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The Withered Flower.

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A few weeks ago I was sitting in my school bus waiting for the bus to start moving. Suddenly a girl, who I didn’t know, sat down next to me. I was going to say hi but just at that moment an innocent-looking flower flew in through the window and fell onto my lap. Some people would say that autumn is in full swing and these flowers are literally taking over the city at the moment so the landing of such a pretty thing on my lap was not something to mull over. They would say that it ‘just’ happened and mediocre things like this are worthless. But I thought differently and I was right.

For weeks I kept thinking about that little flower, which withered away by the time I reached home. It had been a beautiful thing to behold but was too fragile to bloom on. I knew in my heart that it was some sort of sign. A warning for what was about to happen. Now, I just had to figure out what that thing was.
The flower landed in my lap the second that girl sat down next to me. The timing was exact and thus, I had my only clue. The ‘thing’ that was about to happen or may have already, had to be something related to this girl. That afternoon in the bus was the first time I met her. She started talking to me and soon we became friends. I felt queer around her but could not help but succumb to her friendliness. I don’t know why but I felt like I knew her from long ago. From such a long time ago that my memories could not delve that far and my mind could not exist at such a depth. For the first time in a very long time I felt at home.

Soon enough, I became inevitably close to her. We were always together and I told her everything. From my deepest, darkest secrets to what I had eaten for breakfast that morning. She would hardly talk but listened to every word I had to say. She gave me advice, comforted me and even scolded me at times. I realized that she hardly ever told me anything about herself but I felt like I already knew everything about her. Her likes, her dislikes, her favourite places to eat, the movies and the books she liked. Such detailed knowledge about a stranger scared me but I felt nothing but safe when I was with her. I had this odd feeling that I loved her.

For some inexplicable reason, I never told my mom about Serena. Something stopped me from saying her name out loud in my house. She had never seen my house and I had never seen hers. But, I had a very strong desire to bring her home and introduce her to my family. I couldn’t think of a good enough reason not to and so I decided to give it a try. The next morning I said casually to her, “Don’t you think its weird that you’ve never come to my house?” Serena didn’t say anything and just kept smiling her friendly smile. But, I notice the slight tightening of her eyes and the sudden pain in her expression.
A little chagrined I went on in a small voice, “Well, there’s always a first right? So my house, 4-“
“No I cant.”
“But, why?”
“I have to go.”
I failed to understand what had just happened. I felt very hurt by her ignorance. I was close to tears by the time I reached home. The first person to see me was my mom and seeing her worried face, I told her about Serena and our deep friendship. As I told my story, my mom’s face turned white. Then, her hands started trembling and by the end she was shaking from head to toe. After I finished she burst into tears and ran into her room. I was very shocked and shaken by her reaction. I didn’t understand anything that was happening and I felt like I was going insane. There were too many questions in my mind and too many possible answers. I went out to get some air and clear my head, when the same white flower fell into my palms. Suddenly, I knew that I had put one piece of the puzzle together. The flower was a symbol of mine and Serena’s friendship. It was pure, innocent and fragile. We both had had the premonition that something was not right about our friendship. There was something odd that I couldn’t put my finger on. The flower only survived till the end of the bus ride. It stayed with me throughout my journey and left me once I was home.

Through this discover came the realization, that I would never see her again. I was still confused and hurt but now I knew that I would get all my answers soon. I never told Serena about the flower. It was our flower but somehow it felt more like my own. And that is why I knew that I had to give it to her. So, I put it in an envelope and left it on the park bench that we used to sit on every evening. I wrote on the envelope only four words – I’ll love you, forever.

That night I had a dream. I dreamt of an elder sister. In my dream my sister was standing next to my mom, when she was pregnant with me, laughing and smiling. She was my age and spent most of her time talking to my mom’s bloated stomach. The dream kept switching between different instances showing my sister getting ready, studying, eating and having fun with her various friends. Suddenly the dream switched to another memory of my sister. But, this one was not happy. She was lying in the bed sick with some sort of fever. And the day I was born she died. The dream ended with my sister sitting on that same park bench, with my envelope in one hand and our flower in the other, content and peaceful.

I woke up crying and screaming just as my mom ran in. she took me in her lap till I stopped crying. Then, I looked her in the eye and said,” Mom, Serena’s dead.”



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