A rose is dying in a bottle in the corner, wilting and crumbling under the weight of time. In a couple days, it will start to crumble — crushed and defeated.
She can’t remember how she got it. It just seemed to appear one day. Maybe her roommate brought it in. That would make sense. But for some reason, she liked to think that it had just showed up, looking for a nice place to die.
She spent hours staring at it, watching the vivid red in the petals slowly darken and its wide leaves slowly shrivel. She had seen a rose die before, it was nothing new, yet she couldn’t stop staring.
Part of her wished that she had thought some deep thoughts about life and death and the universe while watching the flower, then at least the hours she spent wouldn’t have been wasted. But the truth was she didn’t think of anything at all while gazing at the rose. She just stood there, staring. Her mind blank, becoming increasingly focused on the little things, like how on petals folded against another or how, while the thorns had been bred out, there was still faint signs of where they should’ve been.
It took several days, but the rose finally died completely, collapsing in on itself in one final slow sigh. She didn’t see it happen. She had been out at the time, doing something pointless yet necessary. When she came back and found the rose in pieces on the table around the bottle, she froze and stared.
She didn’t know what was going on in her mind at the time. Should she be crying? But it’s only a rose after all. One in millions. Who cries over a lost flower? She didn’t know how long she stood there. She does remember, though, the light fading from the windows. After a while, something inside her told her to move, that it was time.
She stepped forward and began to clean, picking up the petals and leaves one by one, slowly, deliberately. Finally, once they were all in hand, she wrapped her fingers around the bottle and took everything to the trash.
Her roommate didn’t noticed the loss of the rose until days later when she asked where it went. She just turned to her roommate and shrugged before looking away.
She didn’t want to admit it but she could still feel the soft crackle of the dead rose petals on her fingertips.