Ellen blew out the candle as a tear slipped silently down her cheek. The first wedding anniversary following William’s death had been spent in bed as tears poured from a place deep in her heart, a secret well reserved for pain. She vowed never to allow their anniversary to be desecrated like that again.
Each year since, Ellen purchased a small heart shaped cake decorated with one yellow rose and placed a candle in it. “If not a celebration at least it’s a memory.” Ellen took one bite of the cake and deposited the remainder in the trash. She washed the dish. Glancing out the window, the sunlit yard beckoned her.
“I wonder how the roses are doing.” She made a path towards them. The warmth of the sun infused her with energy equivalent to a vitamin B shot. Upon reaching her target, Ellen pressed her nose into a perfect blossom. She smiled as she remembered the squabble over the rose bushes. William had wanted yellow roses but she insisted on the champagne color.
“But darlin’, I need yellow roses in case I get myself into hot water again.” he teased.
“I like the champagne color and if you get yourself into hot water, you’ll be needing a florist”, she loaded the champagne roses into the cart.
Yellow roses had been a long standing joke between them. Once before they were married, William had made the mistake of saying something against Ellen’s parents. Ellen got angry and refused to speak to him for nearly three weeks no matter how hard he tried to set things right. Until one day, he showed up at the door with fifteen yellow roses. He assured her that he had checked and fifteen was exactly the number necessary to make the apology stick. She couldn’t help herself,he was so sincere but all she could do was laugh. She laughed until tears rolled down her cheeks. Then, it was his turn to be mad and Ellen had to chase him down the street apologizing the whole way.
From that time on, Ellen became the ‘Yellow Rose of Texas’. William would sing,
“She's the sweetest little rosebud that Texas ever knew,
her eyes are bright as diamonds, they sparkle like the dew;
you may talk about your Clementine, and sing of Rosalee,
but the yellow rose of Texas is the only girl for me.”
He especially loved to sing to her whenever her temper started to rise. Usually the two of them would end up in a fit of laughter.
“We had a good life”, Ellen said as she broke off some dead branches. Another branch was loaded with perfectly elegant champagne roses. Ellen started to clip some to take in the house when she spotted a bit of yellow picking out from underneath.
“Well, would you look at that?”
Somehow one tiny yellow rosebud had emerged, mysteriously grafted into the otherwise champagne colored rosebush. Ellen smiled as another tear slipped gently down her cheek.
“Thank you Sweetheart! I knew you wouldn’t forget our anniversary”
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