Of Roses and Other Bloomings

March 20, 2008
By Kristen Dempsey, Kenton, DE

Slowly gathering golden rays of light

The lonely bud soaked in the sun with all her might

Rapidly growing, wanting to bloom

Hopeful, wondering, wishing if soon

She shall become a gorgeous flower

Maybe she shall within the hour

Creeping her way up, taking a pose,

She now knows how it feels to become a radiant rose.


This is a story about a little girl and her two sisters. They never really thought about growing up until growing up was absolutely necessary. Together they dreamed dreams, laughed, and played silly things until one day their parents passed away, and they were forced to live with nothing but each other.

This is my story, actually. I am Jamie. And those two sisters I mentioned are my sisters; Felicity and Jenna.

As silly as my sisters may be sometimes, they are mine. They’re the only things I have in this world. They and this rose Dad gave to me two weeks before he passed away. It hasn’t bloomed yet, and I don’t think it ever will, but I still hold on to it, care for it, and water it. Dad said that I should. He knew my obsession for flowers, especially roses.

What piqued my interest most about flowers is how their color far surpasses any other beauty in the world. I think God took a shine to roses the most. By giving them that deep, everlasting redness, He must have.

Of course, I’ve tried to care for my rose and keep it safe, but flies keep eating away at it. Dang flies.

Two weeks ago, November 4th, 1931, my parents died; our parents. Our whole world. I do miss them. Jenna, on the other hand, has not expressed her feelings towards this. The reason for this is because she has not spoken since they passed. I feel she has been slipping away from us.

The sun rolled its way up at dawn, and we did as well. Pink tears marks were still freshly smothered on our faces from the night before
when we received a letter stating that we had been evicted from our home. I remember feeling the soft, wetness seeping down my face when I was asleep, and thought I had heard other cries as well.

It was quite obvious that none of us felt like speaking, so my mouth stayed closed. The tension in the room grew as I saw my sisters stiffly making their beds. Making our beds was a household chore, persuaded by our parents, to be done precisely right after we had woken up, but we never did it…until now.

Turning to follow my sisters’ examples, I started to make my own bed, and glanced at the rose seedling planted in the little jar on my bed-side table. It hasn’t sprouted a bud yet, but I will not let my hope die. That’s the good thing about hope, it will never leave you; not entirely anyway. You still have that little thing planted inside that will continue to remain even if everything else disappears.

Breakfast was cooked by Felicity and set on the table. One, dry pancake each, a sausage link, and watered-down milk (we didn’t have enough milk for all of us) to wash the food down.

It wasn’t much, but it was enough to survive. The depression has hit a toll on everyone, none more so than us. That is why we are being sent away to live with relatives. They are said to be rich, and they will take care of us. I hope anyway.

Jenna, who rather than eating it, was quietly separating her food without a word. Her face looked sad and tired; her eyes drained and looked almost sunken. She looked as though she wanted to scream out,
speak for the first time in a long time, fly away, and remain perfectly still all at the same time. I kept watching her. Her face was red and seemed like she was about to burst.

“Why must we go away?” She spit out, “ I like it here. I don’t want to leave.”

Felicity and I sat there shocked and gazed at each other for a moment. Our eyes told each other what to do; not make a big deal out of this.

We never did answer Jenna’s question. I don’t think we even really knew why we had to leave. Is it because grownups want us to be always wondering but never really knowing? Is it true that we must submit to our fate and live with these people we don’t know? I have heard of other children leaving their homes because their families’ were to poor to feed them, but this may be only a rumor.

Felicity shattered my thoughts, “ When you girls leave, do you think you could hold onto something for me? There’s a beautiful necklace that mother gave me, and… well I think you should-”

She was cut off by Jenna,

“Us girls? Aren’t you coming with us, Felicity? Isn‘t that what was supposed to happen? Felicity!?”

Felicity was silent for a moment. Straining for the right words,

“I have decided to get a job. After all we cannot stay children forever, and I think that it is time for me to make a living.”


After a long, awkward pause I spoke,


“ You act as though this should be OK with us.”

“ Shouldn’t it be?”

“Of course not. The very fact that you decided not to tell us until now has narrowed my hope of ever becoming a real family again.

“ I didn’t mean to.”

“Then why did you?”

Silence again.

Jenna sat there in her chair with her head resting in her hands, crying. We were not supposed to be separated, but we were going to be.

“ Don’t you see,” I said, “ Our family is being torn apart and you aren’t making it any better.”

“ Jamie,” Felicity said, “people have to grow up and move on with their lives no matter what happens. You just have to let everything behind you go.” She spoke in a calm, but forceful voice almost like she was talking to a four-year-old. But she wasn’t talking to a four-year-old. She was talking to me.

“So you are saying that we should forget about Dad and Mother?” I asked.

I left it at that and ran off. She was yelling to me in the background but I didn’t hear a word. The rain of yesterday had proceeded into today, engulfing me in thousands of droplets falling down my face. I ran out as fast as I could. I didn’t know where I was going, but I knew I had to be gone for a little while.

Marine Park is usually beautiful this time of year: branches overshadowing the cool grass, the leaves falling ever so softly with the
wind, but I never realized the sadness of those dying leaves until now.

The moon shone bright upon the silver droplets of rain cascading from one of the few remaining leaves of fall. I cupped my hands together and felt the drops seep through the spaces between my fingers and fall to the ground beneath my feet.

I crumbled down onto the ground under the tree, and remembered the words Felicity said to me when Mother and Dad died,

No matter what happens, we will always be there for each other. We will always be a family.

Those words flowed in and out of my ears until I got sick of them. It must have been many hours later when I decided it was time to go home.

The wind howled at my shadow as I ran. The trees swayed at the sound of my feet clapping the ground. The leaves shuddered as the cold frost drew near. And I cried. Not the pain-driven cry of getting hurt, but the cry of losing someone or something so dear.

The lights were off at the house so I snuck around the back door and let myself in. Felicity was waiting in the kitchen when I entered, but her usual, smiling self disappeared and in its place was a face of rage.

“ Where were you?” She whispered, but the harshness in her tone was enough to scare me.

I answered, “I-I needed to get away for a little.”

“Do you think you could have told someone first?”

“I didn’t think I needed to.”
The silence between us was almost too much for me to handle. I started to walk up the stairs when she caught my arm.


“ I-I am sorry, Jamie.” She stuttered, “ but I need to make my own way for myself. I am eighteen and I have no future ahead of me, no prospects, and no money to speak of. It’s time I stopped being a child and playing silly games. I can’t be here forever.”

Steam shot out of my ears as I was listening to her foolishness. Silly games? Child’s play? She was just trying to be grown up, but she wasn’t. She was more of a child than ever. Arguing back and forth and lying to us. She didn’t know what it meant to be an adult.

“You do understand, Jamie?” Felicity asked.

I nodded my head solemnly then proceeded up the stairs. I heard her whispering something to herself, but did not understand a word.

I was tired and I wanted to sleep. Heading toward my room I saw Jenna sleeping in her bed with the covers burying her body so as only her nose stuck out of the sheets. She looked happy, and I did not understand. I could feel the cold, drowsy sleep drape upon me as I climbed into my own bed, and for once in my life I felt alone.

Night waned earlier than usual it seemed, and I turned toward my sisters’ beds. They were still asleep. I jumped up and walked out of the room. The light shone through the dark hallway. It was raining out, but the sun seemed to creep its way through the clouds anyway.

I tip-toed back into my room and looked at the rose seedling. It had sprouted a bud somewhere during the night. I ran to fetch it, picked it up to bring it down stairs, and poured water in it. How one rose can survive in this jar I’ll never know, but it has and I am grateful. If this is the only thing I have to remind me of Dad, then it will suffice.


Felicity and Jenna clambered down the stairs. Their hair was messed up and it looked like they had had a restless night. I ran to them with the rose in my hand.

“ Look!,” I exclaimed, “It’s blooming!”

Jenna yawned and rubbed her eyes, “What is it?”

“My rose. It’s still alive.”

“That thing,” Felicity entered the conversation, “ It can’t grow in that little jar any longer.”

I glared at her, She blinked, and then went up stairs.

“Doesn’t she know that she isn’t helping?” I asked Jenna.

“She’s having a hard time right now, I think” she replied.

“ No,” I said cruelly, “ She just needs to grow up.”

“ Everyone needs to do some form of growing up.” She paused for a moment, “Maybe we all should try some of it. I don’t think that necessarily means we should start being adults and stop having fun. I think that there is so much more to being grown up than that.

“ It‘s a sense of knowing when to stop fighting, it‘s knowing how to act appropriately at the right times, it‘s so much more than just going to work all day and coming home at night.

“It‘s having confidence in yourself that you never knew you had before, and much more. At least…that‘s what I think.”

She gave me a hug then ran outside. I stood there dumbfounded and looked out and saw her; so innocent, but knowledgeable at the same time. How can someone so young know so much? She loves her home. I don’t want her to lose it. I don’t want her to have to leave.

I did a lot of thinking that day and the few days after. Thinking
about moving away, about Felicity, and most of all about growing up. Those couple of days brought forth such pain, but it also brought forth remembrance of my family. Maybe that’s why it was painful. Somehow, someway I will make our family whole again.

I didn’t speak to anyone those few days. I needed a time of thinking without interruption. I spent most of my thinking time in the garden. The flowers were dieing, but I felt at peace there.

When I was younger I remember spending most of my days sitting there and either reading or writing. It was a place of unspoken comfort for me. No one would bother me.

When I would get into fights with my family I would hide myself in the garden, but it was no use. Dad always knew where I was. He would come, sit down next to me, and hold me.

After a few days I stood beside the rose on the counter remembering what my parents told me a long time ago. They told me that I have the choice to be who I want to be, I have the choice to act how I should act, I always have a choice.

We will move away. I know that, but we will have a choice on how we will handle it. I guess that’s what growing up is all about; making choices. Maybe growing up is not what people think. Maybe it’s not just about being an adult, going to work, and making sure that there is food on the table. Maybe it’s about facing life and making decisions that will forever impact you. Maybe growing up is more than just being able to be in charge. Maybe it’s about loving everyone the same, and always being there for someone when they need you. Maybe it’s not about leaving
child-hood behind, but enjoying the imagination that you have and using it for good and wonderful things. Maybe it’s about forgiving everyone even though you may not want to. Maybe, just maybe that’s what growing up is really about.

I tripped up the stairs, ran to our room, grabbed Felicity, pulled her back down the stairs, and sat her down. I was out of breath but needed to speak.

“ I’m sorry.” I said
She stared at me curiously.

“ What?” She asked.

“ I’m sorry. I never should have gotten mad at you. I was trying to keep our family together, but I realized that by trying to do that I was actually tearing our family apart.”

Silence. The worst kind. The kind when you just stare at each other, but say nothing. It was as if she was trying to find the right words to say, but couldn’t. Finally she spoke.

“ You know, Jamie, I’m not going to abandon you or Jenna. I’m not going to never see you again. I’m just growing up.”

I sighed, shrugged my shoulders, and walked towards her.

“ I used to think that growing up meant you would change and never be the same again. That everyone who did grow up became uncaring and selfish I used to think many things about what growing up was…but now I know what it truly is.”

She smiled at me. That smile I hadn’t seen in a long time. What makes a smile so happy? Many questions deserve answers. And I have a
whole lot that need answering.

Jenna strolled in, sat down, and looked at the both of us.

“You were right,” I said to her, “ You were right about growing up. I just didn’t realize it until now. I don’t know how you knew, but you were right.”

She smiled and tilted her head towards the counter. I looked at the rose standing on it; it bloomed full and proud. The deep red shattered every other color in the room so as no one could look away. There are no flies anymore. No smells, nothing. After all it had been through,
after all the hardships it encountered to live, it managed to bloom. And it continued to grow.

The time had come for Jenna and I to leave. We packed our bags and headed out the door for the last time. Felicity gave me a hug, and as she did, I felt something in my hand: It was my mother’s necklace. Felicity winked at me and gave me a kiss on the cheek.

I turned towards my home. My precious home overflowing with wonderful, marvelous memories. The kind that can never be written down on a piece of paper, but only lived out. I glanced around the room one last time, turned around, turned the light off, and walked out my front door.

I cannot say that I am completely happy, but I am close to being content. And I will find happiness one of these days. And I soon will enjoy life to the fullest once again.


My story has no ending as of yet, but as I recall in books, a tremendous, happily ever after is key. And that is what I plan on working on
…to the end of my days.

The End

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