I grew up believing that men would cherish women. On account of my grandfather who did. Theirs was my only guide for what marriage was supposed to look like.
I wasn’t like my mother.
I was traditional.
For many years I kept a pressed red rose in my dictionary that my first love gave to me. Where the word “LOVE” was.
It was during the second big relationship I had, that I learned to grow them myself.
Sometimes he sent them, as men do, but he always had one for me — every time he came to be with me. Often he just plucked one and he presented it.
I was in college when that ended and I had a tiny apartment with a balcony.
This is then:
I sent away for four bushes from Jackson and Perkins roses in Oregon. I planted them in pots and the whole tiny balcony was a garden.
I love to garden, and when I married and we got a house, the first thing I planted were roses.
I planted a talisman because it was my grandmother’s favorite, and climbers. Austin had developed all the English garden roses and I had some of those.
He has killed the last shreds in my heart by selling the house out from under me as he has. The last. I thought man #2 was bad. But this takes the cake.
The climbers are 20 years old.
The house and I meant nothing to him.
A baby meant nothing to him.
I have to sign more papers today.
The thought of my roses in rain today, my little house.
The trees and the birds.
It isn’t even dawn yet.
From this hideous room in his mother’s house I am writing this.
It can’t be that all men on earth are as evil as this. I don’t want to think of it like that.
At first I got so low I thought I’d just end it myself.
I’m going to get a little shack.
I survived the second man, and the first. I will survive the third who I believed in once.
I’m finished here.
As will I.
The first film I ever saw that referenced the rose was Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast. The beast loved his roses more than anything. Just like me.
The map of a woman’s heart holds many things.
There are petals, and there are thorns.
I’m not staying here, trapped.
Some men love women.
I am quite sure another is going to love me.
A lot of men are about to read my tales.
My next garden will be beautiful.
It won’t matter whether I’m in a shack or a castle.
I’ll plant my roses.