I bought the roses for myself. That's the time I needed. I needed rose. A rose in the valley with lilies. The lilies were too expensive. The lilies were. Under my mother's bay window in the backyard and they were in the backyard in the old house, too. She had planted from bulbs perennial. How had they been? How and where? Who and why? The nerve!
The bracketing of a life by roses--ivory tinged with green and the tips slightly rosy, dawn-like. The roses in plastic. The caterer buying roses at market, fancying herself a midwestern Martha Stewart. It was 1996, end of the milennium, end of the century. End of a time with a way of life, end of one city and beginning of a new city. It has been twelve years, a dozen like the dozen or two of these roses in the green rubber band. A band of rubber or a band of gold. A band to beat the band--gold, rubberized my finger until the flesh beneath it shrank. Hand swollen from baby-carrying, baby-feeding, baby-weight left over. The band gone, the ring off. Now the finger back to the old size, the band faded marking from the flesh.
The band he was with. And the band he was. And eating was not, and wine was, and the dance of band and roses on the side table. The roses were not red. They were not yellow. They were this color, color of paper lightly singed, color of burnt sugar and cream, color of time this time and mine. Mine.