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sometimes

By , Simpsonville, SC
The other day I sat outside on the awkward brick wall nearby my house and watched the roses grow. They were the best color of red, deep and bloody but not quite disturbing. These roses plunged into the air from the dark-brown earth, begging for sunlight to consume, slice by slice. I watched the roses and wondered if they knew I was watching them. Would they know if I stepped on one of them, or talked to another, or began to hum quietly to myself? Or were roses simply dead, like many other things that people ignore?

Sometimes people ignore each other. I thought about this as I sat on that awkward brick wall nearby my house. It would be so much easier to be a rose. Everyone could sit there together and grow, and nobody would laugh at someone else for growing at a different rate. There would be no mean nicknames or bullies pushing other kids into the lockers or teasing jokes constructed to knock other people down. If these things did not exist, my friends would not be so prejudicial to everyone. If these things did not exist, I would be able to know him.

I see him sometimes, across the classroom, just sitting there and watching the teacher. I see him making a joke with his friend and snickering under his breath. I see him rubbing his nose and scraping one of his hands through his sandy-colored wavy hair. I see him smirking and I see him frowning and I see him scribbling down notes madly. And sometimes, I see him seeing me.

As I sat on that wall and looked at the bloody roses, I wondered if roses could bleed. If they could, would they drip burgundy? Would pools of rose-blood form beneath them? Could roses be hurt? Could they hurt each other? Could they hurt themselves? Did it hurt to grow thorns?

It hurt to watch others use their thorns. I watched it happen before. To my friends, to my enemies, to the people I barely knew. It happened to me once or twice, too. But not very often. I don’t mind when people snap or say something rude. They can have a bad day if they want to. They can feel however they want to feel: they’re entitled.

Sadly, my friends don’t feel the same way. If I am a rose that does not mind being bent or scratched a little or growing a little slower than everybody else, they are roses that immediately stiffen upon sight of other roses, thinking that they will soon be poked and prodded and offended. I never thought that way. I cannot fathom why they still do. It was okay in middle school to be afraid, but when it comes to the rest of life, like high school and college and whatever comes after that, one cannot judge before understanding. That only gets friends lying and doubting and hurting, and eventually there will be no friends at all.

I understand this; this is something I simply know. When I sat on the awkward brick wall nearby my house, I looked away from the roses, looking instead up at the sun and its golden-red light. Some things, I supposed, could not be changed; but that was not the way with most things. If someone wants something done, they can go and do it. If it takes a while, it takes a while. If it works just fine, it works just fine. If they fail, they fail. But one will never know unless one tries.

My friends don’t try. I learned that recently, before I sat on the wall and watched the roses and looked instead up at the sun. I learned that when I had my revelation. I realized that my friends are not ostracized by others: my friends ostracize themselves. I also realized that they could never truly comprehend this. And that is why that boy with the eyes like jagged shards of sky and the sandy-colored wavy hair and the smirking lips and the amusing jokes and the understated way of seeing the world is the one boy I could never get to know. His friends are his friends: his friends are the ones my friends ostracize.

I could never know him. He could never know me.

I think roses would bleed, if they could.





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