Turtle Lake and Details © Photographer Azra Bihorac

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July 12, 2017

They fall to the floor one petal after another, never hesitating to embrace their everlasting death. Roses have an eternal beauty that their very essence tends to express. How can a being surrounded by a prison of spears grow so fearlessly? Lucky them though, because they never see it coming -- their death, that is. And when Doomsday comes, they quickly arrive on my doorstep at 5pm every Thursday in various hues, sometimes with complimentary beauties whose names can’t compare. What’s a lily when you can have a rose? I can smell their arrival meeting me at the door every evening, grabbing ahold of my senses with their silk hands. The aroma of these flowers is incomparable. Their sweet smell fills the air with every breath I inhale. But it’s been seven days, and now they have fallen terrifically to their death, holding luminous colors, and instead of silk they feel like Egyptian cotton.


I stare at the plate across the room, waiting. Dinner has been done for over an hour, and normally I wash the dishes before his arrival, but the anticipation I could no longer withstand. It felt like the first time you invite a guy over, and you throw on your Sunday’s best to impress him. The shrimp gumbo fills the air, and with the crawfish steaming in the crockpot, I have almost fallen victim to the cry of my appetite. There’s no greater smell than Cajun seafood; it’s a New Orleans favorite, and with my family beignet recipe he will be lost in euphoria -- whenever he arrives.


The sun is on the verge of setting, and those roses normally arrive at 5pm. My home is in immaculate shape, stripped from a West Elm catalogue, and I know he loves surprises so I grabbed him his favorite cheesecake down from Decatur Street. I want him to enjoy it, especially today because he forgot to come last time I purchased it. No problem though, he came eventually -- well, three days later -- and he brought roses. He always brings roses when he comes, and on the days he cannot, they’re on my doorstep with a beautiful apology note. He says sorry a lot, and I value that in him; it’s very thoughtful of a man.


The live jazz band fills the air with their eclectic sound. I begin to fantasize about our wedding and how the sax will guide me down the altar with every note. I swear, he reminds me of the saxophone, you know. His voice is as smooth as dark maple with skin to match. He keeps his hair low, and he’s always dressed in suit attire. He’s a dream my mom treasured, God rest her soul. My mother valued a black man that had his shit together, more than having her own life in order.


I don’t know much about him though, besides those wondrous roses he never fails to deliver. They’re making a pool on the floor now, reminding me of how he used to spread them all over his luxurious French Quarter condo. A girl like me had no business enjoying such luxuries anyhow. So as I sit and stare at their everlasting death, the petals fall with grace, fearlessly. They reflect our entire relationship -- well, our situationship. Time passes quickly, and so does the life of those roses, but even on their deathbed they lie there in beauty.


In mid thought I hear a rapping on the door, and I’ve conditioned myself to the sound because I run to the door in pure excitement, ready to forgive him, to heal him, to kiss him. I am flushed with overwhelming adrenaline, and I begin to scatter like roaches when lights come on. I sweep the dead roses in a visible pile so that he can see his neglect, so that he can easily fix it this time. I realize that I make it easier for him, his wrong doing that is. He’s worth it. With each step the sweat under my arms thickens, and my hands begin to shake, and I finally make it to the door.


As I grab the knob, the sound of the band disappears, time becomes nonexistent, and the troubles of our short lived relationship drift to hiding, and all I can feel is the sensation of relief. And as the door opens, and the muggy Louisiana air hits my face, I see that it was only the screen door being knocked open and close from the summer air.

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