Pruning of the rose

Lying in cold sweat and with heart racing, the fellow opened his eyes. It was Sunday, early.

The Valium had worn off.

He got up, showered and dressed. The pants were clean. Perhaps the shirt was white. One forgets. It’s been a long time.

Leaving the chill, high-rise condo where he lived alone in another land, he hobbled two blocks to the Methodist Church. He was no Methodist, but it did not matter.

He liked the sound of the sermon, posted outside: Pruning of the rose.

The pastor spoke of rose bushes and the call to prune. Cut back severely, he said, and when springtime comes, you’ll see the flowers, red and happy. It also applies to people, he added. The fellow already knew that. He was pruned. Cut bad.

Years later, he packed two bags and headed south toward the sunshine, dreaming of mariachi songs and romance.

And one morning, a cock crowed on a backstreet in Mexico. The fellow awoke, sighed, and flexed his petals. It was springtime. And at his side stirred a dark tropical orchid.

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