Yellow Roses on Valentine's DaybySuperHeroRalph©
This is a Valentine's Day contest story. Please vote.
A loving husband buys his beautiful wife yellow roses every year for Valentine's Day.
I gave my wife, Helen, flowers lots of times but I only gave her roses on Valentine's Day, a tradition we started from our first Valentine's Day together. Our wedding anniversary, roses signified that Valentine's Day was our most special day. Roses were her favorite flowers and a yellow rose was her favorite rose.
Different from the red rose that signified love and romance, the yellow rose signified warmth and friendship. Definitely, especially as the years passed with my bad back and my wife's bum hip, we had grown to be more best friends and close companions than we were sexy lovers, that's for sure. It's been so long since we had sex that I can't remember when it was last that we were sexually intimate. Although there was a time, long ago, when we had sex like bunnies. Our five children are testimony to that.
It really didn't matter which color roses I bought her, she was always so happy and appreciative that I remembered her on our special day with roses. Yet, after a while, she made such a fuss over getting yellow roses, and seemed a bit disappointed when I bought her red or white roses, that yellow was the only color rose I bought her. In the excitement she showed receiving her beautiful bouquet of yellow roses, it appeared that the yellow rose was the key to her heart and the way for me to get lucky that night. Not always being the fool that I sometimes am, on Valentine's Day, without fail, I bought her yellow roses.
Magically, even if it had been a while, since being so romantically inclined, erotically aroused, and sexually intimate, with her bouquet of yellow roses prominently displayed on the nightstand in front of the window to capture the light during a bright sunny day, we'd have sex that night. My personal motivation, looking forward to having sex with my wife on Valentine's Day night, never caused me to forget to buy her yellow roses that morning. Besides, how could I forget her? I couldn't disappoint her.
No matter what was on my mind that day, I'd scour the neighborhood going from florists to florist searching to find yellow roses. I suppose I could have ordered them, but that would have spoiled my fun adventure in searching for the best bouquet of yellow roses. I needed to see them first, before I bought them.
Not every florist carried yellow roses. With the younger women feeling that red was the color rose for an older woman and white roses used more to dedicate things, remember souls, and to denote innocence and purity, yellow had become a popular color, that is until the hybrid roses appeared in every color under the sun. Nonetheless, yellow was the color that the florists sold out of quickly. Now with all the different color hybrids in their inventories of flowers, the florists tried selling me a different color, orange, pink, or lavender. Yet, I knew that if I wanted to have hot sex that night with my wife, even though some of the other colors were equally as beautiful, no other color roses would do, only yellow.
Yellow roses were her favorite color roses. She loved them. To her, the yellow rose was a symbol of our love. Valentine's Day was the day we were married in 1967. With the altar filled with yellow roses, her corsage and bouquet made from yellow roses that matched her yellow hair and that went so well with her pearls and her ivory, laced, wedding gown, and all the maids and ushers in attendance, including me and my best man, wearing yellow roses, we looked like participants on a float in the Rose Bowl Parade coming down the aisle.
Helen was my rose, a real American beauty. Ten years before the program was even aired, she looked like Jaclyn Smith, one of Charlie's Angels, but with blonde hair. Maybe more correctly, being that my Helen is older, I should write, Jaclyn Smith looked like Helen, but with dark hair.
Married for more than 40-years, I don't know what I'd do without my Helen. I'd be lost. She's my best friend. There's no one else like her in the world. Without her there beside me, I'd have no one to talk to, joke and laugh with, and tease. She has a good sense of humor and gives back her quick wit, as much as she receives my good natured ribbing.
I've been teasing her all my life and I love it when I make her laugh. It wouldn't be the same watching all of my favorite television programs alone without her sitting there beside me on the couch. As if still dating, as if we're still teenagers babysitting, while hoping to steal a kiss, sometimes we hold hands and other times we sit there with my arm around her with her snuggling up against me.
Lost and lonely, my life would be so tragically empty and meaningless should anything happen to her and I was suddenly alone with my bad self. I couldn't bear to live the remainder of my life without her. I'd just want to die. Rather something happen to me than to her, I'd give my life for her.
I'm forgetful sometimes and she's always reminding me where I put things. She knows everything about me. My personal walking encyclopedia, she's my history of all the dates, places, and times of my past. She's my permanent record of all of our experiences together. A memory jogger, she remembers all the names of all our friends, when I don't and no longer can. Just as someone would prompt the President of the United States, the name of the person walking towards him, she'd do the same for me or she'd say their name out loud, when greeting them, so that I'd remember who they were.
"Michael, how are you?"
I can't tell you the number of times she saved me from being embarrassed. Some people wouldn't understand and would take it personally, if I didn't remember them by their name. They'd think that I was being rude, that they were forgettable enough for me not to remember them, or that I didn't like them. They'd take my not remembering them as a personal affront to who they are as a friend, relative, or acquaintance to me. They wouldn't realize that it was my physical disability with progressing dementia for not remembering them. They'd think it was their fault for being forgettable and slighted and not mine.
Names are the hardest for me to remember. Sometimes, I hate to admit it, but I forget the names of my grandchildren. Not remembering the names of my grandchildren is most disturbing to me, but there's so many of them. Between my five children there's seventeen or eighteen grandchildren, I don't remember which and when they're in the house together at a birthday party or a barbeque with all of them running around in and out and looking so much alike, I can't tell one from the other.
"Who are you? What's your name? Who's your Daddy?"
"Oh, Grandpa, you're such a tease. I'm Joey and my Dad is Anthony, your son."
"I knew that," I'd say rubbing his head, patting his ass, and sending him on his way, while knowing that I didn't know that and, even that I now know that, I'll soon forget it.
If they had numbers on their foreheads, I'd have a better chance of remembering which of my children had them and what their names are. Such as 1-A would be my son, Anthony's first born, John, since he's the oldest, and 2-B would be my daughter Emily's second child, Christine, and so on. With the numbering system as my numerical guide, very helpful to me to finally know who was who, I no longer felt bad about not remembering their names, when I had their numbers to help me to remember.
Only, my wife didn't understand and my children were mad at me, when, one day, I was having such a hard time remembering who was who, I wrote my grandchildren's identification numbers on their foreheads with magic maker. I don't know why they all made such a big fuss. The ink wasn't indelible and could easily be erased with some soap and warm water.
At the time, I thought it was a good idea and my grandkids liked it enough. They all thought it was a game they were playing with grandpa and they liked the personal and loving attention I gave them by giving them their own personal identification numbers written on their foreheads. It made them feel special having their numbers on their foreheads, at least I thought it did, except for my number four child, Maureen's son, Tom, 4-F. With his Dad in the military, knowing what it meant and taking it the wrong way, he didn't like that 4-F designation so much.
"Mom, grandpa wrote on me with magic marker. Look, I'm 3-C," said Julie my third child, George's daughter.
It's bad enough to forget names, dates, and places, but it's hurtful when my children talk about me, as if I'm not even in the room.
"Mom, you need to get Dad some help," said my number one child, my son, Anthony. "Put him in one of those nursing homes that specializes in the care that he--"
"I can hear and understand you. Hello? I'm right here in the room. Just because I forget things doesn't mean I'm an idiot."
Sorry Dad. I get a lot of that lately. Sorry Dad. I am a sorry Dad and a pitiful grandfather for not being able to remember my children and my grandchildren's names. What the Hell is wrong with me? Some days I know them and other days I don't. Some days they all look like strangers to me, even Helen. I have my good days and my bad days. Yet, now knowing enough when I'm having a bad day, I just smile and nod my head, acting as if I know who everyone is, while hoping to remember or waiting for someone to call them by name.
Sometimes I feel trapped inside of myself, as if the window to the outside world that has been slowly closing has finally slammed down and been nailed shut. Shut in and unable to open the window to the world outside my head with my family all strangers to me, I'm inside looking out. Even though I try to open the window by trying to remember what it is they are all so desperate for me to remember, I can't.
It doesn't help when they talk louder, show me old pictures of me standing with them, and yell at me. I'm not deaf or stupid. I just can't remember who the Hell they all are. Sometimes, I don't even recognize myself in the pictures.
"Okay, I think I remember you now, but who's that guy with you in the photo?"
"That's you, Dad."
"Sorry. Sorry. Sorry, but who are you again? I'm tired of saying sorry, when it's not my fault that I can't remember them. Sometimes, even when they tell me who they are, I still don't remember who they are. I just smile, as if I recognize them, when I just wish they'd all go away and leave me the Hell alone."
The movie that is my life still continues to play in my mind but, with the characters and the settings that constantly keep changing, their names don't go with the faces. None of them are at all familiar. Am I losing my mind?
I fear the time when the projector will just turn off and, having no more story to tell, to view, and to remember, I'll just sit there silently, while waiting to die with all these same strangers continuing to talk at me, as if they know me and as if I should know them, but I don't. All they do is to make me feel bad and confused. I feel sad that I don't remember them, when I should.
Sometimes they make me afraid in the way they just walk in my house, until Helen tells me that it's okay; it's just one of my children. She'll say their name to help me remember but their name and their face doesn't evoke a memory. Not remembering makes me so sad. I should know them. If Helen says they are my children, I believe her, but I just don't remember them.
Maybe they are the crazy ones and not me. Definitely by the way they act around me, they are so rude. Sometimes, I just don't know who they all are. No one wants to be confused and, one day, after having lived such a full life, I fear being in a vegetative state. I fear becoming a vegetable, a carrot, celery, or a broccoli may be my reality. I don't even like broccoli.
What was it that caused this? Was it hereditary or something I ate or didn't eat? Was it all the drinking I did and/or the smoking, too? Was it that one time, okay a few times that I experimented with drugs, but it was the '60's, everyone was doing drugs? Was it the pills that I popped more than forty years ago that fried my brain now?
I'm just glad that Helen is here to help me through this, as she helped me through everything else, my drinking and my philandering. Why she's still with me, after all that I put her through is beyond me. I'm just glad that she is. What would I do without her? Alone with my bad self, with the light of my life dimming before extinguishing, not remembering anything or anyone, I'd just wither away and die, that's what I'd do.
Helen says I'm getting Alzheimer's disease, but I don't want to believe that. With still no cure, it upsets me to think that I'm getting that terrible disease. I wouldn't want to continue living if my memory was just erased. I'm just forgetful is all.
Just because I forget to take my medication, lose my car keys, get lost on my way home, forget what I even went out for, where I went, and sometimes forget to tie my shoes or zipper my fly doesn't mean that I have Alzheimer's disease. Just like Albert Einstein, I just have more important things on my mind is all. Only, if I could remember what they were, I'd do them, so that I wouldn't constantly remember that I still haven't done them and need to do them.
It's just old age is all. It's tough getting old, if only I could remember how old I am. I can't believe I don't even know that. I just don't remember. Helen told me more than once how old I am, but I forget. I asked her how old she was and, knowing that I wouldn't remember, I think she lied to me and made herself younger, but I forgot what she said. Judging by how I look in the mirror, in the same way my Dad did, when he was old, I'm old.
I've been hearing voices lately, but that's okay. It's Helen's voice that I hear, her voice is the only voice that I hear. She's in my head. Most times, I still know who she is. I'd never completely forget her. At least, I hope I'll always remember her.
So monumental in my life, the only woman I ever loved, my biggest fear is not remembering who she was. She's still here with me. I know she is. I can feel her. I can sense her. Sometimes I smell her perfume and I know she's in the house somewhere. I just have to think about her and she comes. I just have to say her name and she responds.
It's so weird when that happens. Kinetically connected, my soul mate, it's as if she never left. Sometimes I feel her so much and can hear her so clearly that it really is, as if she never left. Being able to feel her, sense her, and hear her in my head is a real blessing. Thank God for that because her voice helps me through my day.
I've talked to other men at the park and they told me that the spirit of their loved ones linger the first year, after they die. Every month that passes they get more distant, until "poof", one day, they're gone forever, never to return. They made me sad, when they told me that and I went home and cried. Luckily for me, Helen was there to help make me understand that she wouldn't always be there for me.
I hope that day never comes and that day never happens when Helen just disappears forever. I wouldn't want her to disappear forever. She's my memory. What would I do without her? It's bad enough that she's dead but for her spirit to be gone, too, and never to hear her voice again telling me what to do or not to do and giving me the names of this one and of that one, while jogging my memory with her whispered references, is just too much to bear.
I don't want to be alone. I don't want to live without her. Now, I'm afraid, one day, when she's finally no longer here to remind me, my mind may go, too. Then, what? As if I'm dead, too, they'll be nothing left of me, of her, and of us, just vast emptiness.
Surrounded by strangers, my children, no doubt, will put me some place where they won't have to deal with me. I can't blame them. Even though I was there for them when they were younger, I was a drunk and wasn't there for them later, when they really needed me to be their father, their dad, and their friend, instead of just their daddy. It was easier for me to be their daddy, when they were just kids, than it was to be their father, as they grew older. All I had to do was to buy them a toy, give them a hug and a kiss, and tell them that I loved them.
Later, when they started having the same life issues that I couldn't handle without a drink, I wasn't up for all that responsibility of helping someone else, when I couldn't even help myself. Helen was. As she was always there for me, Helen was there for them, too. Always, it was Helen. Helen took care of everything and now that she's gone, there's no one to take care of me. The reality hit me long ago that I could never take care of myself. Now what? Now what do I do?
My friend, Walter, told me that not only could he hear his wife's voice but also she used to blow on the back of his neck, while he was sitting in his recliner reading the newspaper. He said his wife was always teasing him like that, especially when they were first married, so that he'd get up out of his chair, tickle her, and kiss her. He said if she could have just picked the one thing to let him know that she was there in the room with him, it would be that, her blowing on his neck. He said, at first, he thought it was a draft from the window, but it wasn't. It was her.
He said every night he looked forward to feeling her blow on his neck. It was comforting to know that she was there in the room with him and he'd talk to her about what was happening in his life, as if she was still there and still alive. Then, one night, she didn't blow on his neck. One night she didn't return and was gone forever. He called for her, but she didn't come. He talked to her, but she didn't answer. He never heard her voice in his head again. He cried, as if she had just died all over again.
I tried thinking about what I'd do to someone to let them know that I was still there, after I died, but I don't know who that someone would be and what it is I'd do. Maybe the sound of opening a beer would make someone think of me. I don't know. I don't remember.
I know I have children, but they seem distant to me and grow more distant every day. I know it's not them, it's me. I just forget who they are. Even when they tell me their names, it's meaningless. If I had Helen still here to help me, filling in the dates and places, refreshing my memory with hers, I'd know. I miss her. I really miss her.
"Yes, Edward. I'm here."
Knowing that she's still here with me and hasn't left, yet, is comforting. I plan on making the most of every day, especially after what Walter told me, now that I know that she could just disappear to never return at any time. I'm just so glad that she answers me, when I call her and I can still hear her voice.
It's funny how I still remember some things. I guess some things are more unforgettable than others. With today being Valentine's Day, and our forty-fourth wedding anniversary, had she survived, I bought her yellow roses anyway. I smiled when I saw them in the window at the florist and even though she's no longer here to receive them, it made me feel better buying them for her knowing she would have been so pleased with me for remembering our special day. The sight of them made my day and immediately I thought of Helen. She would have been so very happy to have received them.
I bought them and couldn't wait to get home with them. I put them in a vase and carried them up to our bedroom and, as soon as I put them on the nightstand, the flowers moved. It was as if she was rearranging them. I couldn't believe it. She's still here and she's here with me now.