by Sarah Earlene Shere, ©2023
(Apr. 14, 2023) — Griffith hunched over his workbench. His uncombed hair fell over his brow and around his face. His tears mingled with sweat as his unsteady hands strained to transfer the contents of one beaker into another. A puff of smoke, and the mixture in the glass turned a bluish hue. Griffith gave a sigh of relief. His mind was then free to contemplate the events of that morning. He shouldn’t have lost his temper. How was Gabrielle to know what those blue roses meant which clung to the vines that climbed his castle walls? She wasn’t aware of the painstaking hours, that melted into years, he worked to create those unique blossoms in honor of his dearly departed mother. He had failed her so much during her life. The roses were his way of retribution: rare, exquisite things that would one day cover his castle, HER castle, and rise toward the heavens to greet her!
Griffith saw now how his passion for redeeming himself had backfired: the works of his hands had become his god; he had lost sight of why he had begun his mission in the first place. He wasn’t surprised that Gabrielle ran away. There was nothing to keep her here. She had paid off her father’s debt in service weeks ago. She only lingered when Griffith had begun to let down his guard and replace his beastly attitude with humanity. But the way he treated her this morning, when he saw her snip one of his blue roses from its bush, sent her fleeing from the castle grounds.
Griffith took the flask of blue liquid and carefully poured it over the withering roses at the base of the wall. Slowly, the blossoms raised themselves to full bloom, as fresh as the first day they opened. But Griffith felt no joy. He slumped to the ground as he studied the remaining liquid that was life to a rose and poison to a man. He wondered if he would be missed if gone from the earth.
As he drew the glass to his lips, a soft hand took the flask from his grasp. Gabrielle fell to her knees next to Griffith. Silently, she took his whiskered face in her hands and brushed back the wet strands of his hair. For a moment, she gazed lovingly into his blue eyes before she kissed away each tear, then gently rested her lips on his.