell on the white rose that lay on the doormat. Along with it, there was a handmade card. Her heart skipped a beat when she slowly opened the card. Tears trickled down her cheeks again as she read the message.
“To my bestie, my love, my wife,
Happy Birthday to you. I had made so many plans for your seventieth birthday, but God had
already made his own plans. I love you and will always do. Never think that you are alone,
as I’ll be by your side forever. Remember, wherever I may be, I can always see you.
Whenever you miss me, look at the white rose in the garden and know that I’m also looking at you.
Julia couldn’t believe her eyes. The handwriting was that of George’s. She couldn’t understand who had left the card and the rose at her doorstep. That entire day she thought about George, the missing white rose, and George’s writing on the card. The next day, when she was watering the rose plant, behind the brown coloured pot, she discovered a note on a small yellow paper, which read “Please check your mailbox”.
A bit surprised, she opened the mail box and found a letter inside it.
I’m sorry that yesterday morning I had plucked that beautiful white rose from your
garden. You see, during the last stages of his illness, George had visited me one day. He
gave me a card which he had made for you. He was so certain he wouldn’t make it till your
birthday, that his conviction brought tears to my eyes. It was his last wish, that I should keep
the card along with a bunch of white roses outside your door on your birthday. He was sure
that your first birthday without him would be miserable, and he wanted to make it happy for
you. But I couldn’t find a single white rose yesterday because of this lockdown. I saw from
my window, how you were staring at the rose plant when you came to water it. Please
forgive me for the misery that I had caused you. Hope the card brought a smile on your
face. Stay strong.
Next door neighbour”
Julia looked around at the windows of the adjacent houses. She hoped to have a glance of her kind neighbour, but all the windows were barren. She smiled to herself and thanked this person for keeping George’s last wish and making her birthday bearable.
Image Credit – Pixabay