Tarnished Rose

May 23, 2012
By Anonymous

Andrew wondered why he’d never heard of this woman during the entirety of his eight-year marriage. “She was one of my distant cousins,” Madeline said in a tender voice, “and I’m really going to miss her.” Making her way to the front door, she slipped on her childhood ski-jacket over her black silk dress. Before Andrew had the chance to say goodbye, Madeline was already on the road.

She exhaled. The funeral invitation sat in the passengers seat. Madeline read it aloud, “In loving memory of Aiden Rosewood.” She wept.

Once she arrived at Saint Alexander’s Cemetery, she reached into the glove compartment and pulled out a tarnished sterling-silver necklace with a black rose pendant; then traded it with the one she was wearing -a more refined necklace, made of the most luxurious diamonds which were cut to extreme precision.

Madeline knew not a single person at the funeral. All she saw were grey faces that seemed transparent amongst winter’s fog. Looking down six feet into the earth, Madeline thought to herself, If we stayed together, that might have been me.

“We’re half way done with sophomore year!” a random squeaky voice shouted. “Okay class, everyone settle down. We have a new student today, his name is Aiden Rosewood- and he’s a transfer from Oakley High School.” The class eyed the new student, and within a few seconds, continued their conversations. Aiden sat in front of Madeline, who nervously braided a thin strand of hair that lay on her neck. He immediately spun around and admired her youthful beauty. To break the intimidating silence that grew over them, he asked to compare schedules. They had three classes together, and in each of those three classes, Aiden found something new to love about Madeline. It started with her long brunette hair that contrasted so pleasantly with her porcelain white skin, and continued to her rosy bee-stung lips that were hard to overlook. For the first time in her fifteen years of life, Madeline felt an electric storm brewing inside her heart. By the end of that week, they were inseparable. Madeline, the courteous and politically-correct young woman, found herself falling for Aiden, a childish, artistic boy who had more passion and love inside him than Aphrodite. They were the oddest couple, but somehow they clicked. They were unquestionably in love, and nothing, it seemed, could break that.

As senior year neared its end, Aiden and Madeline got into a fight about college. “I just want to do what I love!” he stammered. Madeline rose her voice “We need to think about financial expenses, social obligations, time-management-” she stopped. Her eyes broke away from his. In that very instant, Madeline made the conscious decision that Aiden wasn’t right for her, after all.

As she lay in bed, Madeline took hold of her black-rose necklace and closed her eyes. She began imagining a world where she continued her love with Aiden- but quickly ceased these thoughts. Andrew looked at her with apathetic eyes. “Goodnight” He said softly. “Goodnight.”

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