While In Italy
When I wrote the 1st draft A White Rose, this part was not in it. As I was working on revision and editing, preparing the novel to be put up on wattpad, this little chapter came to me. I didn't want to stick into the already existing novel as it didn't really fit into the way the story had been written, but at the same time it is important to the plot. After some thought, I decided to keep it separate, but upload it sort of as a prologue to the novel. It's not actually a prologue, but well, you get the point ;) Due to the fact that I wrote it only recently it is still a little rough on the edges and I will probably do a some revising in time to come. For now it is what it is and I hope you will enjoy it :)
Dedicated to Carpathia, thank you for reading, voting and supporting A Blue Rose <3
While In Italy
I walked through the lush garden, gazing with admiration on the host of different flowers and exotic plants. Signor Catalano, in whose house Elinor Greensten and I were staying, had been a world traveler in his day and had brought back his garden plants from around the world.
Elinor Greensten and myself were still in Europe, having prolonged out visit by a year already and Elinor was looking to staying all the way till winter. I didn’t mind, it was a nice break from the plantation and though I did miss my uncle and Elsie, I wasn’t exactly in a hurry to get back to all the problems I had left behind there.
I had been very shy when we had first arrived to the household of Catalano. Mainly because Elinor had kindly informed me that Grigori Catalano’s son was very young, very eligible and also very unmarried. Not at all eager to be match made with the Catalano heir I tried to spend as little time in the house as possible. When I wasn’t sightseeing, I was hiding in the garden, and it was thanks to this that I had struck up a close friendship with Bernado Abbiati and his lovely wife Maria. Bernado was the Catalano’s gardener and thekindest man I had met during my travels. In so many ways he reminded me of our gardener, Kristoffs; a happy, jolly version of Kristoffs. Bernado was always smiling and his eyes twinkled with merriment.
It was in Bernado’s garden I had my first view of a rose bush covered with blue roses. The only blue rose I had ever seen had been the one my uncle gave me for my sixteenth birthday, and so to suddenly find a whole bush of them filled me with excitement. This was the rose I identified with, something I had claimed as my own. I had begged Bernado and Signora Catalano to allow me to wear the roses in my hair when attending balls and dinner parties. It was because of this Bernado gave me the nickname ‘Rosa Blu.” He never did reveal to me how he managed to grow roses that were ‘impossible’ and ‘unnatural’, said it was his secret and he would never give it away.
This particular day I was not in the mood for roses and had wandered to the forget-me-not patch. The little blue flowers drew a sigh from my lips as thoughts and memories raced through my head.
“Ah, Signorina Rose, how wonderful to meet you in the garden” Bernado walked up to me and spoke with his thickly accented English.
“Hello Bernado, how are you this morning?” I asked.
“Couldn’t be better, Signorina, it is a beautiful morning. And what of you?”
“Oh, I’m am very good, thank you.” I walked over to a bench and sat down. “Bernado,” my voice grew very shy, “I was wondering if I could ask a favor of you.”
“My dear Signorina Rose, anything for you.” Berando, like most Italians, was very passionate.
“I have this poem,” I carefully retrieved from my pocket the old, yellow piece of paper. “And it is written in Italian, which I don’t know, but I wish to discover what the words mean. The poem is of a very delicate and private nature and though I have been in Italy for some months until now I haven’t found someone I can trust to help me translate it. But I know that I can trust you.”
“Ah, signorina Rose I am so deeply honored.” Bernado bowed low. He took the paper from my hands and carefully unfolding it, studied the words. A broad smile appeared on his face and he looked up at me, his eyes shining. “Ah, my dearest rosa blu, it is a love poem, a great love poem, yes, it is a truly bella poesia. Come, admit to old Bernado, who is this admirer who writes such passionate words.”
“Oh, it isn’t addressed to me,” I felt the heat rising to me cheeks. “This was the in the possession of my mother. I discovered it after her death, while going through her old things.”
“Ah,” he nodded sympathetically.
“What does it say?” I prodded.
Bernado seated himself next to me and held the paper so both of us could see it.
“Per Te,” he explained, “that means ‘for you’
“Per te—for you
Io vivo solo per te—I live only for you
Hai conquistare—you have conquered
Il mio cuore—my heart
La mia mente—my mind
La mia anima—my soul
Io sono tuo per sempre—I am yours forever
Ogni minute—Every minute
Ogni second—every second
Ogni giorno—every day
Il mio pensiero a te ricorre—my thoughts turn to you
Si tiene il mio—It keeps my
Ogni pensiero—every thought
Ogni battito del cuore—every heartbeat
Ogni respire—every breath
Mi perdo nel mio amore—I am lost in my love
Per te—for you”
I hadn’t counted on the poem being a love poem, and such an obvious love poem at that. Whoever wrote it was without head over heels in love. But who was he in love with? Had it really been addressed to my mother? Perhaps it was meant for someone else. Was the writer even male? There were so many questions in my head as to the origin of this little scrap of paper.
“It is a beautiful declaration of love.” Bernado stated in a satisfied voice. “I do not doubt that whoever wrote it was very much in love with your mother. Did your mother travel abroad? Did she find a lover in Italy, some man who loved her with all his heart and wrote words of love to her? Did she break his heart when she left back for America?”
“I wish I knew, but my mother never told me such details about her past. It was a pure accident I found this at all. Mother’s life was filled with mysteries, but she took them all to the grave.”
“Ah, so your mother was a blue rose too?”
“No, no she wasn’t,” I shook my head sadly, “she was a withered rose.”
“But even a withered rose once had a color.”
“That may be true, but I can assure you wasn’t blue,” I paused for a moment, “it was red…red as scarlet.”
“Red roses are my wife’s favorite flower, but mine is blue, as I assume is yours.”
“To be honest, my favorite roses are white roses.” I corrected. Sammy’s last words to me flashed through my memory. “You are the purest, whitest rose in the garden.”
“A shadow passed over your face, my Rosa Blu.” Bernado pointed out. “You know I am a very observant man, and I’ve noticed time and again how you stop and sigh in front of the forget-me-not patch. Tell me, my dearest Rose, tell old Bernado, is there some special reason why you sigh like that.” His dark brown eyes gazed deeply into mine and in a flash of a moment, I decided to tell him. Out here, far from America and the plantation and all the rules and fears that haunted me there, I felt it was safe to say that which was on my heart, that which I was afraid to tell anyone else.
“It has to do with lost love, does it not?” He guessed.
“It was a forbidden love.” I sighed. “A star crossed love. A love destroyed, a love never meant to be.”
Bernado was silent for a moment, then turned to me, his happy eyes filled with earnest. “My dearest Sarah, I beg of you to hear me out. Listen to old Bernado and heed his words. Once upon a time, long, long ago, when I was a young man, I loved a beautiful signorina. She loved me back with all her heart, but she was of very rich family, while I was the son of a servant. I wanted her to run away with me, but she was afraid and in the end married the man her father chose for her. I was heartbroken and angry, but then I told myself, ‘Bernado, you are young and good looking and there are plenty of other women out there. Do not sit and weep over the past, but find yourself another bride.’ This is exactly what I did. You see, mia Rosa Blu, the heart is a tricky thing, and when it has lost one love, the natural thing for it to do is to search another heart and love again, but this is when the mind crosses its path. Your heart tells you to find another, your mind says to remember the old and not to go forward. But this is bad for the heart, mia Rosa blu; this is bad for the heart to remain in the past. A forbidden love, a lost love, a broken love, this is sad, but it must not be the end. Sarah, you are so beautiful, you cannot allow yourself to shut up and be alone all your life. Allow your heart to love again; it can easier than you suppose. Leave the past and start anew.”
We were interrupted by a servant looking for me.
“Signorina Rose, Signora Greensten is looking for you, she says it is urgent.”
“Please excuse me, Bernado.” I stood up and went into the house.
“What is it, Elinor?” I asked, coming to the large parlor where Elinor was seated, holding a letter in her hand.
“I have just received an urgent letter from my husband,” she said, looking at me with worried eyes. “He writes and says his mother is gravely ill, on the point of death the doctor fears. We must set sail for America immediately, we may not make in time, but my husband hopes we will at least be there for the funeral.”
A wave of sorrow swept over my heart. Dear Grandma Greensten, she had been so kind to me and I had grown to love her with all my heart.
“Of course, Elinor, I shall run and pack my things at once.”
“That’s a good girl, I will inform Maria and the rest of the family of our plans, write my husband and make all traveling arrangements.”
Early the next morning we stood at the gate, the carriage waiting to take us away. Bernado come to see me off.
“Goodbye, dear Bernado, I shall miss you.” I spoke, taking his hand in mine.
“Mia Rosa Blu, mia cara Rosa Blu, it was a true joy to know you, remember what I have told you, do not quench the music of your heart. Let it heal, let it live, let it love again.” He kissed my hand and helped me into the carriage.
“What was he saying about something healing?” Elinor asked as the carriage rolled away.
I shook my head, “it was nothing,” I assured.
I watched as the Catalano mansion disappeared from view. Mother had never been able to move on, even though my father had broken her heart, she had kept the shattered pieces for him. I didn’t know if I would be able to let Sammy go the way Bernado wanted me too, the very thought of me being in love with another man was so repulsive, it made me shudder. No, I wouldn’t allow myself to love another. When he had left the plantation he had taken my heart with him and there was no way to get it back. But despite all this, Bernado’s last words kept ringing in my ears. "Don’t quench the music of your heart, let it heal, let it live, let it love again."
Chapter 1 of A White Rose will be uploaded a week from now, on the 9th of September :)