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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Expire (08/01/13)

TITLE: A Falling Flower
By Avira Daciana
08/08/13


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There’s a very distinct smell when you step into a nursing home, thick, gentle musk mixed with the painful sting of detergent. It was like that when my grandma died too, of all the things, standing beside the bed watching the light in her eyes slowly flicker out, my mother bursting into tears, my father hugging her, telling her that grandma’s with God now, and I’m just standing there watching, not understanding. Yes, of all that what I remember best is the smell.

Grandma left me two things when she went to see God, a small leather bound bible and a little tree, more of a sapling really. We planted the tree the next day, and mum read to me out of grandma’s bible, it had a verse highlighted: 'The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever' *. She said afterwards, “maybe we’re all just like flowers, beautiful but we fade away in the end.” I suppose she’s right, in a way, but then what about Heaven? Or maybe flowers go there too, maybe there are whole fields of them, trees and flowers and endless green hills filled with all the people you’ve ever loved. I find myself doing that more lately, wondering what Heaven is like, they’re all amazing, my imaginings, but I’m sure none of them are close to the real thing.

College came next, lockers and formals and worrying about your hair in front of the bathroom mirror. I found I loved sports, hated maths, adored English and didn’t have enough talent in IT to fill a teacup. I was on the athletics team, the leadership team, the music band, the school play, anything but the chess club. No way was I going there. Or maths study group, seriously? What a joke. It makes me laugh now, how I used to think. But I suppose it wasn’t funny at the time, I was so concerned about what everyone thought of me. Which made church a struggle sometimes. When I couldn’t go to Tessa’s party I thought it was the end of the world. I remember throwing grandmas bible across the room. I went and picked it up later, sitting on my bed crying. A few months and a youth camp passed, grandma’s tree was flowering and I was a solid Christian.

As a child you never think you’ll get old. Oh, you know you will, but something in you won’t believe it, you can’t see yourself in those wilting bodies, not when you’re young and fit and healthy. No, at that age you’re immortal. Then suddenly things get difficult, like your Achilles giving out over a hurdle. Like watching all your dreams leave with those great friends from college when their star was landed in a wheelchair for twelve months. The trees flowers fell off that winter, covering the ground like a little brown blanket, mum was placed in hospital with a ruptured stomach, dad was beginning to get arthritic knees.

Work started in a small office with a kind but strict little lady from our church, it was a good job, with good friends and good pay, but I was never much of an indoors person and the office began to wear on me. In the end, while I had some regrets, I was happy to wave goodbye to the little red brick building for a nice little farm and a happy husband. We moved grandmas tree to our place, had two children, a dog, and half a hundred sheep. The trees last wilting flowers seemed to find new life and it spread to a bright purple canopy over the front yard.

But time passes without realisation, grass and flowers fade and before you know you’re back in the nursing home with the sharp smell of detergent and the gentle comforts of muskiness which sticks to you. But now you’re in the bed and people are surrounding you. So many dreams, so much life, stories, memories, friends, loves they all fade away. Except God. He stayed through it all, watching me wilt and bloom through the years.

The old woman lay in the bed, next to her a little girl and a couple, the mother cries and the man tells her it’s alright, she’s with God now. And out in front of a farmhouse a tree’s flowers are falling, covering the ground in a little brown blanket. But it’s alright, because they’ll be back those flowers, brighter than ever.

*Isaiah 40:8 NIV


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Member Comments
Member Date
CD Swanson 08/10/13
Beautiful! I loved the life review allegory and the time reference throughout.

Having worked my entire career in a nursing home, there is something about the "scent" that assualts your nostrils. After awhile, I was immune to the scents.

This was poetically beautiful. It touched my heart, and the message was explosive. Nicely done.

God bless~