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Underneath the

ROSE BUSH

A fable By

Daniel Sincuba


Her black fur coat swept the floor as she took the corner toward her double story house. She was a good man’s dream, because she was successful, classy and beautiful. As she strutted down the street, she watched the children as they jumped rope in the middle of the road, their mom calling them to dinner but they would not listen. At the house next door, a woman was hanging washing while complaining to an invisible friend. It was something about doing everything on her own and cooking and cleaning, then the children. Inside she smiled as she passed the catastrophe. Eventually she reached her home at the end of the road. Everyone wondered why she needed such a huge house, because she had no husband or children and no one knew why. Every night before she went to bed she brushed her hair into a loose ponytail and put on one of her many pink silk nightdresses before opening one side of the sheets of her double bed. She slept only on right side, because this is the side that made her dream. This night she dreamt a dream that was different from the usual. She dreamt of a little girl perched in her side while she cooked what looked like chicken stew. She dreamt of a little boy running around with a knife in his hand, giggling as she chased him around the couch in a scary game of catch, and the smell of feet in her bedroom as she lay down next to what sounded like an electric razor. She woke long before her alarm sounded. Her dream had scared her so badly that she could not fall asleep again. She decided in the instant that if she had to fall in love, she would be like the lady a few houses away talking to an invisible friend, or worse, the smelly feet in her bedroom. She dreaded the fact that she could ever live like this, so she got out of bed just before dawn and found the rose bush in the furthest corner of the garden. She dug


a hole underneath the bush to the best of her ability. She ripped the beautiful pink nightdress apart over her chest cavity and with one clean slit with the knife that accompanied her she removed her heart and placed it in the hole. The heart‘s beat grew frail with the loss of it’s owner. She threw the soil over the heart with a deranged smile on her face and evened it out so that it went unnoticed and vowed that she would never take the chance of falling in love again. As she entered her home she removed the bloodstained nightdress and showered before getting back into bed, and sleeping for the remainder of the time she had left. She slept soundly for a long time after that and her dreams had resumed to normal. She had probably forgotten about this, because on this day she realized that her rose bushes were growing so out of control that she it almost covered her walkway. As she got ready for work, her phone sounded. It was the gardener-at least she remembered to call him. “Make sure you’re here by 9 okay Jarred? I’ve left the spare key in the letterbox. No one ever comes this way so don’t worry,” she said as she applied her lip gloss while on the phone. “The roses are way out of control,” she added as she giggled mindlessly. She glanced at the watch, and realized that she had forgotten to put that on. “Oh shoot – sorry, I have to go. No time to chat- just make it pretty, k? I have to go.” Jarred had arrived straight after she had left. He wore faded blue jeans and a red billabong t shirt. His jeans were slightly stained, as all of them might’ve been because of the work he does. He called her as he entered the house. “Howzit,” he said as he looked at the overgrown bushes. She rambled on about where the tools are and


something about the neighbours and keys. As he opened the front door her perfume still lingered in the hallway. It hit him like a sweet wind. “Ah, like daisies and strawberries,” he thought as he closed his eyes and breathed in deeply before reality woke him and he decided to get to work. That evening she arrived and Jarred had left the key in the letterbox. She was a bit disturbed at this gesture because she had asked him to leave the key with the neighbours. As she entered she was now annoyed. Jarred had only pruned the rose bushes in the corner. She hurried inside, tripping over some weeds that lay on the walkway while on the phone. “…I don’t understand what you’ve been doing all day Jarred. Please don’t get me upset. I pay you to do your job so do it properly.” She hung up without saying goodbye and removed her coat irritably. After taking a shower she put on her pink nightdress and before getting into bed she noticed a rose placed on the bed and a note with an untidy scrawl that read “I’m sorry. It was beautiful and strong scented. She tossed it onto the table and went to bed. The next morning she called Jarred again and got voicemail. “Left the key in the letterbox again. Ciao” That evening when she returned home she was happy with the progress and that night when she went to bed, she again found a rose, beautiful as ever, and tossed it next to the other one, which was as beautiful as the new one. This happened for the next couple of days, and each night she tossed the roses on her bedside table, and none of them lost its beauty. On the 7th evening when she returned home, her garden was neat and pruned and she was satisfied. That night before she went to bed, she called Jarred to thank him but got voicemail again.


“Hey, thanks, I’m happy with what you’ve done. Sorry we got off on the wrong foot and erm… yeah, goodbye. And thanks for the roses too. They’re beautiful.” She felt a bit uncomfortable but she didn’t know why. Again she found a rose on her bed and tossed it with the others and went to bed on the left side that night, though again, she didn’t know why. The following night she found that there were no gifts left for her. She had grown used to finding the rose and the feeling it gave her. She called Jarred again that night and to no surprise she got voicemail. “Hey. Please call me I want to talk to you.” She tossed and turned that night. She slept on the left side again and this made her dream too. She dreamt of a wedding and she dreamt of a huge smile on her face. She dreamt of a handsome man bringing her bright red roses pruned from her garden while she swung on the porch. She woke up in a state of confusion and put on the light next to her bed. She looked at the deep red heap on her bedside table. It made the shape of a heart. She realized that Jarred made her feel good and that he is sweet, kind and loving just like the type of partner she had always imagined to grow old with. A dark cloud entered her fantasy. Jarred was everything she dreamt of, but she could not love him. Dreaded by her flaw, she got out of bed and sought out to her garden to look for the place under the rose bush where she hid her heart, but all the bushes were gone. She remembered the far corner and ran toward the rose bush she saw there. The rose bush – Jarred hadn’t pruned the rose bush in the far corner. She dug through the soil until she couldn’t dig anymore and found… nothing. Her heart had been stolen. She lay there in the soil and cried until the sun came up, sorry that she could never love again.


She woke with the raindrops on her face. There where she had slept made a shallow grave in the mud. She walked slowly and painfully. Her body seemed to do replace her heart’s work. She took off sick from work that day and called Jarred once more. “Jarred please call me, we need to talk, its important.” Her eye caught the roses on her bedside table. They were all dried out and lost they’re beauty overnight. She lay in bed and cry that day. She cried for Jarred, she cried for her heart. She cried until she eventually fell asleep and dreamt again. She dreamt of a mansion on the hill not far from hers with a beautiful view and a bachelor staring at the view next to his pool with a glass of wine. He was looking at her home from where he was standing. She awoke abruptly and got up on instinct, dressed in her most beautiful dress, her most stylish shoes, her best coat and her most expensive bag, determined to reach the mansion on the hill, almost sure that it was Jarred. The energy to make her journey came from the chance that she could find her heart. She was accompanied by the petals of her bedside roses, the gifts from Jarred. She reached the very top of the hill and searched for the entrance of the mansion. Nervous, almost scared, she rang the bell with a shaky finger. A handsome man walked to the door. He had the most amazing blue eyes and dark hair. He had a glass of wine in his hand, just as she had dreamt and she grew excited. “Jarred?” she asked nervously as he approached her. “Who’s Jarred? But I’ll be whoever you want me to be, gorgeous,” as he stared at her, top to bottom. She looked at him in shock and horror and started crying again as she ran off the front porch and into the road. There she sat on


the sidewalk and cried for hours, cursing herself for her stupidity. She lay in the road like a ragdoll, unable to speak because she was disappointed. Just then someone approached her. His blue mud stained overalls became visible through the shadows as his concerned voice spoke to her. “Are you k?” She looked up. She noticed that he wasn’t cleanly shaved and well groomed. This was one of her pet peeves. “Do I look okay to you? My whole life is ruined. I hate Jarred, I just hate him.” She cried again as she hurried away. His concerned look turned into a small frown. The perfume, it smelt of daisies and strawberries. “Hey, wait!” He ran after her until she eventually disappeared into the darkness. He picked up a dried out rose that fell from her bag and examined it as a tear fell from his cheek. He journeyed after her. He knew why she was running, and he knew that if she found out who he was, she wouldn’t have to run anymore. He reached her home and all was dark. She had left the house open in her fit of emotional confusion. He walked in slowly and climbed the stairs rhythmically. There she was, eagle spread on the bed, with dried out roses scattered alongside her. Her pillow was stained with black eyeliner, which was still smudged on her face. He placed his hand in his overalls and took out a shriveled, colourless heart that weakened with time. He took his pocket knife and sliced open her chest and replaced the heart, which sprang to life. It seemed overwhelmed at the reunion with the owner. She slept as peacefully as before he came, unaware that Jarred was watching over her. He lay down next to her and caressed her face as she mumbled his name sweetly in her dreams. She woke up the next morning, not to her alarm, but to the scent


of roses on her bedside table. She smiled as her heart leapt in her chest at this sight. She felt warm and excited. Her heart pounded hard and she was overwhelmed. “Jarred,” she shouted blissfully and she turned around. There lay the man that was not well groomed. The man with mud covered overalls. He wasn’t handsome, he didn’t own a mansion or a pool, but he was the man she dreamt of. And best of all, she was able to love him.


Underneath The Rose Bush