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The White Peony Flower
I was walking through the woods, exploring every little nook and cranny, every little shrub, or a bush. I tried to forget my thoughts of home, which were dark, and filled with sadness. I filled my mind with the scents of the flowers, nature, and the animals.
I came across a beautiful clearing, empty of people but full of life. There were buzzing bees that circled the flowers, gathering nectar and pollen, and large, evergreen trees that circled around me. Many flowers were nestled against the grass, and this whole place seemed perfect. The sun was shining over them, and it looked as if it was blessing this clearing.
I stooped down to look at the flowers; they were graceful, arching their heads to the hot sun. One caught my eye.
As far as I could tell, it was a white peony. Strangely enough, this flower seemed to call to me. I looked at its petals; white and filled with dew, reaching towards the sun as well. The stem was a healthy green and strong, with its leaves fluttering a little in the mild breeze. I held on to my white-and-black frilled hat in case it got blown away while my other hand reached down to pick the flower.
My fingers stopped momentarily as I came near its stalk. It seemed as if this flower…wanted me to pick it! The petals fluttered and the flower looked more alive than ever. I grabbed its stalk, felt its smoothness, and plucked it out of the ground.
For a second, I felt dizzy, feeling an uncontrollable sense of relief and happiness. I knew this flower would do something for me, I just knew.
I returned home to my house, which was white and stunning. It had four floors, large windows, and a lovely view, but the inside of the house was grim with despair and exhaustion.
My father had passed away while I was a baby, so my mother had to take care of me and my brother. Luckily, she had her large inheritance money to take care of us, so we were doing fine…in a way.
My brother was nine years old, a cute baby-face, and quite sick. He had blond ringlets that had turned limp with his illness, and his blue eyes seemed to fade every day. The doctors who examined him could not figure out what he had, and my mother and I could only watch as this bright, curious little boy grew thinner and weaker.
There were no real symptoms, only loss of appetite and energy. He was always in his bed, too sick to move, but he never lost his boyish curiosity. I decided to give this flower to him, in hopes of cheering him up. He always loved it when I returned from the forest, carrying leaves or branches that I had picked up.
I stepped inside his room to see him lying awake in bed, reading a book.
“Alison!” he cried, then coughed loudly. I ran for his bed, and whispered,
“Shh, you mustn’t exert yourself too much. I’m afraid that you’ll get sicker.”
He ignored my words and said,
“What’s that you have?” I grinned, and gave him the white peony. He stared at it as if it was the most beautiful thing in the world, his eyes wide and his lips smiling.
“It’s…it’s so pretty.” He murmured, then asked, “Can you put it in a vase for me? Please?”
I nodded, left the room, and returned with a vase filled with water. I set the vase up next to his bed, and put the flower inside.
“Hey, Charles, did you know that peonies stand for healing? Maybe with this, you’ll get better,” I said, caressing his hair. He nodded, still staring at the flower.
The next day, I returned to his room and saw that he had a rose flush on his cheeks. I was delighted, for I had not seen him so full of health!
“Charles! You look better!” I cried, and he nodded.
“Yeah, I feel better too. I woke up this morning and felt great. Can I have some breakfast?”
“Of course, of course!” I said, shocked. Usually, he did not have any appetite; this was a dramatic change. I sent for the maid to bring a meal into his room, and as I was turning back to Charles, I noticed the flower.
It was still beautiful, but looked almost…sick. The white had lost its pearly sheen, and the flower was drooping a little. For some reason, my heart broke, and I couldn’t help but touch the flower.
Charles got better over the next couple of days, and by the weekend, he was fine. It almost seemed as if he was never sick, and my mother was ecstatic.
I went to Charles’s room later that day, and found the flower withered, dead. I gasped aloud, for it seemed as if it was trading places with Charles…
“That flower,” Charles said as I whirled around, “I think it helped me get better.”
I nodded, tears forming in my eyes, watching as Charles stepped forward to touch the withered flower. He whispered solemnly,
“Thank you. I’ll never forget you, dear flower.