A Colorless Rose

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This flower is a bright flower that seems very wonderful to have bound together by a brightly colored ribbon tied in a large bow and held together by a silver twist tie. It would seem fitting for the funnel shaped flower with six petals to have such a simple way to be held to each other, even though they look quite formal and stark by bare appearance. The flower is plain.

There is not much about the flower that makes it seem as though it is truly something special or something that people fight day and day for. Sometimes, these flowers don’t seem to be very easily found, since they are spread far apart from each other and there is nothing more to them except the fact that they look like a bell hung upside down. It would be much more interesting if the flower could make noise or even if it did, when wind swept by its petals.

Yet, the way it is small may be what makes it what it is. People often would rather not hear about things that are too typical. A small flower with a restricted number of petals is not the most common thing to hear about, and so people should jump with joy at hearing about it.

Such a thing would warrant some sort of cheer or something equally loud. There would be something nice to say about people who gather all around just to hear all about something that is against the norm, and even praise it while they’re all there together. But this happens rarely.

While I was staring still at a snowflake perfectly fashioned by one who claimed to not be a very talented artist, I realized that it was sometimes much simpler to have people around who were not so good at anything. Sure, it sounded very selfish to say, but it was the truth. The honest truth can seem selfish and conceited, which is not to say lies don’t do the same, but don’t often.

He was looking at me with the hope of a little kid on Christmas morning, ready and excited to tear open the gifts placed underneath the tree adorned with tinsel and ornaments that will be passed down to him when he grows up. It is as though he has just been told that he is allowed to come down the stairs. He’ll pretend that he has not been lying awake all night long, just waiting to see Santa come down and see who the guy with the bag of presents is.

I was not going to ruin his fun. I wanted to be that older sibling who lets him know that Santa isn’t real and laughs with glee as he sits there, torn apart by my announcement. I wanted to be the older kid who gets the real gun and not the toy one that my younger brother gets; so that then I can prance around and show off my beautiful toy, the one which he wanted, but I got.

Yet, I was not cynical enough to do this. My thoughts raced. I noticed how he was looking at me and his head was turned ever so slightly to the side, even though there was no question that was begging to be asked. He held up the prized possession he created that I was currently envious of. It was still a sore spot for me, but that was not the point.

“So,” I began talking to him, not caring how bored he was or how drawn out my words sounded, “Did you really make snowflakes all the time when you were younger?” I was expecting him to look at me and get a little defensive, as that is what I would do in response.

What I had neglected to remember, was that he was not my male counterpart. “Of course I did. What little kid didn’t spend his days making them?” It was a fair question. I had done the same thing when I was younger. “Come on. Surely you must’ve done the same thing, too.”

“I did. It was just something that I stopped doing when I grew up. It’s something that little kids do.” I wished that I had met this guy earlier. He may have stunted my growing up for a year or two, which may have been nice. “I mean, don’t you think this is all just a little childish?”

“Nope. Making paper snowflakes is not something restricted to people of a certain age or from a certain place. Even adults seem to understand this.” His point was only slightly valid.

“They make them with their children. They don’t fold and cut paper because it pleases them to do so. They do it because it makes their kids happy. That’s what they do, they do anything it takes to make and keep their children happy and content. That’s it.”

“Look at you, getting so riled up over nothing. So I’m guessing that you’re an only child and so you never had a sibling with whom you had contests over this type of thing.”

“I never said that I didn’t have a sibling.” I was not ready to get into this argument with him or even to tackle this subject with a stranger. He wanted to get into uncharted territory and it was his own grave which he was foolishly digging himself. He is so bothersome. How annoying.

“You never said that you had one, either.” Oh, how I wanted to scream bloody murder loudly at the guy. He was acting as though he hadn’t understood anything I had just said. “How about I begin? I’ll tell you all about my siblings and how we could never get along.”

“Most siblings cannot get along with each other. What makes yours so special?” I was nearly seething at the guy and I had not even said anything to him. I did need to know why he felt that he was somehow more entitled to speak of siblings not getting along with each other when it truly was part of the definition of being related to someone else. Did he not know that?

He looked at me as though he was carefully considering what he should say next to me, it was as though I needed some convincing, I suppose, and that was why he seemed to keep of starting and stopping the beginning of a word to formulate a sentence. “Well,” he began, and I hoped that his would be the true start of a thought and not just a false alarm that will cause me to wonder if he can even talk to people. “So, the thing is, you’re talking about normal sibling fights and such, which, of course, everyone who has a sibling can relate to. That’s not my mention.”

“Really? So, would yours be more or less dramatic than the usual story I’ve heard?”

“I can give you the lesser version of the tale of woe, if you’d like me to.”

“Have fun with your story. No need to compromise your storytelling skills for me.”

“Just because it will sound like a made-up tale doesn’t make it one.”

“You haven’t even begun your story. How would I know if it sounds real or fictitious?”

“I’ll begin my story. There was this one time when I was hanging out on the swing set. I know, every story always begins on the playground. It’s simply because that is where everyone decides to be mean and begin their reign of terror.” I had to give credit where credit was due, he did know how to begin a story. “I suppose you may have a better story about people who were not related to you, but this is about my brother, my younger brother, actually.” Of course, his had to be different. It was not the older one, but the younger one. Figures. “Don’t give me a look like that. It’s truly what happened. My older brother wasn’t a jerk like my younger brother was.”

“So I’m supposed to believe that, in your world, it is perfectly flipped?”

“There you go, telling me how my anecdote sounds like a work of fiction.”

“That’s because it does! How could a younger brother be worse than the older one?”

“Oh, you’re thinking that boys don’t learn things at a young age. Well, my older brother was a bully, too, but he just wasn’t into it. He would, but he wouldn’t have any fun with it. See, he at least had a sound conscience. My younger brother thought it was so cool and he wanted to be just like his oldest brother.” Again, completely normal occurrences. “And so he mimicked my older brother, which could have been cute, if it weren’t absolutely mean and sadistic.”

“Now you’re just overblowing everything. He was your younger brother. He didn’t know what that was and there is no way that his intentions were like that.” I was not willing to give in so easily to him. “Anyhow, all younger siblings just want to be like their older ones. That’s exactly what they do. Always.” He was rolling his eyes at me, but I didn’t care. “So you’re telling me that you never ever, not even once, wanted to be like your older brother?”

“I never said that. Anyway, my younger brother was just more able to get away with anything that he did or wanted to do. He could pick and prod and anyone any time and my parents wouldn’t care one bit about it, not ever. They thought exactly what you said, ‘Oh, look at him, he’s just mimicking his older brother. How cute.’” As he was talking as his parents, his voice adapted a shrill quality to it that I had not known people to be capable of producing.

“I’m sure that your parents wouldn’t have said that if they thought something was going on. There must be something that you never noticed that they were doing to stop it all.” I didn’t believe that people could be so heartless. No parent would want that to happen to their child.

“Nope. You would think that parents wouldn’t be so heartless.” There he goes, taking the words verbatim from my thoughts. “But they didn’t care. They were like that, I guess, and so they wouldn’t care if their son did the same things.” The sentence took a minute to register.

“What were your parents like, then?” I hoped that I had misunderstood him completely.

“Oh, I didn’t mean it like that. I think I gave you the wrong idea.”

“So then what were they like?” I needed to know about his life story.

“Oh, the typical 50s couple. My mom always cooked and was the stereotypical 50s housewife while my dad went to work every day, weekends excluded. There was just this way about everything that almost didn’t seem real. It was like something out of a storybook.”

“So they were the typical couple. Did they look the part, too?” He laughed at my question, which was a fair reaction, but still a rude one. “No, I’m serious. Did they?”

“Nah. They just fit the roles. It was strange. I went to a friend’s house once and saw his mother in a pantsuit. It was odd for me. I had never seen a businesswoman before.”

It was my turn to laugh. “You’re joking. You must have seen at least one before then.”

“Nope. That was the first one.” I couldn’t believe that people were like this in reality.

“There must be something that makes the story much, much better.”

“That would be nice, wouldn’t it? But there isn’t anything that makes it better.”

“So then what’s the final point that takes the cake of the entire ordeal?”

“Oh, my mom was never supposed to offer her own opinion. It didn’t seem right, but no one ever said anything about it. Apparently women weren’t supposed to have any thoughts of their own. Of course, this was not the way that I thought the world was supposed to work. I figure that everyone should say what they want, but that’s not how it worked. Either you agreed with my dad or you were wrong and it was as if you had never even uttered a word of the idea.”

“So then you became an artist? That must have been a really nice break.”

“Yeah. It was much different, everyone expressing themselves freely,” he told me as he made one final cut on a snowflake and opened it up. “Some had books. I had snowflakes.”

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