I had had butterflies in my stomach even after being with him long enough for my nerves to have settled to just the usual warm feeling. I imagined how his baritone would have been reading those vows to me and I bite my lower lip to hide a sad smile. Our first dance as a married couple would have been a moment frozen in time with emotions overwhelming. I choke back tears. He was exactly the right height, perfect complexion, as ambitious as I needed him to be - the total package custom made just for me. With him, my rose would certainly have bloomed! But the bloom never lasts, does it? Does it?
I was jolted back to reality when I heard my name. 'You'll catch your death daydreaming out of that window. It's freezing!' My husband had snuck up on me or I was that engrossed in my thoughts I had not heard him walking up. 'You need to finish packing. We've got to be in the new house by Monday'. He took one peek out of the window, following my line of sight. 'Interesting', he said, 'that's a fully bloomed rose in December. Is that usual?' I smiled back at him.
My traitor heart sunk as I remembered. Two days prior I had chosen to be sensible, safe, you know - path of least resistance to protect myself from the torture of potential heartbreak. The man next door never beheld me the way I did him, nor did he show signs of leaving a reckless youth behind. As such, due to my inability to see forever in his eyes, I went for someone somewhat less dashing and leaving a lot to be desired in terms of my version of 'the total package'. It was easy, practical and honest. I didn't foresee any major issues and I'd be guaranteed forever plus one day. But did my rose bloom? Would it?
I had to find a balance between compromise and settling. How much would I be willing to compromise in order to see my rose bloom, and would it bloom forever? Alternatively, would settling mean that I risk never experiencing the joys of a blooming rose, or would that happen in time?
'Shall I cut you that?' He asked.
'It's not mine to pluck. It's grown over the fence from next door.'
'Is there anything else you want from next door?' He asked, tilting my head up to meet his eyes. I lowered my gaze and shook my head (yes, in that order) and then I looked back up into his eyes and smiled. He smiled back. In a few hours we will leave this house to a new life and I will forever leave behind the blooming rose and memories of what might have been.
The truth is some people will live with butterflies in their tummies and permanently blooming roses (even by virtue of self-denial if they must), some people will experience a seasonal bloom, others a little less than seasonal or not at all. Wouldn't life be great if the issue of blooming roses were more predictable? But then, we probably wouldn't notice at all and we'd all live happily ever after with world peace as a bonus. I think that to find the answer to the questions about blooming roses is to find that fine balance between settling and compromise, between fantasy and real life. Some people will spend a life-time trying to finding that balance, while the rest will go with a compromise or a settlement.
The one thing I know is what the magazine didn't say about where your story is set. That's about the only thing you have a little influence over. Your story, you write it. #Unshakable is a state of mind. Be unshakable. Be in truth with yourself. Love yourself.
With all my love,