This my entry for this week's Theme Thursday on "yellow."
The Perfect Yellow Rose
The doorbell rang, and she went to open it. It was her birthday, so she wasn’t surprised to see the Roadway Express man standing on the stoop holding a package. She signed for it, and laid it on the hall table. She’d open it later. She was in no mood now. It had only been a few weeks since Mike’s memorial service, and it was hard to be enthusiastic about anything, even a birthday gift.
She and Mike had been inseparable, until Uncle Sam managed to separate them by sending him to Vietnam. Their mothers were college roommates, and had ended up living next door to each other. She and Mike had been friends their whole lives, almost since they were born, two months apart. They’d shared a playpen, a skate key, afternoons watching Howdy Doody, and the chicken pox . They’d ridden their bikes together, played hide and seek in the dusk, wrestled, and occasionally given each other a black eye. They’d seen each other though swimming lessons and driving lessons, boyfriends and girlfriends, all the angst and joys of growing up. He was her best friend.
On every birthday since they were about six years old, Mike had given her a goofy gift, the sillier and more bizarre, the better! Among other oddities, he'd given her a bullfrog, a Ch-Ch-Chia Pet and, her favorite, an alligator skull. This year’s birthday was a big one--she was turning 21--so the thought of commemorating it without some sort of gag gift from Mike was breaking her heart all over again.
That night, as she was leaving to meet her parents for a birthday dinner, she noticed the box sitting on the table by the door, and decided to open it. Inside the outer packaging, she found another long thin box. She unwrapped it and opened the tissue paper inside. Inside was a beautiful yellow rose, kept fresh by a little vial of water pressed onto its stem. She poked around in the tissue paper, but she couldn’t find a card.
She was running late, so she decided she’d look again later, and left to go to the restaurant.
“Here’s to the birthday girl!” Dad said, raising his wine glass. “We love you, Baby.”
And then she remembered. On her sixteenth birthday, an eager would-be boyfriend had overwhelmed her with two dozen red roses. When Mike had teased her about it unmercifully, she’d said to him, “That’s just so pretentious. I don’t even like red roses, and really? Two dozen? If a guy really loved me, he’d give me one perfect yellow rose.”