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A Girl Named Rosette

Updated on February 18, 2010

It was the rose that stood single in that glass carafe on the white table, so fragile, yet the pride of the room. Its fragrance, mildly sweet, had the potential to distract a sensitive soul. With sunlight coming in through the door, the shadows of this golden flower were barely visible against the wall.

She had such dreams of the unremarkable, she wanted a thing to be appreciated for its reasons, she wanted them to understand. To not explain, this was her deepest wish. In a forest with many trees, she wanted to be seen for her own sake – knowing that if only they saw, appreciating her uniqueness, she’d come back to return the favor thousand-fold.

This was the morning after Graham had gone to war. The silence of the room was almost unbearable. In her head, she could hear the helicopters flying, wanted to go insane for her brother’s sake. But she had this hymen, a protective layer inside her head that would not permit her to lose her sanity, to be deprived of her senses, so she enjoyed the sweet smell of a rose while knowing that her brother was going to war. She had always been aspiring for solidarity with those who suffered, those who lay down, but her heritage never for one moment permitted her to join them in misery. Her role was to describe, to interpret, to share with others the misery that she personally could not feel.

Ten minutes after eleven, someone rang the door bell. She would have loved to hide inside her own house, but decency bade her to respond. Outside the door stood two uniformed police officers, a man and a woman. “We have received this telegram,” the woman said gently, handing Rosette a white envelope. 

Rosette felt her heart sink, her knees weakening under her own weight. For an instant, she knew that Graham’s chopper must have crashed above the fields of Northern Afghanistan, yet in the back of her mind, she could not forget about the golden rose, its wonderful scent. If he was dead, she wanted to join him for as many reasons as there were rotor blades on a helicopter. If he was alive, she would leave behind this safe house with its cleanliness and sweet smells, drop everything, and chase after him. “Take me in your arms dear brother,” she would cry as she ran down the street.

Unable to open the telegram, she stood paralyzed on her own doorstep for what felt like an eternity of indecision. Maybe it lasted merely a moment, but a long one, because the male officer gently took her by the arm. “You need not fear to read this,” he said softly, “it is a telegram of joy. The war is over, and your brother couldn’t wait to send you his love.”


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