by Karen Morgia
"Father, whatth thith?" asked an inquisitive high-pitched voice coming from the upper balcony of the study.
The dark-haired, bearded gentleman sitting at an antique oak desk in the book-lined chamber of stone, looked up from the blueprints he was perusing, only slightly miffed at being disturbed. "Whats what, Vincent?"
"Whatth thith thing?" The young petitioner, eager for additional knowledge, held up a thin, green, barb-covered stalk topped by soft, delicate red petals.
A look of deep regret flashed through Fathers sad, grey eyes. The knowledge that his young son could never know the beauty of the world Above; that he would never be able to stand in the sunlight, or gaze at the wondrous beauty of a flower in its natural state, gave him much sadness. Keeping tight rein upon the tears threatening to overflow their banks, he answered the innocent question. "That is a flower, Vincent a rose, to be exact. Where did you find it?" Even though he asked the question, he believed he already knew the answer.
"I found in on the ground outthide Maryth chamber. Father, she wath thitting inthide crying. Why wath she crying? Did it have thome-thing to do with thith? She wath holding thome of them in her hand. Did they make her thad?"
Father smiled. "No, son, I dont believe she was sad." Not long before Vincents untimely entrance into his chamber, Father had paid Mary a light, passing compliment and presented her with a small bouquet of flowers that one of the children had found in the Park and deposited on his desk. Remembering the touching, tearful look in Marys eyes, Father looked wistfully at a point above Vincents head and remember another lovely lady from years past, who also cried when presented with flowers.
The faraway look on Fathers face caused Vincents young brow to furrow in puzzlement. "What could Father be thinking about? He looks so sad," he observed silently.
"Father?" There was no immediate response to Vincents hesitant query. "Father?"
Visibly shaking himself from memories of a past best left untouched, Father finally answered the insistent young voice, "Yes, Vincent?
"Why did thith thing&endash;thith rothe&endash;make Mary cry?" To think that someone he cared a great deal about might be sad, caused Vincent much disquiet. "I dont want Mary to be thad," added the concerned child.
"She wasnt sad, Vincent; and to answer your question, I dont believe anyone could give you a logical answer as to why she was crying. Men have been wondering about the answer to that for centuries. Women seem to have the most maddening habit of reacting in the most illogical manner to the simplest of situations like crying over a bunch of flowers. I would venture to guess that Mary was crying because she was happy, not be cause she was sad."
"Happy? Women cry when they are happy, too?" commented the confused little boy.
"Yes, son." He smiled at Vincents unbelieving tone of voice, "They cry when they are happy, too."
Vincent smiled as he tenderly stroked the soft, pure white petal of a rosebud held delicately between the fingers of a furred, clawed, deceptively gentle left hand. It had been many years since he had first seen and held a flower, but the marvel of such natural beauty had never lost its wonder for him; nor had the perplexity of understanding a womans reaction, when presented with one of Mother Natures most delicate achievements.
The rush of emotions he was sensing from Catherine brought a smile and a devilish twinkle to his deep-set sapphire-blue eyes. Her reaction had been as expected&endash;smiles and tears. He had also rather expected to be attacked and hugged within an inch of his life. He had not, however, been prepared for the ardent, passionate kiss that she had bestowed upon his lips&endash;it nearly took his breath away. The taste of her lingered on his mind and in his heart like the sweet taste of honey on his tongue. Her love sang through his body like the silent thrum of harp strings, deep and reverberating. To be gifted with the love of such a woman was a wondrous thing.
Without thinking, he held the rose up to inhale its delicate fragrance and closed his eyes to dream of Catherine and a future of possibilities.
Sitting on the garden bench of her balcony, Catherine smiled through the gentle rain of tears which insisted on coursing unceasingly down her cheek as she tenderly stroked the soft, deep red petal of a rosebud. The memory of who had presented the delicate beauty to her, caused a tightening around her heart which only served as a reminder that love was the most wonderful emotion in the world; that such an extraordinary, unique man loved her was something she could, at times, scarce believe was true.
But, why did he always seem to insist on doing such sweet romantic things to make her cry? Surprise notes left on her balcony, invitations slipped under the front door, and the most cherished of all, the almost miraculous arrival of a single red rose at the office, or delivered to her door, or lying on the balcony table. One morning she had even awoke to find one of the little lovelies lying on her pillow where she would see it when she first opened her eyes. The man was so darned romantic! And with that thought, Cathy began to cry anew, a loving smile gracing her lips as her heart nearly burst with love for Vincent.
Without conscious thought, her mind and heart attuned to the man she loved, Cathy raised the rose to inhale its delicate fragrance and closed her eyes to dream of Vincent and a future of possibilities.