An Eternal Yellow Rosebud



An Eternal Yellow Rosebud


Goran woke up from his restless sleep, which had barely been a moment's break between ragged breaths. His mind was full of distorted memories and timeworn stories. He knew there was little time left until his last effort, after accumulating seventy years of struggling. His chronic illness had been aggravated and his body no longer responded as before.

The drowsiness and the foggy cloud that wrapped up his mind cleared for an instant and he reminisced about Alina as she was forty years ago, when they were happy and young, when they still had plans for the future, before leukemia took her away in just a few months. He focused his gaze on the picture frames on the opposite wall and recalled each little detail in every one of the photographs with remarkable clarity even though he could barely make out the images.

His memory was infallible.

He remembered their first trip to the Mexican Caribbean having some mojitos in Cozumel after exploring the Mayan ruins, their visit to the Iguazú Falls in Argentina before going down to tour the glaciers of Patagonia, their excursion to the wonderful Lost City of Petra in Jordan, and the first time they went to India and got their feet wet in the Ganges River in the sacred city of Varanasi. They had always enjoyed traveling together, until the last minute.

He reached out and found his bottle of mineral water. He took a sip that eased his dry throat. He coughed hoarsely greenish sputum in a tissue and threw it limply into a plastic-lined wastebasket that was already completely filled.

He felt a stitch of pain that ran from his upper back to his kidneys and remembered the day of their wedding. Alina was radiant, with her beautiful black hair that fell to her waist, her wreath of delicate yellow rosebuds and her flowing white chiffon dress. What he remembered most of all was her smile, which illuminated his life in a magical, complete and eternal manner. So eternal that now he still felt its presence.

He closed his eyes and felt that he was going back in time. Suddenly his pain disappeared and a supernatural peace washed over him.

Then, he opened his eyes and saw her. There she was, by his bed, as young as the first time they had met, with her wonderful healing smile and her wreath of rosebuds. He wanted to speak to her but not a single sound came from his cracked throat. He wanted to tell her that he still loved her, that he had always loved her, even before they knew each other.

Fortunately, she was the one who spoke.

"I know you're having a bad time, my love. It is part of the reality of life. But now everything is going to end."

Goran could not answer her with audible sounds, but he imagined the words.

"Stay with me, Alina. Don't leave me again."

"I never left. I was always by your side, accompanying you and guiding you all along the way. You, stubborn old man, did not want to rebuild your life. I understand. It was also hard for me to get used to not being able to touch you, not being able to caress you or receive your caresses. Nonetheless, our hearts were always together."

Goran reached out his hand and touched gently the smiling face of his beloved. A wave of comforting heat washed over him and allowed him to endure a series of painful breaths. He tried in vain to smile. He lowered his failing hand, which laid stretched out on the cold sheet, while his eyelids became heavy tombstones that threatened to lower permanently.

Alina began to sing in her melodious voice an old ritual chant, a vibrant and powerful litany, which filled every corner of the room. A chorus of heavenly angels and a multitude of triumphal trumpets added to the reverberating mantra, in a glorious epiphany.

Goran felt invaded by that heavenly music that invigorated him. With a last effort, he reached his hand out again and he found Alina's. He gripped it with all his might until his fingers turned white.

Then he moaned briefly and he became suddenly silent with a victorious smile on his lips, in the solitude of his bed.

In his inert hand, an eternal yellow rosebud remained imprisoned forever.


Marcelo Medone


Marcelo Medone (1961, Buenos Aires, Argentina) is a fiction writer, poet and screenwriter. His works have received numerous awards and have been published more than 200 times in magazines and books, both in digital and paper format, individually or in anthologies, in multiple languages in more than 40 countries all over the world, including 101 Words (USA), Friday Flash Fiction (UK), 50 Give or Take (Greece), Active Muse (India), U-Rights Magazine (Nigeria), Antipodean Magazine (Australia), Borderless Journal (Bangladesh, India & Singapore), The Bosphorus Review of Books (Turkey), The Wild Word Magazine (Germany), Short Édition (France), Contos de Terror (Brasil), El Narratorio (Argentina), Hojas en Guarda (Mexico), Teoría Omicron (Ecuador), Kanon (Peru) and Terbi (Spain).

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