She watched from the bedroom window.
He had not noticed.
She watched as he reached for a white rose- her favorite of the varieties that flourished in her small garden.
She watched as he quickly withdrew an empty hand.
She watched as a minuscule drop of red formed in his palm. Then she watched him cautiously retrieve his prize.
Elizabeth scrambled back to bed as he returned. The white rose, freckled with dew, adorned the breakfast tray he placed before her.
That was fifty years ago- her first wedding anniversary.
Forty-six years later Samuel left her.
“Mother, are you ok?”
“Yes dear, I’m fine.” She smiled and squeezed her daughter’s hand.
“Should I call for a nurse to stay with you awhile? You look so pale.”
“I can order pizza for David and the kids from here. I know they will understand.”
“No! I will not hear of it. You have a family to take care of. They are your first responsibility. I will be fine.” Elizabeth turned away to conceal a grimace of pain.
“Before you go will you open the curtains? I want to see outside.”
Her daughter complied knowing there was nothing to see except ragged remains of a long neglected garden, now filled with weeds left colorless by an early winter. Not to mention the fact her mother could no longer focus even three feet in front of her in the best of conditions. Everything was now tinted by dusk.
“I love you mother.” Her daughter leaned in for a gentle hug and cheek kiss.
“I love you, too, so very much. You have taken such good care of me the past year.”
“That’s what daughters are for.” She smiled, kissed her mother’s forehead then fluffed the pillows. “Now let me see, you have the remote, a fresh pitcher of water, you’ve taken your meds- is there anything I’ve missed?”
“Not a thing, now go home.”
“Ok, if you insist. I’ll be back first thing in the morning.”
“Stop worrying, I can see it in you eyes.”
“Right, like you can see my eyes from there.”
“Well then I can hear it in your voice.” She laughed.
Her daughter turned to wave as she left and was pleased to see her mother still retained a sense of humor.
Elizabeth awoke with a start. She did not remember falling asleep, but she must have slept all through the night for now the room was flooded with light from the window. Though blindingly bright Elizabeth could see clearly into the garden and her heart leapt from walk to gallop in an instant.
This must be a dream or another medication induced hallucination.
Just beyond her bedroom window, which was suddenly transformed into an open doorway, her garden was alive again. Roses and flowers of incalculable assortment in vibrant colors of every imaginable hue danced and waved to her. A soothing aroma wafted on a gentle fresh breeze to where she now stood beside her bed.
In the center of the garden was Samuel, smiling ear to ear, as handsome as the day they first met. She wanted to run to him, but hesitated. If this was a dream she did not want to rush it to fruition. No, somehow Elizabeth knew this was real.
Behind her husband stood a large bush covered with roses, the purest white she had ever seen. The bush appeared to move slowly toward her. As Elizabeth watched the quivering petals became a robe fluttering in the gentle wind. Atop she could now plainly make out a man’s face, beautiful with flowing brown locks.
She watched as He extended beckoning hands.
She watched as a drop of red formed in each palm.
She ran to Him.
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