Featured image: Photographer: Gabriela Hasbun, Hair and makeup styling: Whittany Robinson, Model: Candace Hynson Designer: Lauren Park
©2020 E.R. Smith
“Scarlet rosebud” the man at the flower shop explained, “perfect for true love.”“Well”, huffed Sonia, “you’ll never see one of those.” Sonia looked at me. “You’re too ugly.” Looking down trying to find a reply. I listened as she and Blanca laughed at that. My friends always thought teasing me was funny. Still staring down at worn Nikes, I agreed. My synapses absorbed this truth, out of shape, angular, flat behind girls, size 16 without curves would never get roses. Sonia called me a solid block of wood once. Sonia and Blanca both perfect examples of their frame. Sonia slim and petite from head to toe; size 4, with long thick hair. Blanca a tall curvy size 8 filled every inch of her jeans with firm promises. We were all poor; with single mothers at home. I was the poorest. Never able to keep up with fashion. Fashionable full figured clothes were way too expensive. Cheaper made cute styles XS-L, were what they wore to mask our social situation. I couldn’t hide. This memory stayed with me a long time, whenever I looked at red rosebuds. We were 19. Freshmen in junior college.
Flashing forward, unsure twenty something; allowing past assessments from “friends” to shape social interactions. Painfully shy. Mostly lonely. Left “friends” behind as I studied and focused on shaping the future, thanks to Psychology 101. Learned friends were supportive humans. Then fate had enough.
When we met an accomplished woman working on a second degrees with a profession stared at wondering amber eyes set in an anciently handsome face. Egypt’s best features lifted caged spirits with a voice like Barry White. “I loved what you said in class today; very insightful.” “Thanks”, I smiled forcing myself to look directly into his eyes. Daring myself to be bold. Assuring self that no teenage girl could tell my future. Then yes, I had my happy ending.
On our first date, and each after he brought roses. First champagne colored. Once yellow. He asked my favorite color, I said pink. So pink roses it was on afterward. When we had our daughter, he rushed into Recovery Room. A large bush of red roses under the arm pit; he was all askew. His out of breathe explanation, “I know you like pink, but I love red roses. I wanted our daughter to have red ones!” I smiled, ah, true love.