Every day, I confessed
To my daughter. To my wife. To myself.
It’s rude to call me forgetful
But I was so thirsty
I couldn’t breathe
I knew I was going to die
Die in the sunset
A blood orange
In the place of my birth
With a fresh yellow rose
I was trying to think of everything
And I found nothing
Jone and I were fishing by the lake as we often did that summer.
It was a quiet place. Too quiet to be disturbed or be found.
Suddenly she asked, “Can you hear that? It sounds like footsteps...”
I looked up and said, “Oh my, that boy there, across the lake, he is walking into the water.”
“Shouldn't we stop him?” she said.
I hesitated for a while and said, “Maybe we shouldn’t.”
“Why?” She asked.
“I have a strange feeling,” I muttered, “besides, you can’t fix something that doesn’t want to be fixed, can you?”
Jone stared. “Wait….That boy looks a lot like you.”
“Don’t be silly," I said, "I would never do something like that, walking into the middle of a lake.”
“Maybe you did. A long time ago,” she said, “and you've just forgotten.”
I gazed off into the distance and the past.
Oh yes, the sinking feeling, it was coming back now.
It was a Sunday.
I asked the road to find yellow roses and watched the red sunset like a spider lily......
I was taking care of my rose garden.
My neighbor’s boy rushed towards me, asking, “Ms. Shaw, could you give me one rose?”
“May I ask what for?”
“I am going to hold a funeral for my goldfish,” he said.
“Sorry for your loss," I told him, "but you will soon forget this sadness.”
“My mom is going to buy me a puppy. Anyhow, thank you for the rose,” he said,
as he took it from my hand and disappeared.
It’s strange how one knows nothing, and yet, knows more than one wants to know.
I knew he would become me one day.
He would drink. A lot.
I knew he would leave this place and never return.
He would fall in love with someone and say to himself, "This is a new start."
And I knew, in the end, there would be an accident and a divorce.
One day he would have his own rose garden, burying himself in the past.
And he would never forget his goldfish.
I sat there, watching him run away, lonesome with my awful knowledge.
What can you do if your future has been written in the past?
I swore I would never cheat on my wife.
And I cheated.
I had this ridiculous hope that maybe one day she would forgive me.
Of course, she didn’t.
We got a divorce and I moved to Edinburgh.
Before I left, I swore I would write my daughter a letter every birthday.
And I never wrote.
Instead I opened a small flower shop in Edinburgh.
I watered my flowers in the daytime and drowned myself in Aquavit at night.
"It’s a new start," I said to my flowers.
Then one day, a young boy came in and asked me if I had yellow roses.
I shook my head and told him to head straight down the road for two hundred meters,
that he could find them near the lake.
“Thanks!” he said and left in a hurry.
I sat on the bench and watched as his small form faded in the distance.
I said I knew where the yellow roses were, but in fact, I didn’t.
I had tried to give that boy some small hope.
But I didn’t know why I told him those directions.
There were no yellow roses, even no lake.
I was burying my goldfish at nightfall.
I put a fresh yellow rose on the small grave I built for it.
Soon my family left Inverness and moved to Edinburgh though I was against it.
There was a flower shop near my new home, selling manjusaka.
I asked the shopkeeper, "Where can I find yellow roses?"
"Head straight down this road for about two hundred meters," he said,
"You can find them near the lake."
“Thanks," I said, and walked hastily in that direction.
I walked faster and faster until my lungs burned.
When I stopped walking, half of my body was in the middle of the lake.
I didn't know what I was doing here or why I was not sinking.
I floated too long in the water as I watched the sunset.
Too long that for a moment I forgot I was a goldfish,
and had died years ago in the trash, beside a withered yellow rose.