He found it behind his shed. A tiny pale green shoot, hiding from the world. He’d been fixing his fence in a hopeful effort to keep the neighbours dog out of his garden, but as soon as he saw this miniature speck of life he had to stop his work. He felt compelled to. Immediately he scooped up the little plant, the dark, peaty earth crumbling though his fingers as the little sapling allowed itself to be taken into his grasp.
Within moments he had dropped the handful of soil, along with its weak little passenger, into a small coffee mug and allowed a few light dribbles of water from the tap to nourish the little plant. Like a father staring at his new born daughter, the young man couldn’t tear his eyes away from the green shoot. He felt it smiling weakly back at him, or was that just his imagination. He didn’t care.
His life changed that day. The little sapling grew so fast that before long it had moved from its coffee cup and into a large flower pot. It sat proudly in its new ceramic house, in the corner of the brightly lit kitchen.
Every day, as soon as he got home from work, he would feed the plant with a little water and some plant food. He’d then sit and watch it, delighting in every new leaf he saw and every inch taller it grew. Sometimes, when he was sure no one was around, he would reach out and delicately stroke his hand across a leaf. He marvelled at how strong it felt. How could such a strong plant grow from such a tiny little shoot? It seemed a miracle that it could survive at all, and yet here it was, getting stronger day by day.
It was one of these moments, when he was stroking his hand over the deep green leaves that his fingers brushed against its stiff stalk and caught on something. A small balloon of blood seeped out of his finger as he pulled his hand away. He stared at it and then at the sulking plant. He noticed, for the first time, all the sharp barbs that lined the plant’s stalk. Vicious, dangerous spikes. The plant looked unrepentant as a small drop of blood trickled from its freshly grown thorns.
He got angry then, he couldn’t help it, and he shouted at the plant. He cursed the day he found it; he cursed the day he took it in. All the frustration that the world had pushed inside him was released out in one dam breaking surge, and the waves of his anger battered against the thing he loved most.
As he calmed down, his mind catching up with words, he carefully took the plant’s pot in his arms and hugged it, letting the leaves caress his face softly. Once again delighting in his little plant. As he moved the plant away and opened his eyes, he saw something else new. He saw a small red tinted bud growing within its leaves. A small, beautiful little flower, ready to burst open and light up the world. It was then he knew that he had kept his rose long enough, now it was time for her to return to the world. Now it was time for her to go back to the soil in which he had found her.