When he stopped sending flowers to my grave, I was free to rise from it.
It had been so long. So many years I I knew I would hear the bell ring every Valentines Day, every birthday and every anniversary. Three times a year the bell would ring and I would expectantly open the door to an assault of colours and a smell of flowers, that in London, were always wanting. There would be a teddy too. The teddy, though meant for company, had a look in his eyes that demonstrated his awareness of the new home that would house him. A home full of teddies each representing a chain ensuring the exclusion and exile I was being sentenced to. And there would also be chocolates. Rich, expensive chocolates, boxed in the shape of a heart – as if we had forgotten the real heart, the flesh and muscle and blood that would ache in the loneliness these very chocolates were eaten in.
These three gifts were markers of time. They were the “rites of passage” from one miserable year to the next. Confirmation that life hadn’t changed, and that I haven’t moved on. They were the ringing of the chains that bound me. They always came when we weren’t “together”. Always an apology for having chosen a life that didn’t include me in its “realness”. They were the flowers that carried the message that I, despite the physical and emotional miles, wasn’t forgotten. That I was the love, the fun, the good memories. That even though I wasn’t the “chosen one”, I was the loved one. I hated them. And I hated him.
He came in and out of my life just as quickly as the flowers arrived and withered on my window sill. I didn’t know what kept him coming, or what kept me allowing him in. Till the last time I accepted his return I finally understood: it was the flowers. He bought with the price he was paying for them the coffin he had laid me in. The tomb which he was satisfied watching me laying in; lifeless, belonging to no one else, having no future. His respects paid to the life he had taken was the flowers he sent to the grave three times a year. A confirmation I was dead, and alive just in his memory. They were heavy and they weighed the lid of the coffin down. They had to stop coming so I could rise from my own grave. In desperate, bitter, passionate, hot, hot, hot tears I begged him to stop.
The first occasion came and I woke up too scared to crawl out of bed. I prayed the explosion of colours wouldn’t be flooding the joy out of my life and heart today. I prayed so hard that I would start my crawl out beyond the earth and mud that suffocated me today. I couldn’t think of anything else. I dedicated all my power just keeping the evil teddy away from my door. All my power of concentration was directed at keeping the van that came in its solemn annual duty, away. And the flowers didn’t come. When the clock struck midnight, I burst into tears! Such happy, happy tears. The same tears a blind man sheds seeing the blue of the sky for the first time. This was my chance to breath again, to live again and to love again.
Then you came into my life with the rainbows in the flowers you bought. You, the pot of gold behind them. You came to change the meaning of flowers in the rainbows that before you, used to appear in monochrome, changing the richness and taste of chocolates, changing my understanding of love, linking love – as it always should – with happiness. And this is why, my love, when I thank you for the flowers, I am actually thanking you for bringing me back to life.