by Richard M. Ankers

A delicate expression of an encompassing form, she closed around him like a rose petal the night. She sampled of his nectar, and though it tasted bitter to most, found it intoxicating. 


She bloomed in the spring of their meeting. It rained that first day. She didn’t care. As though having waited for the downpour, her laughter echoed through the streets like an infection everybody wanted to catch. He was no different. He wished her to infect his every pore. 

The seasons progressed at his unlocking her secrets. The flower bud opened. Her petals stretched for the light. By the summer, when the citrine sun rose highest, and the world filled with possibilities, she had reached her peak. He sensed this, like a gardener already preparing for next year’s bulbs. 

The autumn came and went as it does, blowing in and blowing out. The leaves vanished from the trees like migrating butterflies. All became barren and bare. And, like that most transient of seasons, his love tarnished. Hers never did. 

He called her Petal more often, or rather, His Petal, as the winter whites announced the following chill. Sub-zero was now the measure of this man. Yet his arctic disposition did nothing to hide his wandering eyes, for no matter how much the man froze, his lusts burned volcanic. Ah, those springs to come, he’d sigh. 

She tended to his needs right through to the turn of the year. A smile was always upon her face. And though her mahogany curls were now streaked with silver, and her cheeks less rosy, her beauty fading by the day, she herself remained undiminished. Time for one last bloom.


«Petal?» The reverend pulled a face, as though it was the most stupid of names. Professionalism got him through the service, but he never meant a word. Not one. 

They buried her beside the snowdrops, which tinkled her a departing tune. All those tiny white petals and flower heads nodding in unison, as if they knew something that he didn’t. Her beau, lover, taskmaster — he had many names — cared little. His bed was already filled. His food still arrived at the table. 

When the spring came once again and the sun banished the cold, as the flowers pushed through the ochre earth to stretch above the emerald grass like starbursts, he remembered her. He remembered what joy she’d brought and how he failed to tend her. He recalled her sparkling eyes and flashing smile, her wit and manners, and wept the waters he’d drained her of.  

«Petal,» he said, as he stood on the balcony. «I miss you, Petal,» he moaned, as he fell. He lay upon the turf so long that nature grew across him. There he remained, though no flowers bloomed there. 


Every love lasts a lifetime, no matter how much one half of it fails. It’s just some loves are shorter-lived than others, like rose petals before they fall to the earth. 

Image by Denis Doukhan from Pixabay

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