The roses in my garden are blooming under significant-other’s tender care. One-year-old comes to the flowers. She reaches out to tear the petals. I tell her: “no, love, not with your hands, with your nose… like this… smell”. I bend over towards the flowers, kneeling next to her, taking a deep breath. I smell three roses: white, blood-red and pink-orange. She is all smiles… laughing, she buries her little nose and face in the colorful petals… smelling noisily… happily… The sun is bright… the flowers seem shiny… I wonder whether white roses smell differently than blood-red or pink-orange…

When I get up, I notice a rose still nestling in the coolness of the shadows… not yet touched by the sun… it is sprinkled with due… kitsch image, only this one is real… round drops of moisture frozen on the petals… is this rose ‘real’?… I dare not touch it… the surreal spell might be broken…

The next day, I bid the rose good morning… the petals are burned by the sun… brownish at the edge… curling towards their death… Other roses are covered with due… the name of the grey-pink roses comes to mind: “rose-ashes”…

Tonight, as I rock one-year-old into sleep, my baby cuddles in my arms all warm and tender… she babbles sweet baby words that join into a melody… when I take her to bed a thought comes floating: is happiness a question? Happiness is.

[Originally written in August 2003]

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