A Rose For Maria

(A Mother's Day Memory)
by  d.b.brisbin


Teresa had told him that tomorrow was Motherís Day, in honor of all mothers.  She and Maria were making up small corsages for the motherís who would be honored at church.

Johnny stared at the picture of his mother in itís silver frame on Murdochís desk, unaware that he was fingering the Catholic medallion, once hers, hanging around his neck. 

It had been ten years since that day, the day that had changed his life forever, the day his mother died.  For him, it was his own special brand of Motherís Day.  While that vision, and the feelings that accompanied it, would never be forgotten, other, more pleasant memories, were less strong in his mind, faded from the years that had passed.  All that remained now was an image and feelings, and occasionally the scent of her, when he was in the rose garden.

She had been beautiful, exquisitely so.  Exquisite, that was Scottís word when he saw the photograph of her. He had liked that.  Yep, his mother had the kind of beauty that left all in her wake in awe of it, male or female, young or old, rich or poor. 

While he could see why the olí man would be attracted to her, he couldnít imagine her attraction to him.  His father was attractive in his own right, big, strong, self-assured, one whose very presence commanded respect.  Murdoch was conservative and lived a serious, straight and narrow life.  There wasnít much time for play in his fatherís life.  Maybe he had been different before, but he doubted it.

His mother was completely the opposite.  She lived wild and free, like the mustangs that ran out on Black Mesa, like the roses on the trellis outside his window.  Beautiful, fun loving, and crazy,  thatís the part he kept tucked away, a photograph in his head, occasionally bringing it out, so it would not be clouded by what he, as he had aged, knew to be the truth. 

Alcohol and depression had claimed his mother somewhere in their last five years together, and alcohol and depression had contributed to her death.  She had fallen into a sad nomadic lifestyle, dragging him from one lousy town to another.  Sometimes they were with a man, sometimes they were looking for new men and a promised new life that never came. 

What did come was a violent death, which somehow had sealed his fate, but that fate, somehow had also led him to be rescued by his father.  Together, they had a lot to resolve, and together, they would each continue to fight their own one bad memory of Maria, with all the goods ones that there had been. 

He stood up, and walked over to the large dining room table where the two women were working.  When neither was looking, he palmed one of the red roses among those not yet bundled into a corsage.  He said his goodnights and climbed the stairs to his room.

There, he poured a glass of water from the decanter Teresa kept in his room, and dropped the rose into it.  He took a moment to see that the large red rose, was sitting so that its petals were properly spread across the rim of the glass, covering the opening and maximizing its elegance and scent. 

Placing it on his bedside table, he undressed and slid into bed, turning out the lamp.  He could hear the clock downstairs strike the midnight hour.  He picked up the glass, sniffed the sweet scent of the rose, and placed it back on the table, close to the edge so he could smell it from his spot in the bed. 

ďHappy Motherís Day, Mamma,Ē he whispered in the dark, ďI still love you.Ē


-------------d.b.brisbin, May 2010






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