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Lynn Marie Moody

Lynn Marie Moody is a junior attending Wilson Central High School who spends much time writing and working to achieve her goals.

Who Will Tend to Your Wilted Roses?

By Lynn Marie Moody, Third Prize Winner of the Novus High School Creative Writing Contest

“I suck at telling stories,” was something my older brother, Buddy, had told me a
hundred and one times. Many nights were wasted sitting on the old white rug on the
floor of my bedroom listening to my brother tell stories without endings. He had a short
attention span and a lot to tell me, but his stories were my favorite. I have always
dreamed of being like Buddy. To me, he is flawless, has amazing grades, a great work
ethic, straight teeth, is determined, and could build any gizmo or gadget he could dream
of. Although I fall short of being everything he is, it was no secret that my parents saw
very little in him and me both. Being “just like Buddy”, was an insult made by my
parents, but to me a compliment. No matter how perfect I thought I could be, “good job”
was an unattainable trophy. Praise was no different than any other affirmation; “How
was your day,” “Good night,” and “I love you,” were all just as rare. It was a struggle to
understand what I was doing wrong and why I was unable to earn these words.
I have few fond childhood memories with my parents; however, my mother’s
roses are something I vividly remember. The roses grew on either side of the front
porch, to the left grew magenta pink roses and to the right grew pastel yellow roses.
The roses were important to my mother, so she tended to them well, ensuring they
would bloom early each fall and late each spring. As a child, I thought the roses were
beautiful, but I knew their stems were lined with sharp thorns.

Trying my hardest to fall asleep one night, I stared blankly up at the ceiling and
“talked” to the fan. I felt the vibrations of my phone from beneath my pillow. Squinting
my eyes, I saw his caller ID.
“Hello,” I whispered in one short breath.
“I’m on my way,” a shallow voice responded.

I spilled out of bed, gently placing my feet on the floor. The thick bristle of my
toothbrush scraped away the lining of fear in my mouth. I put on a pair of socks but held
my shoes in my hand. They were too loud on the tile floor. No sound was made by the
door of my bedroom when I opened it. I greased the hinges earlier that day and hid the
can of WD40 under my sink. 14, 15, 16, skip, 18, I walked down the staircase, careful
not to step on the steps that creaked. Past the dining room, through the kitchen, and
into the laundry room, closing the door behind me. I broke the seal to the door,
something I had done many times, so why was it so loud now? Slipping my way into the
garage, I watched my step for gardening tools and grass seed. I found my way to the
back door. I stepped out into the crisp August night air. Making my way towards the
front of the house, the light from the oven shined through the window in the kitchen. By
the time I made it to the front porch my socks were wet from the dewy grass. I sat on
the steps to the porch and laced up my shoes, despite the fact my socks were still wet.
I can’t remember if at that moment I was breathing; the bound of adrenaline in my heart
was louder than any breath I had ever taken. 1:26AM, my watch read. It took 12
minutes to drive from his house to mine. Attempting to pass the time I look to either side
of me, two decaying rose bushes, one to my left and one to my right, wilted petals still
scattered the ground below where they had been. I checked my watch again. 5 minutes
had passed, yet somehow it was only 1:27AM. I swear that hours went by. Finally a
break in the silence far off in the distance, the roar of an engine streamed down the long
ribboning road I grew up on. A shadow flies by, causing a flash in the glow of a street
light. My knees buckle as I try to stand, but still, I stumble forward. We met halfway
down the driveway. When he saw me he tried to turn off his bike, almost stalling. I
guess he was nervous too.

“What’s up,” he said, as if to prove to me he was standing in front of me. It had
been months since I had seen anybody other than occasionally my parents or brother.
He leaned his bike up next to a tree, and we began to talk to each other like we were
old people at a high school reunion. Crickets mocked the sound of our pubescent
whispers. It had been about an hour or so when he asked if I wanted to go on a ride.
No, my dad had always told me that if I ever rode on a dirtbike I WOULD die and that
boys were evil.

“Sure,” is what I said, of course. So he pushed his bike to the top of my driveway
and turned it on. Holding his bike up with one leg, he looked up at me and smiled. I got
up on his bike and wrapped my arms around him, holding on as tight as I possibly
could. To say that I was terrified would be a lie. I was so much more than that. Pulling
in the clutch and shifting down into first gear, I tightened the death grip I had on him. As
he began to pick up speed, I loosened my grip and felt the wind breeze across my face.
At that moment I felt euphoric. My leg untensed and my feet scraped against the
ground, burning the rubber off the tip of my shoe. I tensed my leg up again. He turned
around and headed back to my house stopping by my mailbox. We stood by one of the
many thin flimsy trees that lined the driveway. Now we were close enough to a street
light that I could see him. His curly hair was frizzy and torn up by the wind and his lips
were cracked. The stars reflected in his deep brown eyes; looking into his eyes was like
looking into a galaxy full of stars. I stared at him for a moment.

“I. love you,” he said to me. I continued to stare at him. In that moment he spoke
those words not only to me but also to a little girl who wanted nothing more than to be

“Thank You,” was the only thing my young, ignorant mind could think to say at
that moment. I could not remember the last time I had heard those words. He gave me
a tight hug. I felt cared about and tended to. We sat there for a moment. He stepped
back and picked up his bike, and while looking up at me he asked, “Which bracelet do
you like the best?” He was polluting the paracord bracelets that lined the handlebars of
his dirtbike. In the late night, they all looked the same, so I just picked one. He took it off
his handlebars and gifted it to me.

“To remember tonight,” he stated while clipping his bracelet on my wrist. Then I
watched as he drove off into the distance. It was a long walk back to my house from the
end of my driveway. Once I got back into my house, I took off my ruined shoes and wet
socks and hid them in a bag next to the fridge in the laundry room. Quietly I creeped
back through my house and into my bedroom. I laid back into my bed and went back to
“talking” to my ceiling fan. Clipping and unclipping his bracelet over and over again. It
was a struggle trying to explain to my ceiling fan why he chose a lonely, wilted flower to
tend to. I was taught that only perfect flowers deserved to be tended to. If only I could
have stayed blissfully ignorant, even perfect flowers have flaws.